Home / Features / New Kia Sonet Compact SUV Global Debut in India

 

The made-in-India Kia Sonet has made its global debut right here in India and will take on the likes of Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Venue.

Kia Sonet global premier in India

After stealing the limelight at the Auto Expo 2020 with the Kia Sonet SUV concept, Kia Motors India has pulled the wraps off the production-ready Kia Sonet compact SUV. The Kia Sonet is the second car from the manufacturer to make its global premiere in India and is the brand’s third car model in India after the Seltos mid-size SUV and the Carnival premium MPV. During the unveiling even, Kookhyun Shim, MD & CEO, Kia Motors India stressed on the point that the Kia Sonet is being produced right here in India for the world. This means that the SUV will be made in India and exported to Kia’s international markets too.

Kia Sonet Design
The Kia Sonet will be the Korean car brand’s smallest SUV, measuring less than four metres in length. This qualifies the compact SUV to claim the Excise Tax benefits that the government of India offers to small cars (sub-four-metre). This will make the Sonet the most affordable Kia offering in India yet.

The Kia Sonet is based on the proven platform which is used on the Hyundai Venue. But the Kia engineers have done a remarkable job of differentiating it from Hyundai’s compact SUV. You’ll agree that the Sonet looks a lot sportier and more robust with its boxy design. Speaking about the styling of the Kia Sonet, Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design said that a team of designers visited India and some of the inspiration can be seen on the production-ready car.

For instance, the front grille is said to be inspired by traditional Indian Chand Baori step-wells. In fact, the entire silhouette of the new Kia Sonet’s bold design takes a cue from baby elephants – compact, powerful and round. The headlamps and DLRs create a tiger eye-line-like visuals while the signature front grille, as in most Kia models, is inspired by a tiger nose. We are also impressed with the design treatment on the rear of the car, especially the LED strip that connects the tail-lamps. The treatment of the C-pillar along with the dual-tone roof and silver roof-rails create an aggressive stance.

Class-Leading Feature
Kia Motors India have been outdoing competition by introducing best-in-class features. They did it when they first launched the Seltos and are set to repeat the phenomenon with the new Kia Sonet compact SUV. This includes a digital cluster for the driver, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system (borrowed from the Kia Seltos), which is the largest in the segment. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be part of the parcel, along with wireless phone charging dock, rear camera and parking sensors.

The Kia Sonet also brings premium features like ventilated seats and even a Bose audio system to the sub-four-meter SUV segment. These include LED sound mood lighting, remote engine start via UVO Connect and Smart Key, over-the-air (OTA) map updates, multi-drive and traction modes and even wireless smartphone charger with cooling function. Another highlight is the smart air-purifier which gets a special Virus Protect system, to ensure the purest air quality of the occupants. These fancy features will be the key attraction for younger car buyers.

Kia Sonet SUV cabin design
Safety Feature
Apart from the promise of a strong chassis foundation, the Kia Sonet also gets six airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) and BA (brake assist). For added convenience and safety of pedestrians and parked cars the Kia sports front and rear parking sensors. Other useful safety features include automatic headlamps, projector fog lamps, tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in Highline variant and ISOFIX child-seat anchoring points.

Engine Options
Manohar Bhat, Head Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India revealed that the Kia Sonet will come with three engine options. The two petrol engines will be 1.2-litre four-cylinder and a sporty 1.0-litre turbo-petrol; while diesel lovers get a 1.5-litre CRDi mill. There are a whole bunch of gearbox options to choose from including a five-speed manual for the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol, while the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and 1.5-litre diesel will sport a six-speed manual and, for the first time in the segment, the oil-burner also gets a six-speed automatic option. The much-talked-about 1.0-litre turbo-petrol will be offered with three transmission options – a manual ‘box, dual-clutch auto or a convenient clutchless manual option (iMT).
(Also Read: Yaris-based Toyota Compact SUV Incoming)
Kia Sonet engine specs in India

New Transmission Option
During the unveiling at the Auto Expo 2020, Kia Motors India announced that they will also introduce iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) with auto rev-matching for smooth gear shifts, a first-of-its-kind in a production car in India. This new gearbox will provide hassle-free driving with clutch-less gear shifts, which is a cost-effective solution which falls in between a manual gearbox and an AMT. This clever system allows the driver to shift gears manually, without using the clutch pedal. As you know, the Hyundai Venue as been launched with the iMT option recently.

Kia Sonet Price
With its stylish design, segment-first features and a range of engine and transmission options to choose from, the Kia Sonet compact SUV might ask for a slight premium for the fully-loaded variants. During the unveiling presentation Tae-Jin Park, Executive Director and Chief Sales Officer revealed that apart from the regular variants, the Kia Sonet will also be introduced in the up-market GT-Line variant for customers seeking an extra dash of sportiness and attitude. The GT-Line, as on the Kia Seltos GT, will get special red highlights on the body, wheels and even in the cabin and seats, to make it more appealing. The company might introduce a strip-down version too, in a bid to achieve an attractive base price to woo customers into Kia Motors India showrooms. We expect the price of the Kia Sonet to range between Rs 7 lakh to close to Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom).

Competition
With an attractive packaging, the Kia Sonet will aim for the top slot of the compact SUV segment. The main rivals in this class of cars are the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Venue, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Mahindra XUV300 and Tata Nexon. The smallest car in the Kia Motors India line-up is expected to be launched with pricing and other details in the coming weeks, but you can go ahead and book one online or at any of the Kia Motors India showrooms.
(Also Read: 2020 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Review)

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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