What’s it?

Kia actually made a mark within the mid-size SUV house with the Seltos, and now, with its compact SUV the Sonet, it’s in search of one other mega hit. Just like the Seltos, the Sonet is an all-new mannequin for Kia that made its international debut proper right here in India and can later be bought in different markets.

It shares a platform with the Hyundai Venue, and although you’d count on the Sonet to really feel the identical from behind the wheel, the 2 Korean companies take a really divergent strategy with their platform sharing. Not like the badge-engineered or mild-facelift alterations we’ve seen others go for, Hyundai and Kia have made positive their shared merchandise have little in frequent. The exteriors and interiors bear no similarity, and each additionally really feel a bit completely different to drive, due to refined adjustments to the tuning of the engine and suspension.

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The Sonet might share its underpinnings with the Venue, nevertheless it’s very completely different to take a look at.

There are three engines (4 in the event you rely two completely different energy outputs for the diesel) and 5 gearboxes on provide (sure, that many!) and they’re provided in 5 mixtures.An 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol mated to a 5-speed guide, a 120hp, 1.0-litre turbo petrol mated to a 7-speed DCT auto or a 6-speed iMT (clutchless guide), and a 1.5-litre diesel that places out 100hp when coupled to a 6-speed guide.

The shock is the 1.5 diesel with a 6-speed torque-converter auto that has its energy bumped as much as 115hp. It’s additionally a shock as a result of a diesel auto is uncommon within the compact SUV phase and the one such choices are these with lowly AMT gearboxes. Even the Sonet’s cousin, the Hyundai Venue, solely affords a guide with its 1.5-litre diesel. However what the Sonet doesn’t get is a guide choice with the 1.Zero turbo-petrol, and that could possibly be a miss for purists. For this check drive, we had the prospect to evaluate three powertrain choices – the 1.Zero turbo-petrol DCT and iMT, and the 1.5 diesel auto.

What’s the Kia Sonet diesel auto like?

Apparently, the diesel is similar powertrain that does obligation within the Seltos, placing out an an identical 115hp and 250Nm. The diesel guide will get the fixed-geometry-turbo engine (as an alternative of the variable-geometry unit on the auto) and places out a decrease 100hp and 240Nm of torque.

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The Sonet diesel-AT’s engine makes 15hp and 10Nm greater than the diesel-MT’s unit.

The 115hp engine is an absolute gem. Refinement is high notch, and noise and vibrations are muted. At excessive revs it does get a bit gruff, however by no means actually sounds harsh or thrashy. Efficiency, too, is superb, with little or no turbo lag, and when you get previous the two,000rpm mark, there’s a step up in energy supply. From then on, you get a satisfyingly seamless surge of energy as much as 4,200rpm, at which level the gearbox will upshift even in guide mode.

What’s good is that the auto ‘field is absolutely very effectively matched to the broad torque unfold of the diesel powerplant, and within the Regular drive mode, it delivers a really intuitive drive expertise. It seldom feels prefer it’s within the unsuitable gear and the automobile does precisely what your proper foot tells it to. Attempt to change tempo and it’ll accomplish that easily; put your foot all the way down to overtake visitors and the gearbox will drop simply the fitting variety of cogs to offer you adequate grunt, and, as anticipated of a torque convertor unit, the ability is available in good and clean.

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Clean 6-speed torque convertor automated gels effectively with the 115hp diesel engine.

Sport mode, in fact, does herald a extra aggressive really feel, with the ’field holding on to the decrease ratios a bit longer. However so useable and intuitive is the Regular mode that for on a regular basis driving and even some fast dashes, it can show to be sufficient for many. There’s additionally an Eco mode, and right here too it impresses, because it seems to be fairly useable and doesn’t throttle the engine within the curiosity of effectivity.

How concerning the Kia Sonet turbo-petrol?

The 1.0-litre turbo-petrol is shared with the Venue, and whereas Hyundai affords it with a guide, DCT or iMT, Kia solely affords the Sonet with the DCT and iMT. The engine places out the identical 120hp and 172Nm because the Venue and the all-aluminium unit is properly balanced, so you possibly can hardly really feel the standard thrum of a three-pot motor. Refinement can also be excellent and it’s solely once you rev it to the redline that it will get a bit vocal. The punchy midrange and the benefit with which it builds energy makes it a enjoyable drive, and whereas there are not any paddle shifters such as you get within the Venue, there’s a sequential perform through the gear lever, so fanatics can have interaction with the gearbox and this feisty engine.

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The 120hp, three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo-petrol is sort of refined.

At gradual speeds, nevertheless, you possibly can journey up the DCT, which isn’t pretty much as good as VW’s DSG – the benchmark for mass-volume twin-clutch transmissions (which, paradoxically, VW discontinued in its mass-market vehicles). Like in most dual-clutch gearboxes, once you mash your foot down, there’s a momentary hesitation adopted by a burst of energy. Additionally, once you’re crawling in visitors, the transmission feels a bit snatchy. All this serves to focus on how a lot smoother the diesel’s torque-converter transmission is. 

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For a sportier drive expertise, go for the dual-clutch auto (above) over the iMT.

The iMT can also be one thing we acquired an opportunity to expertise and, in comparison with the DCT, it affords you higher management over shifts, as there’s no software program and automatic controls to second guess you. So, in idea, you possibly can extract the 1.Zero turbo’s most efficiency. Nevertheless, the iMT gearbox doesn’t wish to be hurried, and in the event you stomp down on the throttle after a fast shift, the automobile bogs down. This additionally confirmed up in our testing, the place the iMT was markedly slower than the DCT. If its efficiency you’re after, you then’ll be higher off with the DCT. The iMT is smart solely if you wish to have full management over your shifts however with out the trouble of a clutch.

What’s the Kia Sonet’s efficiency like?

The diesel auto was the quickest. In a fast check, it did the sprint to 100kph in simply 11.48sec in comparison with the petrol DCT’s 12.25sec and 13.37sec for the iMT. The diesel was additionally forward within the roll-on acceleration runs, registering 8.09sec from 40-100kph and 6.29sec from 20-80kph. The petrol DCT posted a slower 9.10sec and seven.48sec for a similar 40-100kph and 20-80kph runs; being autos, in fact, each occasions have been the results of a pointy kick-down on the accelerator in full auto driving. The iMT posted 13.55secfor 40-100kph in fourth gear and 11.19sec for 20-80kph in third gear.

Kia Sonet efficiency (as examined)*
Sonet 1.Zero Turbo iMT Sonet 1.Zero Turbo DCT Sonet 1.5 Diesel AT
0-20kph 1.48s 1.56s 1.17s
0-40kph 3.27s 3.40s 2.51s
0-60kph 6.12s 5.78s 4.70s
0-80kph 9.38s 8.90s 7.78s
0-100kph 13.37s 12.25s 11.48s
0-120kph 19.87s 17.28s 15.76s
20-80kph 11.19s (in third gear) 7.48s (in kickdown) 6.29s (in kickdown)
40-100kph 13.55s (in 4th gear) 9.10s (in kickdown) 8.09s (in kickdown)

*Efficiency figures to not Autocar India check requirements


So it’s the diesel auto powertrain that delivers a smoother drive expertise in addition to higher efficiency; who would have thought? Add to this a barely higher claimed effectivity – 19kpl for the diesel, 18.3kpl for the petrol DCT and 18.2kpl for the iMT – and the diesel is sort of clearly the higher choose.

There’s the matter of value, in fact. Diesel autos can get dear, however with the petrol utilizing expensive direct injection and dual-clutch gearbox know-how, the hole is probably not all that a lot. In truth, on the entire, so good is the diesel auto, we will’t assist however suppose Hyundai has actually thrown away a wonderful hand by not providing the Venue with the identical powertrain mixture.

How is the Kia Sonet’s experience and dealing with?

Journey high quality on the diesel and petrol are each fairly comparable, the Sonet simply soaked up huge potholes with ease and the fats, 215/60 R16 tyres did a great job of smothering out our rain-ravaged roads. The one unfavourable bit is, over a couple of sharp ruts, you’re feeling a thud, and it tends to heave you upwards when cresting pace breakers.

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The experience is sweet and the suspension soaks up potholes with ease.

When it comes to dealing with, the diesel and petrol really feel a bit completely different. The diesel has a barely heavier steering and is a little more nostril heavy. The petrol felt nicer to steer and become corners with a bit extra agility. Each vehicles really feel properly planted and provide an incredible diploma of confidence at excessive speeds, which makes them good long-distance cruisers. Total grip via corners is sweet, and physique roll is effectively contained. The steering really feel on each is fairly comparable – there isn’t a lot suggestions, however on the plus facet, it’s mild sufficient within the metropolis and has sufficient weight at larger speeds. The sunshine controls, first rate all-round visibility, tight turning circle and compact dimensions make the Sonet very urban-friendly and simple to fit into tight parking spots.

The drive modes do alter the steering really feel, although the affect is minimal and solely felt in Sport mode, with the steering firming up a bit. Distinctive to the phase, the Sonet additionally affords traction modes (Snow, Mud and Sand). We couldn’t get spherical to testing these, however will definitely undergo them intimately in our full-blown highway check.

What’s it like on the surface?

We’ve already talked concerning the design and styling in our first look, however to reiterate, the Sonet does look very very similar to the idea showcased on the Auto Expo, apart from bits just like the flush door handles and a few trim bits that haven’t made it to manufacturing. And whereas Hyundai has gone with a extra radical fashion for the Venue, Kia has opted for a extra acquainted however but very hanging strategy.

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The styling is not radical just like the Venue’s, nevertheless it’s very hanging and will get observed.

The entrance, in fact, carries the signature Kia ‘Tiger Nostril’ grille, which has a pleasant knurled and chrome-finished decrease edge, and on the GT Line, there are some neat purple accents too. The headlights are slim LED items with the signature ‘heartbeat’ DRL mild design, and so they sit atop a really sharply reduce bumper that homes the fog lights and a fake skid plate. Topping off the entrance, the bonnet has a pleasant and refined energy bulge.

The facet is the place you’d count on there to be some similarity to the Venue, however right here too Kia has gone with a totally completely different fashion. The doorways are completely different with a extra rounded profile, and defining the Sonet’s silhouette is a C-pillar that seems swept again, due to the inset quarter glass and the black-out therapy on the highest and decrease edges. The alloys are additionally fairly hanging and have a whole lot of sharp cuts, although to some they could come off as a bit excessive.

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Rear bumper has fake exhausts, skid plate and diffuser.

On the rear, the built-in spoiler carriers the high-mounted cease mild and the tail-lights even have the ‘coronary heart beat’ DRL signature, which extends neatly right into a reflector unit stretching proper throughout the bootlid. A fake skid plate with an built-in fake diffuser and dummy exhausts spherical off the rear finish.

What’s the Kia Sonet’s inside like?

When it comes to inside house, it’s no shock the Sonet is much like the Venue, and which means house is just not class main. Like with the Venue, the rear seat is comparatively cramped and finest for 2 not-too-tall passengers. The rear seat itself is sort of cozy, with plush padding, although thigh help is a bit quick. Up entrance, it’s a distinct story. The entrance seats are massive, effectively bolstered and ventilated which, in peak summer time, is an enormous plus.

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Ventilated entrance seats are distinctive on this phase and are fairly snug.

The place the Sonet actually scores is with cabin high quality. The selection of supplies used offers a high quality really feel that’s not simply higher than rivals (the Venue included), but in addition vehicles of a phase above. The richly textured dashboard high, the chunky steering wheel with fantastically crafted buttons, and the general tactile really feel of all of the switchgear are high class. Personally, I’m not a fan of the central air-con vents’ look, however love the way in which they alter with a strong and damped really feel. I’m additionally not a fan of the digital instrument cluster and would have most well-liked a standard needle to show pace, however I suppose it’s been designed for the brand new ‘digital’ buyer.

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Rear seatback somewhat too inclined and rear house is tighter than most within the class.

Taking centre stage within the cabin is the huge touchscreen (borrowed from the Seltos), which at 10.25 inches, is the most important in school. It’s sharp, simple to function and affords a break up display perform, letting you run each Android Auto in addition to among the Sonet’s personal OS’s capabilities. 

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10.25-inch touchscreen is vast sufficient to supply split-screen performance.

This brings us to the Sonet’s feature list. With the quantity on provide, it’s clear the Korean carmaker is aiming to have probably the most in depth record. There are all the anticipated bits, like auto local weather management, a sunroof and wi-fi telephone charging. However what actually units the Sonet aside, aside from the huge touchscreen, is a brilliant-sounding 7-speaker Bose audio system, a fragrance dispenser, and an air air purifier that Kia says eliminates micro organism and viruses with UVC mild and a HEPA filter – simply what the physician ordered in these COVID occasions.

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The in-cabin air filtration system has a rear show too, similar to the Seltos.

One other spectacular function is the ‘Howdy Kia’ voice command that permits you to merely speak to the automobile to set issues like AC temperature and decrease the home windows, which is sort of useful at toll plazas. As with most voice assistants as of late, you don’t should study a particular command, because the system recognises a couple of conversational phrases. Kia’s UVO connectivity can also be current, with performance provided through smartphone or smartwatch too. When it comes to security, the Sonet is effectively kitted out, providing six airbags, ABS and ESC, Hill begin Help Management, entrance and rear parking sensors and emergency braking warning.  

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Buttons fall simply handy; toggles and presses have a high quality really feel to them.

Must you purchase a Kia Sonet?

Seldom does a producer communicate of focused gross sales volumes, rarer nonetheless for them to take action a few months earlier than the mannequin’s precise launch. However such is the arrogance Kia has in its newest product, it has revised the Sonet’s gross sales goal upwards from 70,000 items to 1,00,000, and that too within the midst of a pandemic! So is the corporate’s religion well-placed?

Except for the not-so-spacious again seat, it’s arduous to fault the Sonet. It’s fantastically styled with good proportions and many hanging particulars, the interiors are very effectively appointed, completed to a excessive order and full of options, lots of that are first in school. It’s additionally easy and really pleasurable to drive, and the diesel auto overshadows the turbo-petrol in virtually each approach; it’s completely good. There are additionally different powertrain choices to select from, relying in your finances.

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Anticipate a Rs 6.5 to 11.9 lakh (ex-showroom) price ticket for the Kia Sonet.

After all, the pricing is a key issue within the Sonet’s final success, however after what we’ve seen and pushed, there’s little question that Kia has one other winner on its fingers.

Additionally see:

Kia Sonet video review

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First Kia Sonet customer cars produced at Anantapur plant

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