What is it?
The compact sub-four-metre SUV segment has been on an upward trend over the last few years. Every major budget car manufacturer has at least one vehicle in the competition and the latest to enter is Kia with this car, the Sonet. It was showcased at 2020 Auto Expo in concept form and the car that you see in the photos is the production-spec model that will be launched in India later this year.
How is it on the outside?
The concept car that was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo managed to grab quite a few eyeballs and this production-spec version has managed to stay true to the concept car. The face is dominated by Kia’s signature Tiger Nose grille while the LED headlamp assembly gets a rather nice looking DRL with eyebrow inserts. In profile, the SUV stance is visible through the chunky wheel arches and the black cladding that runs from end-to-end. Also visible, is the extremely thick C-pillar with a black insert just above the tail lamps.
The rear is bulky with the flared wheel arches and a chunky bumper giving the car a strong stance. The tail lamps sit as one large piece while the faux bash plate and dual exhaust tips lend some class to the overall design. This car in the photos has been trimmed out in the GT-line package which adds things like red inserts in the grille and wheels as well as GT badges in the front and rear.
How is it on the inside and what’s on the feature list?
Step inside and you can see that this GT line trim that we have examined gets an all-black cabin with red stitching in the seats, gear lever and steering wheel.
The overall layout on the dashboard is one that’s oriented towards the driver making the person sitting behind wheel feel that much more in tune with the driving experience. The visibility is great all around thanks to the large glass area with Kia even having cut out small view holes on the C-pillar to eliminate a blind spot that would be present due to the thickness of the pillars themselves.
The quality of plastics used is on par with the Hyundai Venue (the Sonet’s sister car) and surprisingly first impressions point to the Sonet having more room at the rear as compared to the Venue. However, we will be able to give you a more comprehensive idea of space all around once we have driven the car and spent more time with it.
The fancy contrast colours are complemented by a comprehensive feature list that includes the likes of climate control, 10.25-inch display for the touchscreen infotainment system, ventilated seats, air purifier, fully digital instrument cluster, fast-charging USB ports, ambient lighting, wireless charger with cooling function and a Bose seven-speaker sound system.
The safety list pretty strong too with this top-spec model getting six airbags, TPMS, ABS with EBD, vehicle stability management, front and rear parking sensors with a camera as well as projector fog lamps.
What’s under the hood?
The Sonet will be offered with three sets of engines - a BS6 compliant 1.2-litre petro, 1.0-litre GDi turbo petrol and a BS6 compliant 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel (powering the car in the photos). The GDi unit produces 118bhp/172Nm and can be had with a six-speed manual, a six-speed iMT or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The 1.2-litre petrol is good for 82bhp/114Nm and is offered with a five-speed manual. Kia’s 1.5-litre diesel (which it shares with Hyundai) produces 99bhp/240Nm and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic.
Where does it fit in?
What’s the expected pricing?
We expect Kia to price the Sonet compact SUV in the range of Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh for this top-of-the-line GT line diesel AT that has been featured in the story and photos.
Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi