Kia Picanto named best bargain of 2012

The award is the latest in a long line of awards for the small city car, which was only introduced towards the end of 2011 after a drastic overhaul compared to previous versions.

BBC Top Gear Magazine judges said: “Finally, here’s a Korean supermini that you might choose over, say, a Fiat 500. You want a bargain? The car we have here is a touch over 10 grand, but you can have one for under eight. That’s two grand less than the cheapest Cinquecento, and – for our money – the better car.

“This is the Picanto, our Bargain Car of the Year, a fluorescent metaphor for South Korea’s journey from the havoc of wartime to economic enormity”.

The Picanto has earned its reputation thanks to impressive sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and new, stylish exterior, which recently earned it the 2012 iF product design award.

Kia has also focused on improving the interior and equipment levels of the Picanto to move it more upmarket than previous budget offerings.

It now comes with more practical interior features such as air conditioning, CD player with MP3 compatibility and hands free mobile phone use with Bluetooth.

Meanwhile, Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer was selected as one of the ‘Men of the Year’ for his work in turning the Korean car maker into one of the most attractive brands in the UK.

Schreyer, the man behind the likes of the Kia Sportage and Kia Soul design, said he was ‘hugely honoured’ with the award.

The Kia Picanto is available from £7,795. Kia vehicles are available from Perry’s Burnley, Preston and Rotherham dealership.