Sub 4m SUV segment is getting ready for multiple new CNG variant launches later this year
With petrol prices soaring high, CNG and EV are gaining more traction. This is reflected in sales figures too. Seeing a response like this, manufacturers are coming up with more options than ever before.
Kia Sonet CNG Spotted
Since EVs are associated with high up-front costs, CNG is coming up as a very tempting alternative. Kia is planning to jump on this bandwagon. Kia is actively pursuing CNG tech. Spy shots of Carens CNG, Seltos CNG as well as Sonet CNG have already been spied on in the past.
Of the three, it seems like Kia is going to launch Sonet CNG first. Latest Sonet CNG mule was spotted testing in Pune, wearing a sticker reading “On Test By ARAI”. The prototype is not wearing any camouflage, confirming that CNG update will be coming for existing variants. It is safe to say that a Sonet facelift launch is still in the distant future.
The emission testing equipment is housed in Sonet’s boot. Since parts of the equipment are sticking out, the boot is partially open and is strapped in place to prevent it from lifting off, posing hazards to surroundings. The model in testing is the X-Line variant and CNG tech is likely being tested with the 1.0L turbo petrol offering.
Rivals & Pricing
As far as sub 4m SUVs with CNG are concerned, there aren’t any. But soon there will be a few. Maruti showcased CNG Brezza at Auto Expo 2023, while Nexon CNG has been spied on test. It remains to be seen which of these 3 sub 4m SUVs manage to get the CNG variant to the market first.
With CNG, we can expect a price hike of around Rs. 1 lakh (ex-sh) over the petrol variant. It is yet to be seen if Kia will implement a single-cylinder system or a much superior and convenient twin-cylinder CNG system showcased by Tata Motors.
Currently, Kia offers X-Line trim only with a 1.0L turbocharged engine and a 1.5L turbo diesel engine. The former makes 118 bhp of power and 172 Nm of torque, while the latter makes 113 bhp of power and 250 Nm of torque. Just like with Hyundai’s Venue N Line, Kia’s Sonet X-Line doesn’t get a manual transmission.
A sole 7-speed DCT is offered with 1.0L petrol and a 6-speed torque converter is offered with 1.5L diesel Sonet X-Line. It is a slightly sportier version of regular Sonet and features stylised elements specific to it. As of now, Kia doesn’t offer any CNG variants in any of their vehicles, let alone top-spec X-Line. In effect, Kia Sonet CNG will be the company’s maiden CNG vehicle.