This month we’re doing a decent run on the Autobahn to find out how the tiny engine copes with an Aussie road trip.
- Space efficiency in design inside and out
- The excellent engine is fuel efficient and responsive
- Exceptional warranty and running costs
- Four Star ANCAP Rating
- We are greedy, but a little more power please
- The ride is firm with four adults on board
If you read our first edition of the 2022 Kia Picanto GT Long term recap, check out the launch and our second update here!
A lively little 998cc three-cylinder engine doesn’t immediately seem like the perfect candidate for a typical Australian road trip. However, a clever microcar often deceives when it comes to forcing them out of their comfort zone.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe on holiday on long motorway journeys in hired Fiat 500s and Pandas, Renault Twingos and the like, and typical of European car design, strange as it may seem, they can handle a prolonged 130km/h beating on a Euro motorway . However, it must be said that the Twingo is at the end of its power. The question is, can Kia deliver the same multi-faceted capability with its Picanto GT?
The Picanto’s triple, as we’ve already noted, is hilarious around town. 74kW at 4500 rpm and 172 Nm between 1500–4000 rpm combine with engagement Five-speed manual gearbox and a slim dead weight of 1012 kg to provide fun and entertainment almost every time you get behind the wheel. A car like the Picanto GT can really brighten up your daily commute, with the spicy engine note adding to the equation.
|fuel consumption||fuel statistics|
|Fuel Consumption (claimed)||5.2L/100km|
|fuel type||Normal unleaded with 91 octane|
|fuel tank size||35L|
However, you’d be forgiven if you thought the Picanto might not be that much fun after a few hours on the Autobahn, and that’s exactly what we’ve tested this update on a number of different occasions on different Autobahns to get a feel for, how it works stacks up.
First, the GT loves to turn. Absolutely loves it. So if you fancy hitting it near Redline, go for it. However, once you’ve adjusted to a speed of 100-110km/h, we found it to be just as comfortable.
There is some road noise from the tires. Especially on rough ground and, for example, through long construction sites, but there is no deafening wind noise and the little Picanto is not blown across the street. Big trucks will occasionally rock you a bit, but that’s not alarming at all.
Really big bumps or ruts can throw the chassis off balance, and we found it to be less comfortable – especially in the second row – when navigating rough roads with four adults on board. The ride is tighter no matter what seat you’re in.
However, if there are two of you, the cabin always remains comfortable. Interestingly, four adults on board don’t seem to slow the engine once you’re traveling at highway speeds. It robs the Picanto of some of its urge to rev up from a standing start. That’s not entirely unexpected for such a small engine, though.
We also liked the steering, which is nice and meaty at highway speeds so it doesn’t feel too light or floating.
Some of us have said during previous testing that a more closely stacked six-speed manual might be nice, but then it’ll likely be a gear too many around town. Especially for an engine of this size that doesn’t really need more gearing.
That goes into the basket with the discussion about more power. Sure it could use something, but do you need it? Probably not.
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Once you’re at 100km/h on a flat stretch with the air conditioning on and the windows open, the engine sits around the 2250rpm mark and ramps up to around 2500rpm at 110km/h. That leaves you plenty of revs , which you can work with if you also need to shift down a gear to overtake.
The most interesting thing is that against an average of 6.0L/100km Even around town, that live figure dropped to 5.8lt/100km on our 100km/h run on the Autobahn. At 110 km/h the average was 5.9 l/100 km/h.
That means we didn’t pound the engine as hard as we thought we’d have to ask it to maintain that speed for extended periods of time. In really heavy traffic you could see the consumption rise above our average of 6.0l/100km, where Kia claims the Picanto consumes 5.2l/100km in official tests – it all depends how much oomph you expect from the exciting little engine.
Overall cabin comfort is solid on long journeys. Second-row passengers noted that legroom gets tight when you have tall occupants in the front, but head and shoulder room and visibility were all excellent. The latter is especially important if you are traveling a lot of time behind.
Importantly, after a few hours, you don’t leave the Picanto in aches and pains and feeling like you need a chiropractor. It may be a city car, but it can handle a longer trip with no problems.
Next month we’ll finish our time with the Picanto GT and say goodbye.