Kia Motors came to India with a disruptive approach. The Seltos took the market by storm, challenging even the segment leader, Hyundai Creta. Such was the package that it was quite literally mouth-watering. Kia is trying to do the same with the Sonet. This is the latest offering from the Korean maker, which is a sub-4 metre compact SUV. Sonet was first showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo. The production comes in rather quickly and here we are driving this compact SUV.
We test different variants of the Sonet, bringing you a detailed review of this new entrant. Read on to know if this will be the right one for you.
Kia Sonet Design
Wild by design, as Kia puts it, the Sonet indeed looks intimidating and bold from the front. The ‘Tiger-Nose’ grille adds the wild quotient to it, neatly finished with a chrome surround. The bonnet is a clamshell-type one and has a puffed-up look. The bumper looks smart with the stylish skid plates.
The Sonet has a beefed-up look due to the flared wheel arches and this portion appears on the doors as well. There is cosmetic roof rails present. The wheels are 16-inch ones with stylish diamond-cut alloy wheels.
The rear portion compliments the front, with a continuous effect of the LED tail lamps. The C-pillar houses an embossed panel, which I did not like very much and somewhere kills the sharpness of the design. An interesting thing is that though being a sub-4 metre vehicle, the Kia Sonet looks much bigger. Similar in size to the Hyundai Venue, it looks as big as say, a Renault Duster. Some smart designing there!
Overall the Sonet looks attractive, beefy and proportionate.
Kia Sonet Interiors
The interiors are well-designed. A two-tone dashboard with satin aluminium garnishing (GT-line gets an all black dashboard with no aluminium finish). Fit and finish is top-notch. A large 10.25 inch touchscreen sits atop the console of which extends to the driver instrument panel. Below it are the Auto AC switches. The steering wheel is a flat-bottom one, adding to the sportiness. The GT-line gets red stitching on the seats and steering wheel.
The front seats are well contoured and comfortable. There is only tilt adjustment for the steering, but you can find a good driving position. The rear had decent legroom. What impressed me was the backrest recline angle, which can make a lot of difference in rear-seat comfort. Space-wise it is ideal for two, where a third person can squeeze in. There are rear AC vents available.
The boot is large for its segment at 392 litres. It can gobble up a significant amount of luggage and shopping bags. The glove box is small and devoid of a cooling function. You do get a small storage space in the driver armrest. The doors house large pockets for easy storage.
Kia Sonet Features
The Sonet comes with many features like
10.25- inch touchscreen
7-speaker Bose audio
Wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play
Connected UVO app
Sound mood lights
Air purifier with perfume and virus protection
Ventilated front seats
Some of them are class-leading, like ventilated seats, audio system and the touchscreen and go a long way in adding to the comfort and convenience.
Kia Sonet Engine and Performance
The Sonet comes with the following drive-train options:
1.2-litre Petrol 85 bhp with 5-speed manual
1.0-litre Turbo Petrol 120 bhp with 6-speed iMT and 7-speed DCT
1.5-litre Diesel 100 bhp with 6-speed manual
1.5-litre Diesel 115 bhp with 6-speed AT
So many options are a first for the segment and also the diesel automatic is the only one in the segment. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol is a sprightly performer. Quick to reach high speeds and feels lively. Its a powerful unit and best suited for city driving, having hardly any lag.
The iMT is a good balance between manual and automatic. In operation its almost like an automatic but with the manual shifting of gears, in a clutch-less manner. Believe me, you will not miss a manual transmission, unless you wanna do a ‘dump the clutch’ type driving. The 7-speed DCT again is pleasurable to use. It has quick shifts and is effortless.
However, my pick is the diesel automatic. This is the one to buy. This drive-train offers maximum thrill. 250 Nm of torque works wonders in this sub-4-metre SUV and propels the Sonet instantly. The automatic transmission also is pretty quick and shifts gears devoid of any lag. It's quick to reach triple-digit speeds.
Also, the NVH levels are good, bringing in hardly any engine noise. Spirited driving in the diesel is great fun.
There is no 4WD available.
Kia Sonet Ride and Handling
This is one area where things could have been a bit better. The suspension is on the stiffer side. You feel it most when driving on a rough or uneven surface. At low speeds it is stiff. At moderate speeds, it gets slightly comfortable and at high speeds, feels bumpy, especially at the rear.
Coming to the handling, the car feels fine in the city at moderate speeds, however, at triple-digit speeds, it felt a bit skittish, during sudden direction changes.
The steering is calibrated on the lighter side, to benefit city driving. I would prefer it to have a little more weight at higher speeds. The brakes are good though.
The GT-line variants come with three levels of traction control and three driving modes.
Though you will miss the sharp handling or plush ride of some of its rivals, it poses no problem for your daily city driving.
The Kia Sonet is undoubtedly a well-rounded package. One that offers almost everything related to its segment and even more of certain features. The engine and transmission options are the highest in its class, which makes it a big draw. The ‘something for everyone’ approach is sure to make the KIA Sonet a success. The price is yet to be announced and we expect it to be in the range of Rs.7 lakhs to Rs.12 lakhs (ex-showroom).
Is the KIA Sonet worth waiting for? Well, if this isn’t, then what is?