Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo & Hyundai i10
We see if Kia’s new Picanto can stand tall as the king of the urban jungle as it meets Renault and Hyundai rivals
In a world of giant cities, tiny city cars are becoming more appropriate. As urban roads clog up, downsizing to smaller models can help make driving in town easier, with modest dimensions allowing easy progress through congested streets and making parking simpler.
There’s no shortage of cars vying for your hard-earned cash, either, and the latest to hit the market is Kia’s facelifted Picanto. It’s a mild update on the affordable, head-turning urban runaround with an even more efficient engine to help cut running costs further – but it’s got a tough challenge to face.
We’ve lined up the mature Hyundai i10, which is practical enough to shame models in the class above, as well as the Renault Twingo, with its fresh, leftfield approach to the conventional city car recipe. Has the new Picanto got the beating of them?
All of these contenders come in under the magic £10,000 mark, so are cheap to buy and economical to run. Yet which of our trio of pocket-sized runabouts is king of the urban jungle? We took to the road to find out.
Car group tests
- Hyundai i10 vs Toyota Aygo vs Kia Picanto
- 3. Kia Picanto - Best city cars
- Kia Picanto vs Volkswagen up!
- Toyota Aygo vs Kia Picanto
- Kia Picanto: £99 per month
- Skoda Citigo vs Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo
Used car tests
Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which city car takes top honours in this test...
The city car class is bursting with quality, so to stand out, looks matter. The Twingo fits the bill, with a cute but funky design and plenty of personalisation – including our car’s peel-back roof (above). The new Picanto isn’t radically different, but its sharp lines still appear fresh. In this company, the dowdy i10 isn’t going to win any prizes for style.
It might not be able to park nose to the kerb like an original Smart car, but the Twingo’s incredible manoeuvrability means it’s right at home in the city. With so much steering lock, tight spaces are simple, while three-point turns become two. It makes the others look like stretched limos.
Both the i10 and Twingo have bigger boots than a Suzuki Swift, so downsizing to a city car doesn’t have to mean a loss of practicality. The Hyundai carries four people and luggage with ease, but in the Twingo and Picanto, you have to travel light.
1st place: Hyundai i10
We can’t help but be impressed by how well developed the i10 feels for such a small car. It offers bags of practicality and is a decent cruiser, plus its cabin delivers big car quality and refinement. It can’t match the Twingo for outright fun, but its broad spread of abilities makes the little Hyundai hard to ignore and it takes a well deserved victory in this test.
2nd place: Renault Twingo
In town, the Renault’s darty handling and superb manoeuvrability are hard to ignore. Add to that its fun looks, fair spec and surprising versatility given its size, and the Twingo has lots going for it. Yet its engine is short on power, and it struggles on longer journeys. Yes, it’s fun and funky, but the Twingo’s appeal is a little uneven and it can’t match the i10 for all-round appeal.
3rd place: Kia Picanto
The Picanto is by no means a bad city car, but this facelift is so minimal that it hasn’t really changed our verdict. This three-door model can’t compete against the practicality an extra pair of doors adds, either, although the SR7’s standard kit list is good. In this guise, the Picanto represents a middle ground between the town-friendly Twingo and relaxed i10.
Other options in this category
Skoda Citigo SE 5dr
Price: £9,420 Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 59bhp
Skoda’s Citigo combines all of the best elements of the three cars above – with five doors and a roomy, classy cabin, there’s lots of practicality and a bit of panache. It might be slightly down on power, but the SE is well priced and equipped.
Toyota Aygo x-play
Price: £10,295 Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 68bhp
It’s a little more expensive, but the new Toyota Aygo is one of the most customisable city cars of the moment. You can choose different colours for the striking ‘x’ face, and with five doors there’s still lots of functionality on offer.
|Hyundai i10 1.0 SE||Renault Twingo Play SCe 70||Kia Picanto SR7 3dr|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£9,770/£9,790||£9,995/£9,995||£9,845/£9,845|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£4,939/50.6%||£4,025/40.3%||£3,751/38.1%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£311/£622||£318/£636||£273/£547|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,549/£2,582||£1,519/£2,532||£1,684/£2,806|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||1/£332/B/£20||3/£347/B/£20||2/£337/A/£0|
|Servicing costs||£349 (3yrs)||£399 (3yrs)||£299 (3yrs)|
|Engine||3cyl in-line/998cc||3cyl in-line/999cc||3cyl in-line/998cc|
|Peak power||66/5,500 bhp/rpm||69/6,000 bhp/rpm||68/6,200 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||95/3,500 Nm/rpm||91/2,850 Nm/rpm||95/3,500 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/rwd||5-spd man/4wd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||40 litres/repair kit||35 litres/repair kit||35 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||218/1,012 litres||219/980 litres||200/605 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||9.6 metres/0.31Cd||8.6 metres/0.69Cd||9.8 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs||7yrs (100,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||10,000 (1yr)/162||12,000 (1yr)/153||10,000 (1yr)/170|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||21st/13th*||7th/14th*||19th/10th*|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points||79/80/71/56/4||78/81/68/56/4||86/83/47/43/4|
|0-60/30-70mph||14.1/15.6 secs||16.1/17.4 secs||13.9/15.2 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||7.1/12.0 secs||9.4/12.5 secs||7.1/11.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th||19.4 secs||21.3 secs||18.4 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||96mph/3,250rpm||94mph/N/A||95mph/3,400rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||70/40/64/73dB||63/47/60/70dB||58/66/61/60dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||40.1/8.9/353 miles||40.9/9.1/315 miles||36.9/8.2/284 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||163/108g/km/16%||160/105g/km/16%||177/99g/km/14%|
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control||No/yes/yes||No/yes/no||No/yes/no|
|Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go||£495/no/no||£495/no/no||£465/no/no|