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Kia Sonet: First Look

Modified On Sep 18, 2020 01:04 PM By Arun for Kia Sonet

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More than just another small SUV, the Sonet might just rewrite the rules of the small-SUV game!

Update (18/09/2020): Kia has launched the Sonet with prices beginning from Rs 6.71 lakh (ex-showroom). Read more about it here.

Kia went from ‘who?’ to ‘whoa!’ in India in just under a year. With the Seltos setting the ball rolling and the Carnival upping the ante, it’s natural to expect a power-packed performance from their youngest SUV yet, the Sonet.

This cute little SUV slots into the space that has more options than you’d need; one from every major car manufacturer you can think of. It’s come well-prepared to jump straight to the top, though. Why do we say that?

Looks

There’s a fine line between being a bloated hatchback and a scaled-down SUV. Thankfully, the Sonet sits on the right side of that scale. Yes, it shares its platform with the Hyundai Venue but has no visual similarities. Unlike the Venue that’s chic and sober with straight lines, the Sonet flexes its muscles. 

The front three-quarters is one of our favourite angles to view the Sonet. The high-set bonnet, the bulbous wheel arches and Kia’s signature grille (that look like flared nostrils here) give the baby Kia a strong and confident face. Visual muscle is backed up by thoughtful vertical elements in the faux skid plate and the mesh grille in lower air dam.

Wild or not, the design of the fang-shaped daytime running lamps (that double up as turn indicators) is sure to get a conversation going. And so will the full-LED headlamps that have bright white lighting. No white LEDs with the projector foglamps, though; you get halogen lighting here. 

Kia Sonet Revealed At Auto Expo 2020; Will Rival Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue

In fact, the Sonet has barely changed from its concept avatar we first saw at the 2020 Auto Expo. The most obvious giveaways are the conventional door handles (instead of the flush-fitting ones of the concept) and the realistic 16-inch alloy wheel size. Other elements including that sporty-looking upswept C-pillar, the roof rails and the cladding have been carried over virtually unchanged. It rides on well-sized 215/60 R16 tyres, just like the Venue. And although we don’t have a number yet, the ground clearance looks ample too. 

From the rear, the Sonet appears flat and upright. Gloss black accent pieces blend into the rear windshield, adding to the visual width. The lighting element in the connected taillamps mimics the fangs of the daytime running lamps — cool touch! But the panel on the tailgate doesn’t light up sadly, it’s just a reflector. However, it does manage to cleverly hide the reverse parking camera. A faux skidplate with exhaust-like elements gives the eyes a break from the large bumper. Pop quiz: do you think the Sonet will look better with a spare wheel mounted on the boot?

Interior

Getting in and out of the Sonet is easy, the doors open wide. It’s easy to get used to the seating position too with a high-set seat that lets you see the flared wheel arches and the edge of the bonnet. Anyone learning how to drive will appreciate this. There’s height-adjust for the driver’s seat, but the steering only gets tilt-adjust. First impressions with respect to ergonomics are positive, it takes no time to get used to the layout. Quality levels are appreciable too, right up there with benchmarks including the Venue and the XUV300

The dashboard has old-school vibes in the sense that it’s narrow and tall. There are plenty of vertical elements, and the touchscreen and instrument cluster binnacle together form a wall of sorts on the dashboard. There’s attention to detail too, in the form of a knurled finish on the AC surrounds, and dull silver accents on the door pads, gear knob console and the Seltos-borrowed flat-bottom steering wheel. With a large 10.25-inch touchscreen and switches for the climate control, this dashboard sure looks funky. That said, we have our doubts if lower trims (with non-touch infotainment and manual air-conditioning knobs) will look equally appealing. 

That apart, the Sonet sets new benchmarks in terms of features. The top-spec model we previewed had a host of unique goodies including front parking sensors, ventilated front seats, and an air purifier with a perfume dispenser. There’s a 7-speaker Bose sound system (with mood lighting no less) that’s going to give you something to gloat about to your friends. Be sure to mention there’s a subwoofer in the boot! 

Other highlights include keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, automatic climate control, and an electric sunroof. There’s leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror too. You also get a 4.2-inch colour screen in the instrument cluster (that acts as the MID) with a digital speedometer, and old-school analogue tachometer, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. 

The rear seat occupants are treated to AC vents and a USB charger for their phones. They also get to report the air quality index within the cabin. On the space front, the Sonet might leave quite a few disappointed. Kneeroom is strictly average: a six-footer can sit behind another with maybe an inch to spare. No complaints on the headroom front, there’s ample. As is the case with the Venue, the Sonet is short on width too. Four seater? Comfortable. Use the central armest while you’re at it. Seating three abreast? You’re pushing it. A kid in the centre shouldn’t have a problem for smaller journeys though. 

For road trips, there’s quite a bit of boot space. The opening is wide and low, so getting luggage into the boot isn’t a bother either. There are no 60:40 split rear seats on offer, however. Kia hasn’t shared a number yet, but we’d assume its close to the Venue’s 350-litre boot. 

 

Engine Options

Kia is copying Hyundai’s homework when it comes to the drivetrains. You will get to choose between a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.0-litre turbo petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. If it’s an automatic you want, you’d have that option in the form of a 7-speed DCT with the turbo-petrol and a 6-speed torque converter with the diesel. There’s the new clutchless manual tech on offer too — iMT as Hyundai-Kia call it - with the turbo petrol.

Engine

1.2 litre, 4-cylinder Petrol

1.0 litre, 3-cylinder Turbo-Petrol

1.5 litre, 4-cylinder Turbo-Diesel

Power

83PS @ 6000rpm

120PS @ 6000rpm

100PS @ 4000rpm

Torque

115Nm @ 4000rpm

172Nm @ 1500-4000rpm

240Nm @ 1500-2750rpm

Transmission

5-speed manual

6-speed manual / 6-speed clutchless manual / 7-speed automatic

6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic

It’s interesting to note that the car we shot was a fully-loaded GT Line variant with the diesel-automatic drivetrain. That’s unlike Hyundai that carves out a special ‘no man’s land’ variant between the top two for the automatic. 

Verdict

From first impressions, there’s just one flaw in the Sonet’s recipe. It doesn’t feel like a spacious family car. But on every other count, it’s practically hard to fault. It’s got the looks to make the neighbours jealous and it is built well inside-out. It’s setting benchmarks for the kind of features it’s offering, and the range of drivetrain options will ensure a Sonet for every wallet. 

Speaking of which, we’re expecting prices to start around the Rs 7 lakh mark and top out around Rs 12 lakh. If Kia manages to price it in this bracket, and the driving dynamics cash the cheques the brochure is writing — we’re possibly looking at the new leader of the sub-4-metre SUV pack.

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siva
Aug 8, 2020 7:15:37 AM

Excellent car in India,so nice

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