20 February 2019

Kia Picanto X-Line 2019 Car Review

SUVs make up the most popular bracket in NZ at present, so popular that brands have to have a good offering to garner market share.

Kia 1
Kia Picanto X-Line
Kia 2
Kia Picanto X-Line
Kia 3
Kia Picanto X-Line
Kia 4
Kia Picanto X-Line
Kia 5
Kia Picanto X-Line

Many have jumped on the bandwagon by selling the look without the grip, retailing two-wheel-drive versions for city slickers who don’t want to pay the extra purchase and running costs of 4WD, but do want the image.  Whether the Picanto X Line has that image is arguable. Most told it is sold as an SUV simply laughed, even when the design flourishes that advertise it are pointed out, along with the extra ride height – so modest that few will spot it unless it’s parked next to a Picanto LX or GT Line, which at 141mm above the ground  sit 15mm closer to terra firma, though they already boast 6mm extra over, say, Toyota’s Yaris.

But forget all that SUV palaver, and what you have is an attractive little car which performs well outside its urban comfort zone. Don’t believe us? We loaded three adults – none of them especially compact – plus a dog carrier, and luggage for all three (plus dog food) for four days. It all fit in, with a bit of adjustment, and we headed off for a jaunt to the Bay of Islands, some 260km away, on roads that were often hilly and liberally scattered with bends.

Our rear passenger reported feeling jiggles more than the folk in the front, and we all felt many of the small lumps and bumps, but bigger ones were impressively and comfortably absorbed. The car cornered confidently at open-road speeds, indeed it felt pretty supple when keeping up with traffic, most of it considerably larger, and no doubt designed more with this sort of terrain in mind. Overall it proved a comfier ride than many larger cars we’ve experienced.

Meanwhile the seats were supportive, firm but not overly so, the ergonomics were excellent, and though the car isn’t over-burdened with extra fruit like Satnav, it had what it needs – including climate control air con, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a USB charging point as well as 12-point, and easy-wipe composite leather seats.

So where does the SUV part come in? The bas car is identical to its siblings, but atop the body panels sit black side skirts extending up over the wheel arches, to impart a more rugged look. Thanks to that cladding this X Line is 75mm longer than the LX and GT Line Picantos, and 30mm wider.

As for the height, ground clearance is up, and overall height up to match, due to changes to the suspension, which delivers extra travel in the shocks and springs. No doubt that explains why the X Line is so good at soaking up the lumps and bumps of the largely rural roads we encountered, without being so extreme that handling suffers.

Seems a shame that the tyres on those 16-inch alloy wheels have such low sidewalls though – no doubt if they were fatter, they’d help absorb some of the smaller jiggles, too.

As for the rest, a small car with four doors will always be a little more practical than one with two, especially in our case, with adults and baggage to load. The boot seemed bigger than expected, and took a useful amount of baggage. And the car was as good round town as it was out of it, with the added appeal of needing so little space to park, or do a U-turn.

As we were sightseeing and doing a lot of hopping in and out, the parking sensors and rear cameras were continuously in use, as was the remote keyless entry, not to mention the Bluetooth handsfree to call – yet again – to confirm where we were to meet, or when we’d arrive.

We tried the cruise control, it was easy to set and cancel, but the little car got along better in terms of allowing for hilly roads when the throttle was applied by the driver. It needed extra application to maintain momentum on steeper uphills, but never sounded especially thrashy, and averaged 6.0l/100km during our mixed country-urban time with the fully loaded car – just a whisker above the claim.

Steering only adjusts for tilt – the lack of reach likely to bother few in a car this small.

Overall, impressive, especially at such a modest price.


At a glance


Kia Picanto X-Line


1248cc petrol


$21,490 (at time of test)

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

62kW at 6000rpm,  122Nm at 4000rpm


Four speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

Not rated for towing


2WD front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

255 litres with seats up, 1010 litres seats down

Safety systems

  • Auto Emergency Braking
  • Reversing camera
  • Impact sensing door lock
  • Six airbags
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Auto light control
  • Bluetooth hands-free connectivity
  • ABS
Previous review
Next review
Audi Q8 2019 Car Review
Read more
Citroen C4 Cactus 2019 Car Review
Read more