Kia has a lot of entries in the market catering to different price points. There are models that don’t really compete with one another, such as the Kia Soluto and the Forte. Two of these cars are in different segments and price points. The lineup is generally well spaced-out, save for maybe a small hatch and a small sedan at the entry-level.
The Kia Soluto and Kia Picanto are two very similar cars, they also come at similar price points. They are also similarly specced out. So with that similarity breeds a question, which among the two will be a better buy? Which of these siblings deserve more attention? Let’s compare.
From the outside, the two cars are indeed small, but the Picanto, when put side-by-side with the Soluto, its small-ness is emphasized. Though, that isn’t without its perks, as the Picanto is exceedingly easier to maneuver through tight city streets, however, this advantage is only marginal compared to the Soluto which is already a very manageable car, to begin with.
Looks-wise, we don’t really have a preference. The Picanto is a looker. The word we would use to describe it is playful as if it is eager to get out on the road. On the flip side, the Soluto is more of a serious type. It does gawk at the road with intensity just like the Picanto, but its got a more sedate design which exudes a more professional aura. Say what you will, but either looks good. It just depends on how you feel about the body style, and what kind of personality you want to project while you drive. Would you rather be playful, or professional?
Both models are pretty much matched, but the exterior dimensions are definitely different, with the Kia Picanto with only a 2,400 mm wheelbase. The Soluto is the longer of the two, measuring in at 2,570 mm from wheel to wheel. Not that it matters, but the Picanto is taller than the Soluto and does feature a tighter turning circle, which is one of the draws of having such a compact car.
If the interiors were similar, the interiors are basically the same – though not exactly the same. Kia’s design language is very uniform, taking inspiration from European cars. It’s not exactly straight out of a BMW, but the layout is neat and very prim.
Similarities aside, the main differences between the Picanto and the Soluto include the gauge cluster, climate control vents, and the infotainment screen. In the Picanto, you get an infotainment system that is seated on the top of the dashboard, while the Soluto’s unit is embedded in the dash. Either placement is fine. It’s hard to pick one over the other, especially since both cars are similarly equipped. Now, if Kia were to bring in the GT-Line of the Picanto back, that would be a decisive win for the hatch – if we ignore the price that is.
Practicality-wise, for passengers, the Soluto is plenty good enough. Its got ample head and legroom, like the Picanto, and it has nice quality seating, much like the Picanto. Unlike the Picanto, it has a trunk, which allows you to fit up to 475-liters worth of stuff. Though, the Picanto does allow you to fold the rear seats down for even more space if you’re not carrying passengers. It’s more flexible, but with passengers and a lot of cargo, some compromises would have to be made.
Technology and safety
It’s pretty much dead-even here save for lower-end models. Both cars can come with an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at the EX trim levels, you get power steering, power windows, and even a backup camera on both models. Though, in the lower price brackets, the Soluto has better infotainment because the Picanto in its LX trim has a non-touchscreen audio system, whereas the Soluto in its LX variant still retains the 7-inch touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You get a backup camera even in the more basic trim of the Soluto, which is impressive paired with a fully-featured infotainment system. The Picanto’s LX models aren’t quite as good, but you do pay a price premium for standard features in the Soluto.
Safety is also the same. Focusing on passive features, the Soluto and Picanto both have dual front airbags, ABS, and ISOFIX tethers.
It would be hard to put one on top of the other in this aspect. The Picanto and Soluto are well-equipped as entry-level cars, the only difference is that the Soluto is more consistent with most of its features across the lineup, with the crowning standard being the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen.
Engine and Transmission
Both cars come with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. There are no differences there. The real point of comparison is the engines themselves. With a displacement of 1.4-liters and four pistons, the Kia Soluto produces a total of 94 hp and 132 Nm of torque. This engine is a capable mill that punches above its weight given the price point that it occupies. Now, the Picanto at its highest trim level will get you 10 horses less. The figures that come from the 4-cylinder, 1.2-liter engine are 84 hp and 121 Nm of torque. That little bump in displacement goes a long way, but the Picanto doesn’t just have one engine.
Hands down, the Soluto is the more powerful car, but the Picanto has a small trick up its sleeve, and that is a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder motor. So how does a 1.4-liter lose to a 1.0-liter? Well, it doesn’t but the smaller engine allows the car to be priced lower. The base price of the Picanto sits under the Soluto’s base at just P590,000, whereas the Soluto’s entry-level model is at P665,000. So is more power worth the deficit? Well in a way, yes, but only in the higher trims, which makes choosing between the two a little tricky.
So our answer is a little complicated. Both the Kia Picanto and the Kia Soluto are winners, but one wins more than the other. Let’s explain.
If you don’t have the budget and money is tight, but you still want a car, the Picanto with its 1.0-liter engine is a perfect option. For a manual, you pay P590,000, for an automatic, you pay P635,000. LX trim versus LX trim, the Picanto is just way more affordable than the Soluto. Of course, there is more power if you go for the Soluto as well as more features, but if you’re not in need of that extra horsepower, or don’t find value in extra features, then the Picanto’s base trim is good enough. The Soluto still is a great value option if you are willing to spend more and deal with a manual transmission, but if you really can’t spend more than your budget permits, and you prioritize an automatic transmission, the Picanto would be an optimal choice.
Though if you are willing to spend the money, then the Soluto would win this comparison. At P700,000 or more, the Picanto does get a more powerful engine, but that 1.2-liter still isn’t as good as the Soluto’s 1.4-liter engine which is standard throughout the lineup. As stated in the engine comparison, the Soluto is up 10 hp, and it even has 11 Nm of torque more than the most powerful Picanto. If you want an automatic EX variant, the better one is the Soluto, since you only add a mere P10,000 to get a bigger engine. Heck, even getting an automatic LX Soluto seems like a good deal even up against the Picanto’s manual EX trim. You don’t get leather seats in the LX, however, you do get the better engine and that capable infotainment system. We say that even the Soluto’s LX trim can go toe to toe with the Picanto’s EX AT trim. If we put the top of the line variants side by side, it would be no contest, the Soluto would win – again for just a mere P10,000 more.