Following on my awesome experience with the Kia Sportage last month, Kia Goldreef decided it was time for me to see their smaller packages of dynamite, by letting me test drive the vivacious Kia Picanto this Spring season. Being an existing fan of the brand, it didn’t take any convincing at all for me to slip into the biggest “little” car on the Kia Goldreef showroom floor.

The Picanto looks just as its name suggests – racy, lively and exciting. It has a fresh and athletic design that really appeals to my belief that I am still a youngster at heart, with really great, sharp lines and a cheeky look thanks to a bolder grille than the previous model. Together with a slightly longer wheelbase and an upgraded dashboard design, the interior of the Picanto feels much more spacious and has a definite modern focus, which is drawn to a focal point in a new 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. A nice little touch for me is also the front centre armrest for the driver to make use of when cruising along the cityscape.

Whilst the Picanto is a compact car by all standards, it is also most definitely a package filled with surprises: the multifunction steering wheel, easy-to-access controls and dials and infotainment make it feel like a more sophisticated, futuristic vehicle than just a light, speedy runner. It sits comfortably and I am not crowded or claustrophobic, feeling quite content in the driver’s seat. As a compact car, I don’t expect to be able to load a football team in the back, but it is more than sufficient for a student, newlyweds or even young family.

In hard-core traffic, the Picanto patiently takes the stop-and-go flow in its stride, humming away joyfully with little to no effort – it zips ahead with lovely agility, and proves to be a fun and spirited drive that delivers precisely on what it promises to. With cutting-edge safety features and the familiar Kia build quality, this little car has a ton of charisma, stability and the promise of security embedded within it (thanks to the use of more than 44% Advanced High Strength Steel to enhance rigidity).

With the Kia 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty, generous service plans and 3 year/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance plans available at purchase, the Picanto becomes more and more provocative for the city-dweller who is looking for a reliable, agile vehicle that proves to be both economical – yet funky – to make the daily grind worthwhile. Being thoroughly impressed with the comprehensive package of benefits which the Picanto offers, I return to Kia Goldreef as a definite fan.

By Desh Pillay Bechan