For the price difference between the models, we went for the top of the range Picanto and we're glad we decided to. :)
The Picanto is very easy to drive indeed. The light steering and tight turning circle, combined with the elctric mirrors, make parking an absolute dream.
The clutch is light and bites high up, but you get used to it quickly enough and the gearchange is firm, but not obstructive, with plenty of feel, snicking precisely and smoothly through the gate.
The engine is very responsive - the well sprung accelerator letting you meter out the power to an infinitesmal degree.
The engines small capacity doesn't hinder you in a car this light and every one of the 64 horses propels you along at easily enough pace to keep up with traffic, not leaving you stranded trying to get onto the motorway as 1.1 cars from yesteryear would've done. It also sounds better than most little cars, giving a lovely turbine hum when you stretch it round to six thousand revs.
The ride is fairly firm, but absorbs most bumps well and is exceptionally good over speed bumps.
Handling is also impressive, once you get over the slightly numb steering, and it will hang on round tight corners for quite a while before any understeer sets in.
And the brakes. Wow. They're well overpowered for such a small car - all round discs with ABS and EBD, similar to the system you'd find on a Citroen C2. They bite early and hard, taking some getting used to, but once you are used to them, you never worry about braking again. They stop you. Dead.
You get multiple luxuries and doodads on the top spec SE+.
Half leather seats
All round leccy windows.
Not bad for a tiny hatch back.
The interior is snug feeling, but has lots of headroom and plenty of space for two in the back.
The cabin is also well insulated, on smooth roads you can only hear the engine (and only quietly at that!), but on rougher roads there's a little bit of tyre noise. At motorway speeds, it suprisingly refined for a supermini - a little bit of wind noise, but nothing to make conversation at all difficult.
Reliability wise, this cars been perfect, but it's only six months old. Fuel consumption has gotten better and better. I'm averaging 45mpg in town use in constant stopstart traffic. On the motorway it has seen 55mpg+ and I expect even that to improve as the car continues to wear in.
All in all, I love this car.
Can fault nothing on it, even love the looks, with the metallic blue paint and alloys etc.
And better still, it's great value and includes a year's free insurance. Would definitely suit a confident freshly passed driver who didn't want a banger to start with.
Will definitely be buying another Kia in the future. :)