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For the naughty or nice

Kia Picanto 1.2 EX AT



First car? Alternate car? Grad or Christmas gift? A small car is different things to different people, but what it is, is probably the most practical way to get from point A to B on four wheels. Among the many brands who offer small hatchbacks locally, Kia has the Picanto: a handsome little hatch which you might accidentally overlook when shopping for a car in this category.



This generation of Picanto still has a fresh, youthful appeal about it. The trademark tiger-nose grille design serves to distinguish it immediately from other brands. Big headlights extend out and upward on both sides of the grille almost to the A-pillar. Projector fog lamps are positioned on the edge of the color-keyed bumpers. Also in body color are the door handles and side mirrors. The rear hatch spoiler houses the third brake light and it rolls on 175mm 65 series tires on 14-inch alloy wheels.



The first thing you’ll notice when you sit in the Picanto are the narrow upright air con vents on both edges of the dashboard which gives the illusion of wideness and space. When you sit behind the tilt adjustable steering wheel you’ll notice everything is pretty much where you expect them to be, and within easy reach. The entertainment system is a seven-inch touch screen, compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto with Bluetooth, Aux, and USB connectivity. The two-tone fabric seats are comfortable, the white stitching adds a sporty accent to the interior. At the back, you get 60:40 split rear seats. The cabin has touches of brushed aluminum accents or as Kia calls them, “Satin Chrome,” and these are on the door handles, door locks, steering wheel, dashboard, corner air vents and around the gear shifter.


Under the hood is a dual-CVVT four-cylinder DOHC 1.2L engine that puts out 84Hp at 6,400rpm with 132Nm of torque at 4,000rpm mated to a smooth shifting four-speed automatic transmission.

Safety and convenience

This variant gets front and rear power windows, power adjustable mirrors and a rear window wiper. It’s equipped with power door locks with a lock/unlock control on the driver side door. There are steering wheel-mounted trip computer and entertainment system controls. Under the air con controls, you’ll see the Aux and USB ports for the entertainment system, and on left end you’ll see a 12V lighter socket and on the right is another 12V socket with a 180W supply capacity.  It’s also equipped with ISOFIX child seat anchors. The driver and front passenger get airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and a reverse camera integrated into the entertainment system with guide lines to aid in parking.



Carmakers these days are getting good at making small cars with spacious interiors. While the Picanto can seat four average sized Pinoys, you can squeeze five in, as there are actually seatbelts for five.

The 1.2L engine has some pep to it, but expect it to struggle when you load up with friends and luggage. Since speed would probably not be your main consideration, you can rest assured that it can get you and your friends/luggage/cargo to where you need to go.

There are different trim levels to suit your budget and there’s also a 1.0L engine variant. This top-of-the-line model is priced at Php745K, which is near the top end of the price range of this class. The Picanto is well put together and the fit and finish is up to par with Kia’s higher end models. In this day of heavy traffic and rising fuel prices, the Picanto makes sense. Depending on whether you’ve been naughty or nice, makes a great gift idea too.

Text and photos by Neil Pagualayan

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