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.

Kia Picanto X-Line 3

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.

Picanto GT-Line Interior

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. 

Key stats

MLP:

$17,990 (auto, drive away)

Engine:

1.25-litre, petrol 4-cyl,

ANCAP Safety Rating:

4 stars

Tailpipe CO2 (g/km):

134

For:

Equipment, easy to drive and park, long warranty, price.

Against:

Rear leg room, road noise, needs more grunt, no steering reach adjustment.