Private Charter Plane To Tuscany
The testing of the all new Picanto started from Farnborough airport with a private charter plane to Tuscany, Italy. Once landed we walked straight from the plane through to the cars lined up outside the airport.
Kia Picanto 1.0 litre, with 66 bhp in ‘2’ trim
First off we got into a Kia Picanto 1.0 litre, with 66 bhp in ‘2’ trim in orange and set off for an 80 miles test drive around the hills of Tuscany. For a fair few miles on the trip we were in convoy of around 6 cars. Allowing us to see the cars from all angles on the roads.
The drive was a perfect test for feeling how nimble this all-new stiff chassis is on the car. Straight roads were nowhere to be seen, instead we got constant twisty roads meaning that we could really throw the car into a corner and get a feel for what the car is all about. Straight away the Picanto was looking to be lots of fun even with the smaller engine of the two available.
Couple Of Pictures Of The Car Along The Way
After many miles and a driver swap, we stopped for a couple of pictures of the car along the way.
Shortly after we arrived at the hotel. It was the gorgeous L’Andana hotel near Grosetto on the Tuscan coast in Italy. Which was simply the perfect venue for the car. I went inside for some quick refreshments.
Picanto GT-Line S Model With a 1.2 litre 83 bhp
Following a short break, we were back out testing out the Picanto GT-Line S model with a 1.2 litre 83 bhp engine. We did a short 30 minute loop around the local vineyards and grabbed some pictures of the car in the lovely scenery.
The GT-Line S car looks a lot more sporty on the outside and on the inside it is fully equipped with everything you need – a 7 inch screen, sat nav, heated seats and steering wheel etc.
The extra performance of the car certainly translates to a bit more fun. Moving from 66 bhp to 83 bhp is a good jump and helps make those sporting looks not get wasted on a car with no go. On the upwards hills you can really notice, the extra pull and of course this makes over taking a little easier.
Checked Into The Room
Back to the hotel, we parked up the cars and checked into the rooms. We were certainly in for a treat; the rooms were second to none. Mine had a huge double bed, large shower, a nice view of the pool and surrounding vineyards and even a second tier reading room. Believe me, once I was in I didn’t want to leave.
Michelin Star Restaurant
After a quick freshen up, we were off to dinner in the local Michelin star restaurant and I spent some time catching up with both Stephen Kitson (Corporate Communications Director) and Simon Heathering (Commercial Director) all about how important the Picanto is to the UK market and the Kia business.
Picanto GT-Line with the 1.2 litre engine
The following morning after breakfast we were put into the Picanto GT-Line with the 1.2 litre engine and set off on another long mountain drive to learn about the car. Taking a variety of roads, the main take away point for me is simply how refined this little car is from Kia. The ride is significantly smooth for such a small car and the level of road noise in the car is incredibly low. A long journey in the car, felt a lot easier than you would ever expect from the little car.
Lined Up On Display
The end of the drive led us to a town centre to grab a spot of lunch, we arrived in a small convoy driving through crowds of people and up into the centre of the town square to where we all put the cars in a circular display and the locals all stopped and stared at the cars, wondering exactly what was going on, it was a great PR stunt really.
Return on AirForce Kia
Once all the cars had arrived and parked up we had dinner outside the restaurant looking at the cars on display. What a great way to show off the car. From there we were chauffeured off to the airport, stuck back on ‘AirForce Kia’ and flown back to England.