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    2024 Kia Sonet X-Line Turbo DCT First drive review

    Authors Image

    Ninad Ambre

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    Kia Sonet Right Front Three Quarter
    Kia Sonet Right Front Three Quarter
    Kia Sonet Right Front Three Quarter
    Kia Sonet Right Side View
    Kia Sonet Right Side View
    Kia Sonet Right Rear Three Quarter
    Kia Sonet Right Rear Three Quarter
    Kia Sonet Rear View

    Why would I buy it?

    • High-end features
    • Strong performance
    • Improved safety

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Limited manual option
    • Long waiting period

    What is it?

    Overall Score

    7.5 / 10

    The 2024 Kia Sonet is a facelift and not a generation change. This mid-life refresh comprising cosmetic changes and new features is crucial to keep this compact SUV abreast with competition, especially since it was first launched in 2020. But will this help in bringing in more sales? We find out.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    The refreshed Sonet continues to be offered in Tech Line, GT Line, and X-Line variants. This is further split into HTE, HTK, HTK+, HTX, HTX+, GTX, and X-Line. There are 11 exterior colour options with two dual-tone schemes. The matte paint looks spectacular and is great for buyers wanting a unique appeal in this crowded segment. Also, irrespective of the variant one chooses, the cosmetic updates are refreshing and similar throughout. The most prominent ones include a redesigned front tiger-nose grille, star-map design LED headlamps, reworked front bumper with new LED fog lamps, and star-map taillamps connected by an LED light bar at the rear. The SUV still looks brute and has a compact footprint.

    Front View

    How’s the 2024 Sonet on the inside?

    7.5 / 10

    Front Row Seats

    The cabin layout, seating ergonomics, and space inside remain more or less unchanged. This means good overall visibility, nice driving position, and sufficient room. It still is tight for six-foot-tall individuals though, especially in the second row. However, this time the carmaker has increased knee-room by scooping out front seats by 35mm as against the previous 5mm. Besides, thigh support has increased by 21mm. Both these changes make the second-row roomier and more comfortable. That said, three individuals here will still feel cramped with the same limited shoulder room.

    Dashboard

    In terms of quality of materials though, there's no compromise with the new leatherette upholstery that looks and feels upmarket. And it’s not just for this Sage Green draping but other variants too, which we did glance at for a bit. That said, there's no addition of soft-touch materials which could have been a segment-first if introduced this time. Nevertheless, the newly added second-row backrest’s split-fold versatility is something that owners will appreciate; another small but important feedback taken by Kia and implemented.

    Front Row Seats

    Now, while the overall layout of the cabin looks similar, it comes equipped with a new digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a new air-conditioning module with a small screen. Features and equipment-wise it apes the Seltos, save for the head-up display. Then, it boasts features like a voice-controlled window function, cooled front seats, air purifier, small sunroof, rear door sunshades, and over 50 connected car features with support extended to 53 languages.

    Second Row Seats

    While accounting for the safety features, the biggest talking point is now the Level 1 ADAS that packs in forward collision warning and avoidance assist, lane-keep, departure and follow assist, high beam and blind-spot assist, and a few more. And be it any variant, six airbags, hill-start assist, traction control, and TPMS are now standard. Additionally, the higher-spec trims get cornering lamps, four-way powered driver's seat, and a 360-degree view camera that can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet app. It still misses a steering reach adjustment, auto wipers, illuminated window buttons, and a full-sized spare wheel. Else, it’s got you covered on all fronts in terms of equipment.

    Instrument Cluster

    Is the 2024 Sonet any good to drive?

    7.5 / 10

    Engine Shot

    Kia continues to offer the Sonet with the same powertrain options. So, there are many options including a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol (HTE, HTK, and HTK+ trims), 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, and a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine with other trims. A wide array of transmission options are on offer too, paired as a 1.2 petrol with a five-speed manual only; the oil-burner with a six-speed manual, six-speed iMT, or a six-speed automatic; while the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol with either a six-speed iMT or a seven-speed DCT. Here, we're sampling the latter. Also, automatics are limited to the top-spec HTX+, GTX, and X-Line trims.

    Gear Shifter/Gear Shifter Stalk

    The Smartstream G1.0 T-GDi petrol is a silent and refined engine that produces 120bhp and 172Nm of torque. It doesn't let the car jolt forward upon launch but makes good progress to get to 100kmph with seamless gearshifts. Thanks to the good throttle response and mid-range, you don't have to constantly floor it to get ahead. It can amble around with sufficient torque for everyday driving, be it in the Normal, Eco, or Sport mode.

    Right Side View

    The car makes steady progress which is good enough for city speeds and once past 2,500rpm you can feel it sprint ahead with vigour. This makes overtaking effortless, though, in the Sport mode, you can rev till its redline at 6,500rpm. Since it provides enough thrust between 3,500-4,500rpm, avoid revving so hard as it makes the engine noisy. The dual-clutch gearbox is quick to respond and the only minor delay you will face is while reversing. You have to give a little throttle input for it to move quickly. Otherwise, it's a lovely transmission and makes the drive engaging with paddle shifters. The ARAI-rated mileage is 19.2kmpl, which is impressive for a compact SUV.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    On the ride and handling front, the Sonet still gets a McPherson strut at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. It is damped well even when it is tuned on the firmer side. Also, the underlying stiffness isn't a deal-breaker. This SUV won't smother bad roads with aplomb or allow you to carry on over bumps without slowing down. So, to avoid a thud it’s better to slow down as it still takes on rough patches in its stride without any fuss. The higher ground clearance of 205mm and 16-inch wheels help further. Moreover, the right tyre pressures and good side-wall cushioning provide a comfortable ride. The body roll is in check, and the car remains stable and sure-footed. Speaking of the steering feedback, it’s precise, well-weighted, and inspires confidence while driving. The same goes with the brakes which have a good bite and Kia says the braking distance has reduced with the car equipped with all-discs around.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Should you buy the 2024 Sonet?

    7.5 / 10

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The 2024 Kia Sonet continues to be a high-riding car with all essential modern amenities, good space for a family of four, peppy performance, and smooth automatic transmission, making it a good package overall. The addition of ADAS has taken it a notch up amongst its prime competitors like the Tata Nexon, Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Mahindra XUV300, and the Hyundai Venue. Save for the lack of a turbo-manual for enthusiasts, this compact SUV ticks the right boxes for a small urban family undertaking mile-munching highway drives or the usual lifestyle commute. It is one of those cars that can make top-end small hatchback buyers move to the compact SUV segment. And then those buyers too, who aspire for a higher mid-size SUV segment like the Seltos, but find it unreachable in terms of price. After all, the Sonet continues to be like a mini Seltos with all the goodies but in a smaller package.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    Pictures by Kapil Angane

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