The sub compact SUV segment which is
the sub 4 metre segment to be more precise is one of the most popular passenger
vehicle segments in the country today and is growing rapidly too. Kia Sonet is
the latest entrant in this segment. There are already popular models here like
the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the Mahindra XUV 300, which incidentally is
one of the safest vehicles on road in India today, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon
and Ford EcoSport, among others.
I would describe the Kia Sonet as a
handsome vehicle, just like its sibling Kia Seltos. Like the Selitos, the Kia Sonet too comes in two
trim levels: Tech Line of variants as well as a GT Line of variants. The GT
Line is more exciting looking variant line with its sporty design elements.
The Kia Sonet, irrespective of Tech or
GTLine, will be offered with four engine options. One is a 1.2 litre Smarstream
G1.2 MPI petrol engine mated to a 5 speed gear box. The second engine option is
the 1 litre Turbo GDI petrol engine that comes with an option of either an
Intelligent Manual Transmission or a 7 speed Dual Clutch Transmission. The
third engine option is a 1.5 litre CRDI WGT or waste gas turbocharger diesel
engine mated to a 6 speed manual transmission. The fourth engine option is a
1.5 litre VGT or variable geometry turbocharger diesel engine mated to a
six-speed automatic transmission.
The vehicle overall has a length of
3995mm, a width of 1790mm and a height of 1642mm. The wheelbase of the Sonet is
(All BS VI)
1.5L CRDi WGT
(Waste Gas Turbocharger)
1.5L CRDi VGT
Max Power (hp/ rpm)
Overall length x width x height (mm)
3995 x 1790 x 1642
Front: McPherson strut with coil
Rear: Coupled torsion beam axle with
Front-Disc, Rear - Drum
Fuel Tank capacity
The Kia Sonet gets a Tiger Nose grille
with three-dimensional ‘stepwell’ geometric grille mesh. The moment you look at
the grille you will be reminded of the popular Seltos SUV. The Sonet has a
“Wild by Design’ theme attributed to it.
GT Line trim gets a black high glossy Grille with GT Line logo and red
accents on the front. The bumper of the
Tech Line and GT line are different, the latter being more sporty and
The Sonet has crown Jewel LED
headlamps, ‘Heartbeat’ LED DRLs with integrated side turn indicators and
projector fog lamps. It gets ‘Turbo’ shaped skid plates in front. The KIA badge
sits prominently on the lower tip of the bonnet. The bonnet itself is built to
exude a tough and bold design theme.
From the side the vehicle has a decent
look with chrome plated door handles, diffused chrome strip at the bottom of
the door and decently shaped wheel arches. The vehicle has alloy wheels with
215/60 R16 tyres. The ORVMs come with
in-built side indicators. The Sonet comes with roof rails, electric sunroof and
a shark fin antenna. The roof slants down as it moves towards the rear, giving
it an aerodynamic shape. Just below the
A pillar by the side of the bonnet, you have the transmission type written
whether it is an iMT or Auto or DCT.
At the rear we get heart beat LED tail
lamps which are connected with reflector strip. There is an LED stop light
which is mounted high on the integrated rear spoiler. The indicators and rear
parking light are halogen. At the bottom you have sporty dual muffler design
and diffuser fin rear skid plate. Again the KIA badge is prominently fixed on
the centre of the hatch door. Equally prominent is the word ‘SONET’ fixed on
the left side of the door and in much smaller letters is the TGDI badge stuck
in one corner. The other engine options don’t get their names inscribed at the
back. However, the GT Line gets a prominent GT Line words inscribed at the
The rear of the GT line encompasses
the Piano Black Diffuser Fin Skid Plates with red accents.
Once inside you get to see a smart cabin. Again the difference between
the Tech Line and the GT Line is the light and dark interiors respectively. The
GT Line words are stitched on the seat. The GT Line trim also comes with red
stitching on the steering wheel, seats and door armrest.
The Sonet gets a 10.25 inch HD
touchscreen with Infotainment and Navigation system. Two mobile phones can be connected directly to
this system and inputs from both can be accessed here. As for the navigation,
you also get a 3d display of the route. Moreover, the customer gets the
internet based service free for first three years. You can also connect your
smart watch to the system.
The Air vents in the dashboard feature a metallic, diamond-knurled pattern.
The D-cut steering wheel has control
buttons on them and the steering wheel can be adjusted for tilt but not for
reach. The steering gets both the Kia as well as Sonet badging. The steering
mounted controls have a number of functions that reflect on the MID screen. You
also get cruise control buttons on one side of the steering.
The inside rear view mirror which is auto dimming has buttons for SOS,
Tow and UV connect.
The 4.2-inch instrument cluster panel
is of a sporty design and presents information to the driver in vivid colours,
which includes turn-by-turn navigation, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
and Multi Drive Modes and Grip Control. The vehicle comes with BOSE Premium
7-speaker System with Sub-woofer.
You can also charge your mobile phone
wirelessly, provided it is compatible to that technology. In front you get two USB slots, one of them
for high speed charging, and you also get a 12V charging socket that can
accommodate gadgets with a max output of 120 watts.
You get vanity mirrors in the top
model on both sides but these do not have embedded lights when you flip them
Then you also get LED sound mood
lamps. The Sonet has the feature of remote engine start for automatic and
manual transmission through UVO & smart key. The UVO connected technology
comes with 57 features including the UVO - Voice Assist. On the dash you have
buttons for controlling AC fan speed, AC, AC modes, AC temperature, air
recirculation, front and rear defogger and fan speed controls for the front
seat ventilation. Since the Sonet comes with so many switches for various
functions, they should have also added one for volume control on the dash,
especially for the co-passenger in front who may otherwise find it tough
working on the touchscreen while on the move.
The driver door panel gets the usual controls for locking the doors as
well as for opening and closing the window panes.
As for the seats, the ones in front
are ventilated and are very comfortable. This ventilation feature is a sensible
one considering the intense heat and warm climes across India.
At the rear the seats are comfortable,
especially for two people. The two can then enjoy the drop down arm rest with
two cup holders. There are only two head rests for the rear passengers. Three
people can definitely squeeze in at the back and each can have one’s own safety
seat belt. The rear area, between the
two front seats you get the Smart Pure Air Purifier with Virus Protection,
which again is a sensible feature during such terrible days of the pandemic. You have AC vents there and also a USB
charging slot with a place to keep your mobile.
The back of the front seats comes with two pockets where you can store magazines,
books or files or some such things.
Storage space is plenty which includes
the space under the front hand rest, the glove box and the inner door panels,
two cup holders and space for you phone on the floor console. The vehicle has a
boot space of 392 litres.
We drove the 1 litre Turbo GDI petrol
engine with the iMT first and later the 1.5 litre CRDi WGT diesel mated to a 6
speed manual transmission. Remember
these engines are doing a great job in several vehicles in the Hyundai family.
The Turbo GDI is an amazing engine with great response when you step on the
accelerator. As for the iMT we recently talked at length about it when we drove
the Hyundai Venue iMT. You can refer to that video to find out how the iMT
works and how best to drive it.
Since it is a responsive engine and
the gear changes have to be made by you in this Intelligent Manual
Transmission, which is kind of an automatic because we do not get a clutch
pedal here, you have to shift according to your needs. But a few things that
need to be kept in the mind while driving this iMT version is that you need to
have some basic knowledge about how a manual transmission operates. For
example, you cannot slot the 4th gear and start the vehicle from
standstill. Of course, the vehicle does guide you and warn you with indicators
and beep sounds. But overall, I am very impressed by the responsiveness of the
engine. The ride and handling of the car
is impressive and the suspension too is tuned perfectly, taking care of the
rough and the smooth. It is neither very soft nor very hard.
Coming to the 1.5 litre diesel engine, we got one with a manual transmission. The
engine is not as quick as the turbo GDI but it does not disappoint you. Gear
shift indicators tell you which gear to go to, whether to down shift or up
shift. Being a diesel, it definitely
gives better fuel mileage than a petrol. I did not experience any lack of power
with this diesel engine, rather I found it above average. NVH levels are a lot under control and one
does not get to know this is a diesel mill that we are driving since the sound
from the engine bay is to a great extent insulated. You get drive modes and traction control in
this vehicle. Drive modes include Normal/ Eco / Sports. Traction Control can
also be adjusted for Snow, Mud and Sand
As for safety, the Sonet gets six
airbags. Then it has ABS or Anti Lock Braking System with EBD. EBD stands for
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Then it has Electronic Stability Control or
ESC, Hill Assist Control or HAC, vehicle stability management or VSM and Brake
assist, Front & Rear parking
sensors, and Isofix child anchor etc.
The Kia Sonet is a fresh addition to
India’s sub compact SUV segment. It’s
refreshing and it’s wild, not just in design but in its performance too. I
won’t call the Kia Sonet revolutionary, but I would definitely say that it has
maintained very high standards when it comes to overall design, comfort,
performance and safety.
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