kia picanto 1.0 LX
We drive the new 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX. Image: Kia South Africa

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2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX review

Catering to the buying-down trend in all segments, the 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX we’ve driven gives (buying) power back to the people …

24-04-24 16:26
kia picanto 1.0 LX
We drive the new 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX. Image: Kia South Africa

When we talk 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX, where do you draw the line between all-new vehicle and facelift? The Korean firm is calling its latest 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX a substantial facelift. We, on the other hand believe they’re being somewhat modest. To all intents and purposes this seems like a new car to us. Here, let’s explain …

2024 KIA PICANTO 1.0 LX  

More than 100 000 Kia Picantos have been sold in South Africa over 21 years. Image: Kia South Africa

From a design point of view, it gets a new evolution of the infamous Peter Schreyer ‘tiger nose’. This is combined with angular new bumpers and sharper headlamps. Around the tail there’s a single-bar taillight like you get on a lot of VW group products. And almost every single body panel appears different to its predecessor. We likey …

However, it is still built on the same proven chassis and features the same 1.2 and 1.0-litre petrol engine line-up the market is familiar with. Refreshingly, Kia South Africa let us sample the entry level 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX – steel wheels and all – and not the more expensive 1.2 EX (R307 995). This is reflective of where the new-car market is at right now, Mzansi. It’s very brave of Kia and, happily, we can report the cheapest Picanto – at R260 995 – is totally up to the task.


2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX
Everything you need an nothing you don’t, the new Kia Picanto’s LX spec is on-point. Image: Kia South Africa

The entry-level EX model is impressively specced. In the cabin you’ll find plenty of convenience features like an 8-inch infotainment screen with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s even a rear-view camera when reversing to protect that sexy taillight bar. Buyers will love the leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and air conditioning. 14-inch wheels are only steelies, so you have to spend a bit extra for 15-inch alloys.

Beyond that, the 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX has a happy knack of feeling upmarket and refined. The cloth seats are comfortable, and all the switchgear is smooth to the touch. Basically, after a full day behind the wheel, I can assure you there are zero nasty surprises. And, sadly, the same can’t be said for a lot of cars that cost much more.  


If it ain’t broke, don’t change anything too drastically. Image: Kia South Africa

As we mentioned before, the Picanto range carries over its powertrains from the previous model. The 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX has a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre four-cylinder Kappa engine making 49 kW and 95 Nm. We’ve never tested a Picanto with the smallest unit before. And we were pleasantly surprised by the response and refinement.

Of course, it’s no sports car, but the clutch action on the manual is positive, as is the gear shift. It pulls eagerly on inclines and at no point in the urban environs of Cape Town CBD did we feel it lacked performance. Out on the open road might be another story, but we’ll have to explore that one in a future road test. When it comes to fuel economy, we never saw higher than 5.1 l/100 km on the Picanto’s LCD dash, which is pretty impressive for purely urban driving.


South Africa’s favourite small car is back. Image: Kia South Africa

So, is the new 2024 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX a new vehicle or substantial facelift? We would argue the former. The Korean manufacturer has employed marginal changes in places, and more striking ones in others. However, they all add up to a wonderfully convincing whole.

The Picanto has always been one of our very favourite small cars, and this one certainly feels more refined and premium. And in this economy, at just R260 995, it’s priced to go, too. Which is why it’s not just a hit with first-time buyers, but also for ages 26 to 30 and 50 plus. It’s a small car with no age restriction …