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Kia Picanto interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Comfort is acceptable in the Picanto but there aren't many on-board frills designed to soothe you on a long drive. Adjustable lumbar support isn't offered and entry-level 1 cars miss out on a height-adjustable driver's seat. Faux-leather upholstery and front-seat heating is available on higher-end cars, however.

Visibility is as good as can be expected. Your view out the front and sides is clear thanks to tall windows and modest pillars, while over-the-shoulder visibility is the weakest angle – like all rivals – thanks to the rollover protection built into the C-pillar. Rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are only offered on higher-end 3 trim and up, but the Picanto's tiny size means you can easily get by without them.

Standard equipment

Kia does offer an absolute entry-level trim called 1, but this isn't very common in the UK, with most of the cheapest models coming in 2 trim. 2 includes 14-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and all-round electric windows.

3 is more luxurious, gaining 15-inch alloys, climate control, cruise control, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, and an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Next up is the Picanto's X-Line trim, which gets a few SUV-inspired styling details to give it a tougher look – it gets mostly the same equipment as 3 trim minus the climate and cruise control. Stepping up to X-Line S adds climate and cruise back in along with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

At the top of the range is GT-Line, which serves up some mini-hot-hatch flavour thanks to its large 16-inch alloys and mean-looking body kit. As with X-Line, GT-Line comes with 3 trim's kit minus the climate and cruise control, with GT-Line S models adding those features back in along with some extra goodies.

2 trim arguably includes everything you need so represents the best value for money. However, we're rather keen on the idea of a small car loaded with extra equipment so we'd be tempted to hold out for a posher example.

Infotainment and audio

Picantos in 1 and 2 trim don't have an infotainment system, instead settling for a radio with Bluetooth connectivity. Using a phone cradle and your device as a sat-nav screen, this setup is likely enough for most drivers.

However, 3, X-Line and GT-Line cars all come outfitted with a touchscreen infotainment system that does help the little Kia feel more modern inside. All Picantos with a screen include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a reversing camera, but top-end models also add a built-in sat nav.

An update in 2020 saw the screen grow in size and gain refreshed graphics but neither edition is hard to use thanks to their simple layout. We also appreciate that all models include physical shortcut buttons that make it easy to jump between screen functions on the move.

Casual music fans won't struggle to enjoy their favourite tunes in the Picanto but, whether you get the two, four or six-speaker setups, there's little here to excite true audiophiles.

Rear seat space

The Picanto is easily among the most spacious cars in its class, with only cars like the Volkswagen Up coming remotely close to its Tardis-like abilities. Access to the back seats is excellent thanks to the large door opening and you can feasibly fit one adults sat behind another in comfort as long as they're not both six-footers. This also bodes well for parents, too, as there's a decent amount of space to manoeuvre your offspring into their child seats.

Picantos come with either two or three seats across the rear row but, considering how narrow the car is, we'd recommend only trying to squeeze three into the latter version for extremely short drives. There's not enough room for three sets of elbows back there and the hump in the car's floor means the centre-rear passenger has essentially no footroom.

Boot space

At 255 litres, the Picanto's boot is one of the largest in this class and could readily compete with cars from the class above. Compared to the Up's boot, the Picanto's is longer but not as deep, and should prove equally adept at hauling the weekly shop home without crushing the tomatoes.

Moving up to items like pushchairs, however, will be more of a challenge so, unless you can travel relatively light, you might want to consider a larger car.

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