The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to The Kia Picanto


The Kia Picanto is a small car with a big personality. The Picanto is said to have been “made for the city” and easily fits the bill as one of the most practical city cars on the market. It’s small enough to manoeuvre cityscapes effortlessly, while being big enough to comfortably accommodate up to five passengers, making it the ideal student, young professional, or budget vehicle. The South Korean manufacturer has persisted with the line for nearly two decades and with more than 1.4 million units sold, it’s easy to see why it remains as popular as ever.


A Brief History of The Kia Picanto


The Kia Picanto was first launched back in 2003 and not without a fair share of criticism and scepticism in the initial reception – as Kia was known, at the time, for somewhat ill-designed vehicles. However, the model soon became a hit because of its functionality with consumers looking for an easy-to-drive, light-on-fuel, budget-friendly car – making it perfect for the so-called urban jungle. The name stemmed from the Spanish/Italian words “picante/picante”, which means “spicy”. Needless to say, this was an apt choice for the amount of character the model delivers relative to its size.


There have been three generations of the model since its first release, with the second-generation Kia Picanto undergoing a significant design remodel in 2011 that was much more pleasing to the eye. A more rounded look with the featured ‘tiger-nose’ made for a much more attractive offering. In addition, this generation had a longer wheelbase and increase in overall length compared to its predecessor. The model subsequently had a facelift in 2015 before making way for the third-generation version.


The third generational offering of the Kia Picanto made its debut at the 2017 Geneva motor show and featured ever-so-slight design changes, most notably to the front and rear lights. It wasn’t until June 2020 when the Picanto received its mid-life facelift that one could really notice design improvements. The new revamped version featured exterior styling tweaks, ramped-up technology, as well as powertrains. It was also the first to feature an infotainment system as well as new upholstery and different colour trim options.


The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to Kia Picanto Grades and Engine Specs


Kia has kept it relatively simple when it comes to picking your Kia Picanto in Australia. The Picanto comes available in a selection of three grades namely the S, GT-Line, and GT options. The S and GT-Line are both available in Automatic and Manual transmission and feature one standard engine option. The GT on the other hand is available exclusively in a manual transmission option with a different, more powerful engine altogether. Kia has constrained the fuel type to petrol only across the board.


Engine Specifications:


S and GT Line: In-line, 4-cylinder, DOHC MPI¹ D-CVVT³ 16-valve, 1.2L


GT: In-line, 3-cylinder, DOHC T-GDI² D-CVVT³ 12-valve, 1.0L (turbo, GDI)


The engine performance is more than adequate considering the Picanto’s application. It’s ultimately a city car intended for easy driving around urban areas and does its job well, getting drivers from point A to B. Picanto drivers will only notice strain in a few select scenarios such as when the car is heavily loaded or needs to join the main road with a short run-up.


The sporty GT’s 1.0 turbo engine offers a little bit more performance, and though it won’t break any speed records, it is still heaps of fun to drive. Maximum power in the S- and GT-Line grades comes in at 62kW at 6000 rpm while the GT grade has that little bit more thanks to the turbocharged engine with 72kW at 4500 rpm.


The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to Kia Picanto’s Space and Interior


As Kia’s smallest car, it can be easy to assume that space and comfort have been sacrificed entirely. However, this is not the case as there is headroom, shoulder room, and legroom aplenty. The car can easily and quite comfortably fit four adults as passengers, and perhaps five at a squeeze. There is also, for the first, the option to lower the seats so that taller drivers aren’t excluded from the Picanto this time around.


The Picanto features one of the biggest boot spaces amongst city cars and has flexible storage/loading options thanks to the 60:40 split-folding rear seats. This allows it to accommodate surprising amounts of cargo or luggage should you need to move a big haul around. The boot space, when the rear seats are up, is 255L but increases to a useful 1010L when the seats are folded down.


The interior itself is impressive across the board but especially so in the GT-Line and GT grades, with their premium red accented seats. The plush interior is logically laid out and of good quality all around considering the price class. The touchpoints feel solid and well-built and can be expected to last the full seven-year warranty that Kia offers on their cars.


The highlight is undoubtedly the 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system that is standard in all grades. It’s immensely responsive and benefits from physical buttons along the bottom of the screen which makes the system much easier to operate, especially when you’re on the move. It is Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatible, and features Bluetooth multi-connection which allows drivers to connect up to two phones at the same time.


Further notable interior features include heated seats, a USB charging port, a 12V power socket, the 4.2-inch colour supervision instrument cluster, and a multi-functional steering wheel.


The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to Kia Picanto’s Exterior


There is no denying that the 2020 facelift has elevated the look of the Kia Picanto quite significantly. The mid-life upgrades featured a new headlight design with tweaks to the front and rear bumpers. Once again, the extra details on the GT-Line and GT grades give it that extra flair that will appeal to a younger crowd on a budget. It’s bold and distinctive and rises above all its city car competitors in terms of looks.


Alloy wheels come standard on the GT versions that complement the exterior’s dynamic lines beautifully while the top versions also include LED daytime running lights that are both an aesthetic as well as a safety feature. The front is gracefully supplemented with a large (relative to the Picanto’s size) grille and the signature ‘tiger nose’ design that fits in well with the current automotive design trends. Overall, we think it’s one of the best-looking city cars on the market at the moment.


The overall dimensions of the Picanto are 3595 mm in length, 1595 mm in width, and 1485 mm in height. The wheelbase is 2500 mm, and the model has a ground clearance of 141 mm. Kia offers seven colour options for the current Kia Picanto S-grade:


  • Clear White
  • Sparkling Silver
  • Astro Grey
  • Aurora Black Pearl
  • Signal Red
  • Pop Orange
  • Honeybee Yellow


Keep in mind, Sparking Silver, Pop Orange, and Honeybee Yellow colours are not available in any of the GT grades.


The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to Kia Picanto’s Safety and Reliability


Despite having front airbags and side curtain airbags in the front and back row, as well as an Auto Emergency Braking (AMB) system, the Kia Picanto only carries a four-star ANCAP rating since its last test in 2017. We believe the Picanto misses out on the additional star due to a lack of other active, standard safety systems in modern cars such as lane assist and blind spot warning.


Other safety systems that come standard include a rear-view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, automatic headlights, and halogen daytime running lights – all valuable features considering that a big portion of its target audience is first-time drivers, assuring that extra peace of mind.


The Picanto scores well in terms of its reliability. Kia offers a seven-year or 100 000 miles warranty, making it one of the best on the market, and the overall quality suggest that it would make it to the benchmarks quite comfortably. Kia has established its reliability, especially in the last decade, and the generous warranty is reassuring while the proven technology used in other Kia models paints a good picture for things to come.


The Wrong Fuel Rescue Guide to Kia Picanto’s Fuel Economy


With a small engine combined with its small stature and light bodywork, it’s no surprise that fuel economy is one of the Kia Picanto’s biggest benefits, making it that much more appealing to budget-stricken drivers looking to save on running costs. The Picanto has always been decent on fuel consumption, but this is something that has significantly improved post-facelift.


When loaded lightly and driven sensibly, even in town, one can expect to consume as little as 4.8 litres to 5.8 litres per 100km, which equates to up to 17.5km per litre if the manufacturer’s claims are to be believed. CO2 emissions are on the low side too, coming in at 111g CO2/km, but this is something that is rivalled by hybrid and/or electric vehicle alternatives.


Need a Wrong Fuel Rescue for Your Kia Picanto? As mentioned above, one of the greatest features of the Kia Picanto is its first-class fuel consumption. Unfortunately, this benefit becomes all but futile when the wrong fuel has been put into the vehicle – something that is easily and quite frequently managed amongst the new-driver market that the Picanto appeals to.


If you have accidentally filled your Kia Picanto up with diesel instead of petrol and realised your mistake before your drive, the best thing to do is to not start the car or even turn the ignition on as this can engage the fuel pump which can lead to contamination. If you have already started your vehicle and begun driving, here are some tell-tale signs that you have misfuelled your Kia Picanto:


  • Engine misfiring
  • Excessive smoking from the exhaust
  • Loud knocking noises
  • Slow acceleration
  • Engine cuts out
  • The engine fails to start completely


If this is the situation that you’ve found yourself in, there is no need to panic – most instances of misfuelling or contamination can be fixed by us here at Wrong Fuel Rescue with no long-term damage to the engine of the vehicle whatsoever. It’s crucial, however, that you stop driving as soon as possible and pull over when it is safe to do so. The next step would be to get in contact with Wrong Fuel Rescue immediately and let us know that you have misfuelled your petrol Kia Picanto with diesel. The Wrong Fuel Rescue Roadside Assistance Mechanics will come to wherever you’ve parked and complete the needed repairs right there and then. We take every precaution necessary to remove the incorrect fuel with a full tank drain and a complete fuel system flush to decrease any possible damage to your fuel system.


In the case of diesel in a petrol engine, such as a Picanto, we clean or replace the spark plugs to remove any carbon deposits. Our expert mechanics use the latest scanning tools and software to review and clear misfire faults on the engine management system to ensure your car runs as good as new after our repairs. The Wrong Fuel Rescue’s mobile method saves you the exuberant costs of towing and garage repairs while getting you safely back on the road in a timely manner.