Photos: Karthik A Nair
Sonet is the most anticipated car of 2020 after the Mahindra Thar. Compact SUV segment is overtaking every other segment in our country. Even small hatches are designed like an SUV with weird coffee names by manufacturers targeting better sales. There is a reason why our country is obsessed with SUVs; isn’t it? Thanks to our roads! If I am planning to buy a car, then why not look for an SUV?
We clearly have our own excuses!
– We don’t know when our roads will get flooded
– Our country is blessed with deep potholes in every possible road
– SUVs offer better comfort
– SUVs give you a commanding feel
– It can tackle a rough patch without hitting the underbelly
– It has better space
– Everybody are obsessed so am I!
We all can relate to the above points I believe. The purpose of the compact SUV is something which I don’t need to elaborate here. All I am supposed to do is tell you how bloody good the Kia Sonet really is! Kia as a brand, it really has the power to surprise. I got suprised when they launched the Seltos and now again with the Sonet.
The Sonet is the latest entry to the compact SUV segment from Kia Motors and we have driven the diesel 6-Speed AT. To start with, Kia Sonet is loaded with features. You name it, Sonet has it! Sonet comes with 2 World’s First Features, 24 Segment First Features & 7 Best in Segment Features!
Kia Sonet Design
Sexy! The Sonet is the best looking compact SUV in our country. Period.
The Sonet comes with distinctive design and won’t be confused with any other car. Sonet carries better road presence than competition and the details are way too sexy! The GT Line is surrounded by red inserts and piano black finish to say the least. On the front, Sonet comes with the signature tiger nose grille in piano black finish which is inspired from the Indian step wells. It gets GT Line badging on it and the bonnet gets a nice sculted design. Going down to the front bumpers, it gets turbo shaped skid plates with red inserts and front parking sensors which is the first-in-segment. Sonet gets a very attractive Crown Jewel LED headlamps along with Heartbeat LED DRLs with integrated side turn indicators and Heartbeat LED tail lamps as well. Tail lamps are connected through a reflector garnish which looks premium. At the rear, you get a dual muffler design and diffuser fin rear skid plate. In GT Line variant, you get Piano Black Diffuser Fin Skid Plates with red accents. The 16 inch crystal cut alloys looks good on the Sonet and it also gets red brake callipers and red surroundings around Kia badge. On the sides, you get electronic folding ORVM with chrome door handles. The Sonet gets red lining on side skid plates as well. Overall, the Sonet nails it on design. Its literally half the job done for Kia Motors India with the design.
Since it is based on the Hyundai Venue, the dimensions are more or less the same. However the Sonet is way better than rivals in design and it also gets class leading boot space of 392 litres.
Kia Sonet Interiors
Sonet carries all the sporty elements on the inside as well. It gets all black interiors loaded with piano finished surfaces. The seats are plush and comes in leather with red stiching. The door pads are also looking stylish with red stitching and the front row of the Sonet feels spacious unlike its twin. The Sonet’s fit and finish is the best I have ever seen in a compact SUV and comes with useful storage spaces. There are two slots for your phone, one being the wireless charging pad which comes with first-in-segment cooling function.
The highlight of the front row is the 10.25 inch HD touchscreen and the leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel. You also notice the digital instrument cluster with colour display and there is the Bose 7-speaker system to keep you entertained which also has LED sound mood lights to enhance the party mood inside the Sonet.
As it is a Kia, it comes with UVO connected features and is the World’s first car to get remote engine start option in a manual transmission. Sounds promising right? Sonet also gets voice command features where you can get certain informations through voice commands. To say the least, the Sonet is a tech loaded super gadget on the inside.
I felt the seats offer great comfort and along with the first-in-segment ventilated front seats, Sonet will be a great companion for long journeys. The rear view monitor function is useful to ensure better safety and the camera clarity is by far, the best! Sonet offers good head room for my size (6ft) and I don’t have any complaints for the shoulder room either.
On to the second row, there is a bit of compromise on the knee room but other than that, it gets super comfortable seats, handrest and thoughtfully designed mobile holder with USB charging port. The headroom also looks decent at the rear. The only downside will be carrying 3 people at rear will be a bit of squeeze while two full sized adults will enjoy the space.
Sonet gets World’s first smart air purifier with virus protection option which sounds uber cool in this era of Covid. One more thing I will have to tell you is that, Sonet gets a decent electronically adjustable sunroof while it misses out the 60:40 rear split seats.
Kia Sonet Performance
1.0 L T GDi Petrol: 120PS@6000RPM & 172NM@1500-4000RPM with 6 Speed iMT & 7 Speed DCT
0-100kmph: 11.3 Seconds for DCT & 12.3 Seconds for iMT
Fuel Efficiency: 18.3 & 18.2kmpl
SmartStream 1.2 Petrol: 83PS@6000RPM & 115NM@4200RPM with 5 Speed Manual
0-100kmph: 13,3 Seconds
Fuel Efficiency: 18.4kmpl
1.5 WGT Diesel: 100PS@4000RPM & 240NM@1500-2750RPM with 6 Speed Manual
0-100kmph: 12,3 Seconds
Fuel Efficiency: 24.1kmpl
1.5 VGT Diesel: 115PS@4OOORPM & 250NM@1500-2750RPM with 6 Speed AT
0-100kmph: 11,8 Seconds
Fuel Efficiency: 19kmpl
Grip Modes: Mud, Snow, Sand
Drive Modes: Normal, Eco, Sport
We are familiar with these engines. But however, Kia has done their part to make it better. The Sonet’s diesel manual variant offers the segment best fuel efficiency of 24.1kmpl while it is promising to drive as well since it just takes 12.3 seconds for a 100kmph sprint. We just drove the diesel automatic variant which gets a tuned power output of 115PS and 250NM which slightly higher than the manual variant. It is capable of hitting 100kmph in just 11.8 seconds which is very close to the T GDi figure of 11.3 seconds.
The diesel automatic gets 3 drive modes and put it in Sports, you will be amazed to see the performance offered by the Sonet. The gearbox is super smooth and the NVH levels are impressive too. Sport mode offers quicker shifts and the redline for 1.5L VGT is at 4500rpm. I was super amazed by the performance of the diesel and even though I haven’t driven the petrol variants, I have made the Sonet with the 6-speed diesel AT as my personal favourite.
Sonet feels very much planted to the road even at triple digit speeds and you get confidence enough to change lanes at 130kmph like a boss! It gets brake assist function and the brakes are confidence inspiring too! Sonet comes with just a 43m stopping distance from 100-0kmph.
The diesel engine is very much enthusiastic to drive and is combined with better fuel efficiency as well. However, in today’s diesel prices, people will opt for the petrol instead of the diesel, but this engine is really enthusiastic. It doesn’t have that so called turbo lag and with such a responsive gearbox, you will love it if you drive it.
Kia Sonet Safety Features
• Six Airbags
• ABS with EBD,
• ESC, HAC, VSM and Brake assist
• Front & Rear parking sensors
• Projector Fog lamps
• Highline tyre pressure monitor
• Auto headlamps
• Isofix child anchor
Is it more kind of an old wine in a new bottle? A BIG NO! The Sonet might be based on Venue’s platform, but Kia’s engineers’ have put their best effort to make this car special. A good looking car means its half the job done. The Kia Sonet isn’t just good looking on the outside, it’s interiors are well laid out and the diesel AT drives as good as it looks! I will comment on the petrol variants when I get to drive one. As of now, I feel if Kia Motors India can price it right, the Sonet will sell like hot cakes and will become the King of the Segment in no time!