Kia Motors recently launched the Sonet compact SUV in India and has got everyone encapsulated. What's all the buzz about? Is it worth its price? How will it be to own one?
Well, Kia was generous enough to lend us a diesel manual for a long term review. This will enable us to answer all the aforementioned questions over the course of the next three months. We've welcomed the diesel manual version in grey in its top-spec HTX Plus trim. We'll get to all the details as we gradually discover more and more about this SUV.
For starters, let's get to its physical appearance. Looks play a major role in this segment and it was important for Kia to distinguish the Sonet from the horde of compact SUVs available. Gladly, they've managed to do that successfully by crafting it to look very different. It's currently grabbing a lot of attention on the road, not only because it’s very new, but also due to its unique looks and styling.
This stubby little SUV is very likeable for its compact yet muscular design. It gets the brand's signature design traits like the Tiger nose grille, LED lights, and body cladding that make it look like a mini Seltos. The latter has already got approval by Indian masses so it's a good thing for the Sonet. Besides, this new kid's design is clutter-free and unorthodox. No wonder then, the Sonet has got people talking about it.
Even inside, the interiors are fresh and the modern dashboard with a huge 10.25-inch (biggest-in-segment) touch screen infotainment system grabs one's attention. Its design is such that it merges well into the dashboard with a binnacle to house its digital instrument cluster. All of it is ergonomically placed with many visible storage places along with features like ventilated seats, keyless entry, engine push-start button, fast-charging ports, and even a sunroof. The car is wider than the Venue and we will get to know more about how and if it translates to good space and comfortable seating over the long run. Its boot-space of 392 litres without intrusions looks huge and should be very useful on our shoots.
However, it is this 99bhp 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, diesel engine that's going to be the highlight given our high usage/mileage. Its main advantage is that it's a torquey motor with 240Nm of peak torque available from 1,500rpm, and has an ARAI-claimed fuel economy of 24.1kmpl. Then, a fairly light clutch, smooth gearshifts with short throws, and light controls should make it easy to drive within the city. Yet, the 16-inch alloys wheels and a ground clearance of over 200mm also mean we will not have to think twice when going hunting for an unexplored shoot location.
With the Kia Sonet been welcomed with open arms in our CarWale's long-term fleet, it's an uphill task for this compact SUV to serve as our workhorse. Our next long-term report will focus on its city performance and how it copes with the urban traffic and short jaunts in between.
Odometer - 1,491 km
Kilometres this month - NA
Displayed Average - 16.2 kmpl
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi