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Kia Picanto 1.1

Broadcast dates : 1st August 2004
5th August 2004

The Kia Picanto may not be considered a pretty face but it has undeniable personality with its prominent grille and headlights, its truncated rear end, and very attractive taillights.

Power from the 1,1-litre is surprisingly strong. Car Magazine rated it at 14,4 seconds in the benchmark zero to one hundred sprint and it managed a top speed of just under 160 km/h.

Even more importantly, it managed an overall fuel consumption of 6,86 litres per hundred kilometers, making it one of the most economical petrol cars on the market.

Interior fittings are of a reasonable quality, although the plastics used are a bit cheap-looking and the dashboard not as solid as, for instance, that of a Toyota Tazz.

But the interior does offer modern touches like a driverís airbag, and the option of an air-conditioner. This costs an extra R7 000 and a CD player-radio at R1 800, over the list price of R72 995.

It has some quirks in that power steering is not offered. Instead the steering is geared very low for easy parking and this makes it feel a little vague at higher speeds.

Handling is okay without being particularly high on grip and ABS brakes are not fitted, so the car will need care when braking for an emergency.

Tight on boot space, the Picanto also dispenses with a spare wheel, instead having a tyre inflation kit. For South African conditions a spare wheel is still definitely the answer and this could be seen as cost-cutting on the part of Kia.

Apart from a tiny boot, the Kia should offer very practical daily transport for a young couple or as a second car. It looks good, it is very economical and it has more than enough power for people who arenít in a hurry.

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