While it’s 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 Kia 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 … and then damn near put my head through the windshield.
You see, during my soiree with the COTY contenders, I had forgotten about the light-switch sensitivity of the Picanto’s middle pedal. A mere stern look in the brake pedal’s 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 hasn’t been an issue. I’d rather a strong reaction from the brake pedal than sponginess and lethargy. It’s easy to adapt, and revised pedal pressure becomes second nature.
There have been two instances recently where I’ve 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 Kia’s 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.
It’s a nice safety net to have, but you can also take comfort in the fact the Picanto’s brakes will stop you on a dime if need be.
Now, I’m off to get my nose straightened after cracking it on the steering wheel.
Read part three of our 2017 Kia Picanto S long-term review here!