Unveiled at 2020 Auto Expo, Kia Sonet has made its global debut today
Just like several other cars, Sonet launch was delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown. Now that it’s here, Sonet has its task cut out. Entering the sub 4-meter SUV space can be a challenge, as this segment already has several popular products such as Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport and Mahindra XUV300. Sonet’s primary target would be Brezza that has remained a bestseller since several years.
Kia appears confident, as it already has two successful products in its portfolio – Seltos and Carnival. It’s apparent that Kia understands the market and clearly knows what customers want. To ensure its winning streak in the Indian market, Kia has equipped Sonet with a range of best-in-class and best-in-segment features. It’s an exhaustive list and coupled with competitive pricing, Sonet comes across as an irresistible compact SUV.
Exteriors and interiors
Sonet takes its design cues from its siblings Venue and Seltos. It utilizes the same platform as that of Venue. Looks are a highly valued commodity in this segment and Kia has done well by creating a unique profile for Sonet.
Some of the key features include LED headlights and LED DRLs, sleek blacked-out front grille, prominent front bumper, front and rear skid plates, blacked-out pillars, top mounted brake lights, bumper reflectors and edgy LED tail lamps. The base variant is equipped with standard wheels whereas top spec variants have 16-inch alloy wheels. The production variant seems to have been toned down, as compared to the one showcased at 2020 Auto Expo.
Sonet interiors appear to be inspired from Seltos, but overall theme looks quite unique and sporty. There’s liberal use of silver accents and glossy black finish on the dashboard, steering wheel and doors. Interiors are spacious and offer a range of creature comforts.
Some of the key features include 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sober centre console, vertically mounted front AC vents, multi-function steering wheel, automatic climate control, sunroof, ambient lighting, and wireless charging system.
Sonet engine options
Sonet has the same engine options as that of Hyundai Venue. There’s a 1.2 litre petrol unit that makes 83 ps of max power and 114 Nm of max torque. It is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The 1.5 litre diesel delivers 100 ps / 240 Nm and comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The 1.0 litre turbo petrol unit makes 120 ps / 172 Nm. Transmission options include 6-speed manual, iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission), and 7-speed DCT.
iMT was recently launched in India with Venue. An industry-first feature, iMT is essentially a manual transmission without a clutch. It is designed to simplify the task of changing gears. In iMT system, electronic clutch actuation is used to perform the function of the clutch.
UVO connectivity suite
Just like Seltos, Kia Sonet is also equipped with UVO connectivity suite. It is the second car in its class that offers a comprehensive range of internet connected smart features across safety & security, vehicle management, convenience, remote control, and navigation. As may be recalled, Hyundai was the first auto company to introduce a dedicated connectivity suite with Venue in the Indian market. On Venue and other Hyundai cars, the connectivity suite is called Blue Link.
Sonet’s UVO tech will allow users to access features such as stolen vehicle tracing, stolen vehicle notification, stolen vehicle immobilization, geofence alert, speed alert, remote AC control, remote door lock / unlock, fuel level information, call centre with concierge services, live car tracking, find my car, maintenance alerts and vehicle health report. Several of these functions can be accessed via voice commands.
With the exception of Venue, no other compact SUV offers dedicated connectivity suite. This will give Sonet an upper hand against other rivals in this space. Sonet may be preferred by customers looking for the connected car experience. Connectivity features are greatly in demand, which is why several other carmakers such as MG, Nissan, and Honda have launched their own versions in the Indian market.
Sonet safety features
Sonet offers a range of security features such as six airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control (ESC), vehicle stability management (VSM), hill assist control (HAC), projector fog lamps, auto headlamps with escort function, cornering lamp, parking assist (reverse parking sensors + rear camera with dynamic guidelines), central locking, keyless entry, immobilizer and burglar alarm.
Sonet is also equipped with tyre pressure monitoring system. The SUV’s body is built using advanced high strength steel (AHSS) and high strength steel (HSS), which ensure effective protection in case of a collision.
Kia Sonet will be manufactured at the company’s production facility in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh. The plant caters to both domestic sales and exports. If bookings for Sonet are just as good as that of Seltos, the company will have to increase production capacity in due course. Made in India Seltos is exported to several countries and the same game plan will be used for Sonet.