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HomeFeaturesHuge price increase for the Kia Picanto in 4 years

Huge price increase for the Kia Picanto in 4 years

The Kia Picanto’s price tag has gone up a staggering 55.36% in just four years in South Africa.

In 2020, the entry-level hatchback would set you back by a minimum of R167,995, but this price tag has since increased all the way to R260,995 – a difference of R93,000.

Sign of the times

The Picanto has been a staple of South Africa’s car scene for more than a decade, catering to motorists on a budget as one of the most affordable vehicles on the market.

It was updated on multiple occasions to keep the series fresh for new customers, but these changes have come at a cost as the city car’s window sticker is rising at an alarming rate.

In 2020, the Picanto line-up consisted of 12 models ranging in price from to R167,995 to R233,995.

Since then, the Kia has undergone a number of changes, seeing the roster halve from 12 to six units while increasing the amount of equipment available to each trim level.

The old Start, Street, and Style designations are gone in favour of the LX, EX, and EX Plus badges used by the Korean automaker’s other models to make it easier to understand for new buyers.

According to the brand, the LX replaces both the Start and Street while incorporating all of their equipment as standard for a more well-rounded beginner model, while the EX Plus replaces the top-spec Smart units.

The result is that the Kia Picanto now consists of six options in 2024 with prices ranging from R260,995 to R325,995.

You can see a price breakdown of the models in the table below:

2020 Models 2020 Prices 2024 Models 2024 Prices Difference
Kia Picanto 1.0 Start Manual R167,995 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Manual R260,995 R93,000 
Kia Picanto 1.0 Start Automatic R181,995 Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Auto R278,995 R97,000
Kia Picanto 1.0 Street Manual R179,995
Kia Picanto 1.0 Street Automatic R193,995
Kia Picanto 1.2 Street Manual R188,995
Kia Picanto 1.2 Street Automatic R202,995
Kia Picanto 1.0 Style Manual R189,995
Kia Picanto 1.0 Style Automatic R203,995
Kia Picanto 1.2 Style Manual R198,995 Kia Picanto 1.2 EX Manual R284,995 R86,000
Kia Picanto 1.2 Style Automatic R212,995 Kia Picanto 1.2 EX Auto R302,995 R90,000
Kia Picanto 1.2 Smart Manual R219,995 Kia Picanto 1.2 EX Plus Manual R307,995 R88,000
Kia Picanto 1.2 Smart Automatic R233,995 Kia Picanto 1.2 EX Plus Auto R325,995 R92,000

The base price of the vehicle has gone up by R93,000, or 55.36%, since 2020, while the top-of-the-line option will set you back a similar R92,000 more – reflecting an increase of 39.32% over the last four summers.

The fundamentals of the hatchback haven’t changed all that much in that time, either, as these are updates rather than new generation releases, and so the Picanto is still using the same 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines producing 49kW/95Nm and 61kW/122Nm, respectively.

Car prices out of control

The Picanto’s new price tag is part of an industry-wide trend leading to the cost of new models skyrocket in just a few short years.

As of February 2024, more than 70% of all the cars in South Africa now cost more than R500,000, including models like the Toyota Corolla hatchback and sedan, and the Corolla Cross crossover, when the Corolla badge has historically been a signifier of affordable mass-market products.

One of the key reasons for this spike concerns the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw car factories around the world shutdown and lay off workers when lockdown restrictions were enforced and the demand for cars dropped.

However, consumer spending quickly rebounded once restrictions began to ease up while production was much slower to return to pre-Covid levels, creating a supply and demand problem leading to inflation where consumers were more willing to pay higher prices to get their new car, according to WesBank.

In South Africa, this effect is been magnified by the poor performance of the local economy with the rand/US dollar exchange rate making it exponentially more expensive to import and sell vehicles here.

The result is that the price of an entry-level hatchback like the Kia Picanto can now go as high as R325,995 – the equivalent of a year’s worth of the average formal salary before taxes, which is estimated at around R26,894 per month.

2021 Kia Picanto

2024 Kia Picanto


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