Fancy a small Kia Picanto 1.0-litre turbo three-banger?
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We've always had a soft spot for the Kia Picanto. It's an honest city car with small proportions, economical fuel mileage and above-average build quality, but apparently there's an even better one. A little three-banger seemingly built with the spirit of a second generation Dihatsu Charade.
Kia UK has completed their Picanto range with the addition of a turbocharged flagship model. Available in GT-Line or GT-Line S grades, the Picanto can now be specified with Kia's latest 1.0-litre, three-cylinder T-GDi engine, making it the fastest, most powerful Picanto ever.
The 998cc engine develops 88kW of power at 4,500rpm and a punchy 171Nm of torque from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm, powering the Picanto from 0 to 100km/h in 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 180km/h.
While those figures will do little to please diehard performance fans, they're more than admirable for a small city hatch. And better yet, it's both faster and more economical then the current 1.2-litre GT-Line Kia Picanto, with the 1.0-litre engine sipping fuel at an advertised 5.1-litres per 100km.
The engine features laser-drilled injectors with six holes laid out in a pyramid shape so fuel is spread evenly throughout the cylinders. A straight air intake port ends in a sharp air intake throat, reducing air resistance and improving cylinder tumble flow for faster, more efficient combustion.
The Picanto's single-scroll turbocharger is paired with an electric wastegate motor. Kia say this setup improves turbocharger performance while scavenging clean air for the engine to re-use for combustion. At the same time, it allows the wastegate to open to improve the flow of spent exhaust gases.This allows higher low-end torque, more immediate response at any throttle opening and improved fuel economy at high engine loads.
For added durability, the cylinder block has been heat-treated and the crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods have been strengthened.
The same engine will power a new Picanto X-Line SUV model announced for the New Zealand Market last year.
Picanto GT-Lines in the UK will also feature larger sports bumpers and red highlights within the upper grille, side air intakes, rear diffuser, twin exhaust tailpipes and 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/45 R16 tyres.
Bi-function projection headlights deliver a racier look, alongside LED daytime running lights at the front and LED lamps at the rear.
Inside, the sporty appearance continues with black and red faux leather upholstery, stainless-steel pedals and satin chrome interior door handles.
‘GT-Line S’ models add an electric sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, a smart key with engine start/stop button and cruise control with speed limiter, satellite navigation, Kia and a wireless mobile phone charger are also standard.
So as fuel prices look set to rise in New Zealand, does the idea of a small, well appointed, turbocharged city car appeal?