Nowadays, small hatchbacks are like kids trying on their parent’s apparel. It’s all about maturity and style in a compact package and while it works, it kind of gets redundant when all the cars are doing it. Good thing the Kia Picanto remains true to itself and maintains its funky nature.
The styling of the Picanto is sleek, but it’s not overtly done as to become a try-hard. There’s a honeycomb grille to add some style but it’s surrounded by clean lines and curves that still gives the aura of simplicity. It continues at the side while the rear gives emphasis to the Picanto’s unique taillight design.
Space-wise, the Picanto will not disappoint. It has enough elbow room overall while the back has decent headroom and legroom for the average sized Filipino. You can accommodate up to three adult passengers at the back seat but that will be in exchange of horizontal space for each occupant there.
Underneath this shell, the Picanto comes in two flavors—one is practical, while the other one is more fun. The way you can tell them apart is from the fog lights and wheels. The LX trim doesn’t have fog lights and has steelies with caps, while the EX has alloys. Their difference is more than aesthetics though.
The LX trim is all about taking you from point A to B in the most economical way. It’s powered by a 1.0L three-cylinder that puts out 66hp and 95Nm of torque, coupled to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto. It maintains the tilt adjustment for the steering wheel, while the back seat is bench type and the radio is basic with Bluetooth connectivity. There’s also an electric adjustment for the side mirrors, making the Picanto not a bare-bones affair. If all you want is to be away from the dirt, grime, and rain of city traffic, it’s more than enough as a daily driver.
If you’re willing to shell out more for a bit more toys, Kia has the Picanto EX. It’s powered by a 1.2L four-cylinder engine with 83hp and 122Nm of torque, also coupled to either a five-speed manual or 4-speed ‘matic. An additional 17hp might be miniscule on paper but it’s more than enough to make acceleration more spritely.
Inside is where the EX distances itself from the LX trim. You can open it via remote key, and there are silver accents on the panels to make it livelier. The steering wheel, despite being tilt only for adjustment, now has audio and Bluetooth controls. Even the backseat was improved and got a 60-40 split, allowing for versatility in accommodating bigger cargo.
The EX went all out for the head unit, implementing a seven-inch touchscreen at the center of the dash. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and is accompanied by a six-speaker system for a fuller sound with any genre.
Kia also banked on safety for the Picanto’s EX. It has a rear camera with static guide lines, dual airbags up front, ABS, immobilizer, and child anchors.
If you’re going for economy and basic transport, the Picanto LX is a great proposition with a starting price of P590,000 for the MT. For those who are looking for modern essentials, the EX is a great offer that starts at P700,000. It’s combination of a slightly bigger engine, Apple and Android connectivity, and the versatile cargo accommodation is unique to the Picanto EX in that it’s the only one that has all three in a single package.