if you must have a non local sub rm50k car make sure it s the picanto

If you must have a non-local sub RM50k car, make sure it's the Picanto

Building on its exemplary safety, the all-new hatch adds a more spacious cabin and improved connectivity feather to its hat for just RM49,888

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

10 Jan 2018

As the only non-national offering in that price bracket, nobody would say the Kia Picanto has it easy. While the previous model stood out by virtue of its stellar safety suite, the competition has since caught up and the all-new Picanto has added more space and connectivity to stay abreast and keep pace with a segment that the Myvi rules tyranically.

Being the first vehicle launched in 2018, the Picanto may share a passing resemblance to its predecessor but is actually an all-new model with a wheelbase extended by 15mm to 2,400mm. This allowed the engineers to push the wheels further out for an overhang reduced by 25mm.

Keeping with the dimension game, minor revisions in the cabin has also translated into more all-round room. The front seats have been dropped by 10mm and moved rearwards by 5mm to increase headroom by 3mm and legroom by 15mm.

They even went so far as to alter the door trim to bump up shoulder room by 10mm for the front. The crash pad is now slimmer as the steering wheel was moved 10mm upwards to increase knee and foot room.

Naza Kia are banking heavily on the Picanto to shoulder the bulk of their sales for the year, expecting its 5,000 units for 2018 to account for roughly 50 per cent of their total sales.

Nonetheless, spaciousness alone isn’t going to cut it. Teased heavily prior to the launch, we now have a clearer look at the projector bi-functional headlamps with LED indicators and LED DRLs. Part of the reason it shares such a resemblance to the outgoing model is due to the front bumper that is carried over with some sharper aesthetics.

A comprehensive safety suite is how the Picanto gained prominence in its segment and although it has remained relatively unchanged, it goes to show just how complete it was for a compact back in the day.

The shell has had its rigidity increased with the use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) that now accounts for 44 per cent (up from 22 per cent). This in turn reduces the body-in-white’s poundage by 23kg but stiffens up tensile strength by 12 per cent. Overall torsional stiffness is uo by 32 per cent.

AHSS now snakes into the floor pan, roof nails and engine bay as well as the A- and B-pillars to strengthening the cage structure around the cabin.

Carried over are the six airbags, Isofix anchorage points, rear seatbelt pretensioners and active safety systems like ABS and ESC.

Going along with the roomier cabin are new materials for better tactile feel. The twin-spoke steering from its predecessor has been replaced with a more stylish three-spoke unit with audio controls.

Luggage capacity has grown to 1,010-litres with the 60:40 split rear seats dropped.

Bells and whistles comprise keyless entry, push-start button, one-touch triple turn signal, auto light control, Rear Parking Assist System and safety power window on the driver’s side.

On the entertainment side, a 7.0-inch touchscreen sits atop the dash with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration for navigation, calls, music and even voice recognition features. Other multimedia features include an audio remote control, Bluetooth and AUX & USB ports.

Lest we forget, the 1.2-litre Kappa MPI engine produces 84hp and 121Nm of torque that hits the front via a four-speed automatic. Brake discs at all corners behind 14-inch wheels are standard.

Only a sole EX variant is available this time. Unsurprisingly, the manual box in the previous model didn’t set the sale floor on fire and rightly so, it was dropped this time around. You can however opt for the Novus accessory bundle that was reintroduced after skipping the previous generation.

Two packages; the Novus X (priced RM5,618) and Novus S (priced RM3,498), include emblems, solar tints, bodykits as well as leather seats and a DVR-digital video recorder among others.

You can have it in either one of five colours; Pop Orange, Lime Light, Honey Bee, Clear White and Titanium Silver for the extremely competitive price of RM49,888 on-the-road without insurance.