Kia Sonet compact SUV revealed with a 10.25-inch touchscreen
Riding on the Seltos SUV ‘s success, Kia India heads into the compact SUV segment with its third offering, the Sonet. The company is quite bullish about the success of the Sonet and has revised its sales target from 70,000 units in the first year to 1,00,000 upwards. Having looked at the Kia Sonet in-depth, here’s how we feel it measures up.
While this is the world premiere, and our first thorough peeks at the Kia Sonet design spec, we still had a really clear sense of what to do from the outside. This year Kia unveiled what she called a concept at the Auto Expo.
Though in keeping with the theme these days, instead of introducing a crazy, ‘first sketch’-like the model, Kia unveiled a near-production-ready edition, so even the uninitiated might realize there was nothing that wouldn’t make it through service. And that’s been fairly much the case – the production edition swaps the recessed handles of the design for standard pull-type handles, it has wider, more rounded exterior mirrors, and it has a few variations in trim and deco. The rest is comparatively the same.
The Kia signature Tiger Nose grille is at the front, with a lower edge knurled and chrome-finished, and multi-segmented 3D inserts, with red highlights on the GT Line variant. The grille is accompanied by sleek LED headlamps, accentuated by DRLs of trademark ‘heartbeat.’ In what were intakes on the model, the sharply cut bumper holds fog lights and the wide air intake region below has a hexagonal screen and an offensive silver-finished garnish. The bonnet is topping off the front, with a muscular-looking strength bulge.
Unlike the top, the sides are simpler, with more curvy doors that flourish without any sharp style. Another curious feature preserved from the design is the black-out treatment added to the top and bottom edges of the C pillar, and the quarter-glass inset that makes the pillar appear good and swept-back sharply. The 16-inch alloys are likewise quite close to those of the design.
The LED tail-lamps also display the trademark ‘heartbeat’ at the back, which is attached by a reflector bar, giving them a seamless, single-element appearance. The bumper has a silver-finish fake skid plate that fake twin exhaust trims.
Overall, visually the Kia Sonet has a lot to do with it. Although it’s based on the Hyundai Venue, it borrows almost none of the exterior frames, not even the doors. The Kia Sonet, overall, has a less-radical feel, but it’s also really impressive, with tons of angles, curves, and styling pieces, and the positive news for Kia is that they all perform, instead of coming across as very garish and mismatched.
The siblings also share very little on the inside-the dashboard, steering wheel, door pads, and seats have their unique style. The plastic quality is strong, particularly at the edges; the lower half has some rough bits throughout, but the perceived nature of the interior is top-notch overall.
Kia hasn’t shared detailed specs or features, but it looks like following Hyundai has had the advantage. Kia matched the Venue on facilities and then included a couple more such as a 7-speaker Bose sound system and ventilated front seats for driver and front passenger, for example.
The highlight, however, is the massive, 10.25-inch touchscreen that has the usual set of features, and also comes with built-in navigation, Kia’s Uvo connectivity suite, and controls a la the Seltos for the ‘sound mood lights,’ and the company’s perfumed air purifier that provides virus protection.
Certain notable technologies include auto climate control, a sunroof, auto headlamps, a tire-pressure display, cooling wireless phone charging, front and rear traffic sensors and protective devices such as 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, Hill Assist Control (HAC), Vehicle Stability Monitoring (VSM), and brake assist.
As for interior comfort, at this stage we can’t tell you much; the seats seem fairly good enough, but after a drive, we will reserve final judgment. As expected, the interior space is similar to the Venue, meaning it’s not very large, especially at the rear; it certainly isn’t in the XUV300 league for example. Nonetheless, the boot is fairly tall and will be about the 350-liter mark of the Venue.
With the instrument panel, screen, and center console all gently wrapping around you, sitting behind the wheel feels pretty neat. The flat-bottom steering wheel in your hands feels nice and chunky and the controls have a feeling of quality too. Like the Venue, which gets sleek twin dials, the Sonet comes with a digital readout of rpm, accompanied by a tiny multi-info panel. Fortunately, though, there’s a small, analog rev needle going the right way around-clockwise.
In the automatic edition, the Sonet also provides drive modes and traction settings, but the specifics of this are yet to be released. Remote engine start and AC pre-cooling is one thing not restricted to the automatics; it can be provided by both manual and automatic vehicles.
Speaking of which, while Kia has not yet confirmed tech specs or powertrain options, the company has said the Sonet will offer a diesel-auto powertrain, unlike the Venue. And if you think the four gearboxes on the Site will ruin you for convenience, the Kia Sonet would go even further; it’s likely to have as many as five options – a five-speed manual, a six-speed manual, a clutchless manual (or iMT), a torque-converter auto and a dual-clutch engine. The engine options will be the same as in the Venue, with 1.2 gas, 1.0 turbo-petrol direct injection, and 1.5 turbo-diesel both doing duties under the Sonet roof.
Therefore, the Kia Sonet looks well equipped for combat in the hot compact SUV room, as things stand. Looking at it is a smasher, it has loads of gear and it can also offer a large range of powertrain choices. We ‘re going to have to see how it works, and how many Kia can inquire. Given the success of the brand so far, pricing might be a bit ambitious, but then again, with so much competition and too much sibling rivalry, Kia probably won’t leave any loose ends, so expect a competitive price and a tight battle ahead.