WHILE itís still a month until the 2018 Wheels Car of the Year winner is announced, we recently completed testing at the Lang Lang proving ground, and its surrounding areas, in what was a brilliant week.
I was part of the support team, which meant the Picanto was left at the office while I absconded for seven long days of motoring nirvana.
But come the end of it all, with hundreds of gigabytes of photographs and video shot and the voting tally complete, it was still soothing to return to my Picanto.
Nestled inside the cabin, I let out a deep sigh, relaxed back into the seat, slotted the shifter into first, and eased out the clutch to begin the trip home. I creeped out of the carpark Ö and then damn near put my head through the windshield.
You see, during my soiree with the COTY contenders, I had forgotten about the lightswitch sensitivity of the Picantoís middle pedal. A mere stern look in the brake pedalís direction is enough to have the Kia stand on its nose. It caught me by surprise during the early stages of our time together, and once more at the end of COTY, but otherwise hasnít been an issue. Iíd rather a strong reaction from the brake pedal than sponginess and lethargy. Itís easy to adapt, and revised pedal pressure becomes second nature.
There have been two instances recently where Iíve found myself stomping the middle pedal, both times to avoid drivers who have sailed into roundabouts and not given right of way. I can attest my orange micro machine can come to a standstill pretty darn quick.
Which brings us neatly to another point: our Picanto lacks Autonomous Emergency Braking due to the system not being homologated at the time of launch.
However, full credit to Kiaís local arm for ensuring a properly calibrated system is now ready for Australia, and having it fitted as standard on all models built since June. The system operates at city speeds and includes a forward collision warning.
Itís a nice safety net to have, but you can also take comfort in the fact the Picantoís brakes will stop you on a dime if need be.
Now, Iím off to get my nose straightened after cracking it on the steering wheel.
Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $14,710 This month: 1211km @ 6.7L/100km Overall: 3725km @ 6.8L/100km
One of the contenders for Car of the Year is Kiaís new halo model, the Stinger. It arrived as one of 2017ís most hotly anticipated cars, and while it shares little with the Picanto, other than family heritage, there was one feature during COTY testing that caught my eye Ė the key fob. The one for the Stinger looks more like a remote missile launcher than a car key and is so cool that it has made me look at my run-ofthe- mill Picanto key with disdain.
WEEK 16 34 44 3 0 0 5 5 7 8 3 URBAN COUNTRY SPORTS FAMILY MOTORWAY
ANCAP gives Picanto four stars, noting its lack of lane assist tech and poor whiplash protection