When it comes to small cars you can’t go wrong than by choosing from the Kia range which is the powerhouse from Korea.

The Picanto was refreshed this year and for less than £9,000 you get a good vehicle which can accommodate five people at a push, give you 60 miles to the gallon and a top speed of just over 100mph.

There are nine variations and at the moment the engines are the 66bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder; a more powerful four-cylinder 1.25 with 84bhp and a turbocharged unit will join the range before the end of the year.

All cars have a five-speed manual gearbox as standard and you can have an auto fitted to the 1.25.

The interesting thing about Kia is that every time they bring out a new model or refresh an old one the standard of their build just gets higher and higher. The equipment and interior is improved and everything is so much better about their new vehicles. The Picanto, which is the third generation, is the same.

It is Kia’s fourth biggest-selling model globally, with Europe a major market, and there are rivals with the SEAT Mii, the Skoda Citigoand the VW up!

You can only get a five door model and the one litre model does 0-62mph in just over 14 seconds seconds, while the 1.25 knocks off around two seconds.

Like all the Kia cars the standard kit is pretty good even on the base model, with hill start assist, auto headlights, electric front windows and a radio with USB and AUX connections.

The next one up has air-con, rear electric windows, Bluetooth, heated mirrors, 14-inch alloys and body coloured exterior trim to the tally.

The third spec has15-inch alloys, autonomous emergency braking, door-mounted LED indicators, electric folding mirrors, a seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav with DAB, a six-speaker audio system and a rear parking camera.

The flagship GT-Line S has touchscreen with heated seats and steering wheel, an electric sunroof and even wireless phone charging.

That will do 0mph and 0-60mph will get you in 11.6 seconds.

The intuitive screen is available on grade three cars and above, bringing Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 3D sat-nav maps.

It is simple and easy to use and is logically laid out and easy to use.

On the road the Picanto is a great mover, easy to drive around town and a delight to manoeuve in narrow car parks. The extended wheelbase and shorter overhangs give the car a more dynamic appearance and better turning circle.

The stiffer anti-roll bars improve agility and makes the car much easier to drive and probably you get more fun from the Picanto than the rivals The standard 1.0-litre non-turbo Picanto emits 101g/km of CO2 and returns almost 70 miles per gallon, although if you are in town every day that will drop to at least 60 miles to the gallon.

Quality is much improved and black and grey cloth comes as standard, but buyers can opt for one of several interior colour packs to brighten up the cabin should they want to.

To appeal to younger drivers there are a number of exterior hues and the GT Line cars get red details on the grille and bumpers, as well as similar flashes inside.

There are two seating configurations; with the four-seat model saving 10g/km of CO2. The five-seat car is more versatile though, giving buyers the option of carrying an extra passenger when the need arises.

Visibility is excellent and the top-spec cars have a reversing camera as an option. Other useful features include a small central armrest, as well as doorbins and a good glovebox.

The new Picanto boasts best-in-class boot space – beating all its main rivals for outright carrying capacity and when the seats are folded them flat there is a 1,010-litre load area.

All Kias come with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and they offer a variety of service plans under their Care-3 policy. Which means owners can get their first three services for £299 (30,000 miles or 36 months) – or £329 including the car’s first MoT.

The Care-3 Plus starts from £599 but covers five services and the fixed-price servicing deals offer brilliant value for money and is transferrable to subsequent owners.