The phrase “bigger is better” doesn’t always apply to everything, yes, there will always be people who want the largest of everything, from the house they live in down to the ring on their finger. Maybe it’s just human nature? Maybe…

As for cars, however, big and small vehicles seem to be the way to go here in Mzansi with the Toyota Hilux and the Volkswagen Polo Vivo holding the title of best-selling vehicles in 2020. Interesting, isn’t it? We recently spent some time with Kia’s Picanto X-Line, which as you can imagine, sits on the smaller end of this size comparison. We discovered why these vehicles just work here in South Africa.

What is the Picanto X-Line?

The Picanto X-line is essentially a Picanto on steroids – jokes! Although, it does look like it has spent time in the gym with all little the body enhancements Kia has made to it. Compared to the standard Picanto, the X-Line has some aggressive styling and looks masculine, which is positive news for all you men whose partners are insisting on a Kia Picanto as a shared vehicle. You can drive the X-Line and still feel like a man. Inside, you’ll find a refreshed interior with two-tone faux leather seats and a new 8-inch infotainment screen that has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a reverse camera.

The city slicker

With a length and width of around 3.5m and 1.6m respectively, the Kia Picanto X-Line is compact by car standards, but it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a peanut, which is good. Its compact size makes it easy to drive and manoeuvre, and the two front seats move back far enough to accommodate taller individuals. Although you may struggle to reach the steering wheel which doesn’t have telescopic adjustment. 

Features like a touch infotainment screen, reverse camera, full electric windows and an onboard computer give you the feeling of driving a bigger and more premium vehicle. It also has a multi-function steering wheel and automatic headlights. 

Of course, if your family currently doesn’t include more than two people, things like boot space may not be at the top of your priorities list. The compact Kia has a proportionately sized boot of 255-litres, and as we discovered when a colleague was moving to a new house, can be increased to 1010-litres when the rear seat backrests are folded and the cover board removed. We were able to fit a good number of boxes and other items into the Kia’s back half. The Picanto proved quite handy for a small entry-level vehicle.

Under full load, the none-turbo 1.2-litre engine in the X-Line carried out its duties without a hitch. It didn’t show any signs of struggle or deficiencies. This engine, paired to the 5-speed manual gearbox is sufficient for everyday driving on and off the highway, there’s also an automatic variant available. Despite being a small capacity, naturally aspirated unit, the 1.2-litre can hold its own on the open road and has a combined claimed fuel consumption figure of 5l/100km. We achieved an average of 5.6, which was mostly done under full load and heavy-footed driving. Under normal circumstances, you could likely achieve Kia’s claimed 5l/100. 


With all the right ingredients like nice-to-have features and an engine that covers the basics, driving something like a Kia Picanto doesn’t feel like a deficit. As a singleton or couple who’s not concerned about space, the Picanto does the job, and in X-Line trim, it just so happens to look good. It’s an A to B vehicle with more than just wheels.

Picanto 1.2 Manual X-Line                                                                          R237 995

Picanto 1.2 Auto X-Line                                                                               R251 995

Gugu Masuku
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