Kia Picanto X-Line A.O. Edition
Kia's Australian Open edition excels in its natural city habitat.
Kia recently released three A.O. edition models. That’s not an ‘Adults Only’ rating, but a nod to the Korean car maker’s major sponsorship role of the Australian Open tennis tournament. Models included the smallest member of the current Kia family, the Picanto, in new X-Line spec, its rump adorned with A.O. Edition badging.
In all other respects though, including drive-away price, it’s a standard X-Line which means it gets slightly tougher-looking cross-over styling compared to other Picanto models, courtesy of a 15mm higher ride height, an X-Line body kit including side skirts, and contrast body accents, and unique design 16-inch alloys.
Equipment-wise, it matches the GT-Line’s features including AEB, forward-collision warning, six airbags, rear park sensors and camera, cruise control, 7-inch colour touch-screen, premium leather-look seats with red accents, alloy sports pedals, dual exhaust tips, LED DRLs, front/rear fog lights, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, power-folding mirrors, dusk-sensing headlights, tilt-only steering adjustment, premium steering wheel and shifter knob.
Like other Picanto models, with the exception of the new GT with its 1.0-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine, power is provided by a 1.25-litre naturally-aspirated four-pot petrol engine. Outputs are pretty modest at 65kW of power and 122Nm of torque. More grunt would be welcome, but it performs acceptably for its primary duty as a small city run-about.
And legal highway speeds are certainly within its abilities, though passing moves will need planning. There’s a five-speed manual available, but our test car came with the four-speed auto. A bit old fashioned with fewer forward ratios than most new cars, but it does the job without fuss.
Chassis dynamics are more impressive than the powertrain, offering confident and surprisingly agile handling. The firm suspension tune can feel a little jarring at low speeds over sharp edges and speed bumps though. And road noise on coarse-chip road surfaces will have you notching up the audio system volume control.
The interior has a quality look despite all the hard-plastic trims and clearly being built to a price point. And it’s backed with a benchmark seven-year warranty. Rear head space is impressive for a micro car, but as might be expected, leg room is limited, and the 255-litre boot capacity just manages to cope with a couple’s weekly grocery shopping.
But those compact dimensions plus light steering make it easy to drive and park in its natural city habitat.
$17,990 (auto, drive away)
1.25-litre, petrol 4-cyl,
ANCAP Safety Rating:
Tailpipe CO2 (g/km):
Equipment, easy to drive and park, long warranty, price.
Rear leg room, road noise, needs more grunt, no steering reach adjustment.