Such poor results are exclusive to the Caribbean market since Kia’s Picanto provides much more for European customers.
The Latin New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) – the Caribbean and Latin American arm of the NCAP set up by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – tested the KIA Picanto and found the version made available to said areas is appallingly falling short of safety and protection standards. The result comes as a surprise, especially since the European version usually performs quite well.
The tested KIA Picanto, known as KIA Morning in South Korea, is the entry-level model in the range with only one airbag for the driver, belt pre-tensioners, and seat belt reminders as standard. The anti-lock braking system isn’t on the list of standard features, while ESC, front passenger airbag, and side-head and chest airbags for both front occupants are offered in top-spec variants, though only as optional extras.
Earning a zero star rating in adult occupant protection, the Picanto joins the Latin NCAP wall of shame alongside Chery Tiggo 3, which had two airbags, Hyundai Accent (no airbags this time) and Mitsubishi L200 with zero airbags too. While the Picanto offered in European markets has a wide range of safety equipment trims, the Picanto for the Caribbean region doesn’t even provide side head protection as standard, hence the decision to skip the side pole impact test.
The frontal impact, side impact, whiplash, and pedestrian protection tests were conducted, and the Picanto received 0% scores in the Adult Occupant box, 29% in the Child Occupant Box, 51% for Pedestrian protection Box, and finally 7% in the Safety Assist Box.
The driver’s head and neck protection were adequate, but the chest area was left vulnerable. Front passenger and driver’s legs will be fine in case of a collision, but the footwell area is rated unstable. The head, abdomen, and pelvis protection on side impact is okay, but poor chest protection isn’t helping.
Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP, commented on these findings: “It is absolutely appalling that a global car manufacturer like KIA offers the Picanto with 6 airbags, pedestrian protection and ESC standard, for 8,700 Euros in Europe, while in our region the car offers such poor safety levels.” KIA should really address these complaints if it wants to gain global footing outside of the US and Europe.
The only good news is that the car meets rear impact structure requirements.
Source: Latin NCAP