Kia actually made a mark within the mid-size SUV area with the Seltos, and now, with its compact SUV the Sonet, it’s searching for one other mega hit. Just like the Seltos, the Sonet is an all-new mannequin for Kia that made its world debut proper right here in India and can later be offered 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. In contrast to 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 widespread. The exteriors and interiors bear no similarity, and each additionally really feel a bit totally different to drive, due to refined adjustments to the tuning of the engine and suspension.
The Sonet might share its underpinnings with the Venue, nevertheless it’s very totally different to take a look at.
There are three engines (4 should you depend two totally different energy outputs for the diesel) and 5 gearboxes on provide (sure, that many!) and they’re supplied in 5 combos.An 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol mated to a 5-speed handbook, a 120hp, 1.0-litre turbo petrol mated to a 7-speed DCT auto or a 6-speed iMT (clutchless handbook), and a 1.5-litre diesel that places out 100hp when coupled to a 6-speed handbook.
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 section and the one such choices are these with lowly AMT gearboxes. Even the Sonet’s cousin, the Hyundai Venue, solely provides a handbook with its 1.5-litre diesel. However what the Sonet doesn’t get is a handbook possibility with the 1.Zero turbo-petrol, and that might be a miss for purists. For this take a look at 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?
Curiously, the diesel is identical powertrain that does obligation within the Seltos, placing out an similar 115hp and 250Nm. The diesel handbook 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.
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 handbook mode.
What’s good is that the auto ‘field is basically 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 achieve this easily; put your foot all the way down to overtake visitors and the gearbox will drop simply the suitable variety of cogs to offer you adequate grunt, and, as anticipated of a torque convertor unit, the ability is available in good and easy.
Clean 6-speed torque convertor computerized gels effectively with the 115hp diesel engine.
Sport mode, in fact, does usher in 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’ll 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 provides it with a handbook, DCT or iMT, Kia solely provides 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 may hardly really feel the standard thrum of a three-pot motor. Refinement can also be excellent and it’s solely whenever 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 operate by way of the gear lever, so fans can interact with the gearbox and this feisty engine.
The 120hp, three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo-petrol is kind of refined.
At gradual speeds, nonetheless, you may journey up the DCT, which isn’t pretty much as good as VW’s DSG – the benchmark for mass-volume twin-clutch transmissions (which, satirically, VW discontinued in its mass-market vehicles). Like in most dual-clutch gearboxes, whenever you mash your foot down, there’s a momentary hesitation adopted by a burst of energy. Additionally, whenever 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.
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 provides you higher management over shifts, as there’s no software program and automatic controls to second guess you. So, in concept, you may extract the 1.Zero turbo’s most efficiency. Nevertheless, the iMT gearbox doesn’t wish to be hurried, and should 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, then you definately’ll be higher off with the DCT. The iMT is sensible 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 take a look at, 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 had 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|
|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 take a look at 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 kind of clearly the higher choose.
There’s the matter of value, in fact. Diesel autos can get dear, however with the petrol utilizing pricey direct injection and dual-clutch gearbox expertise, the hole might not be all that a lot. Actually, on the entire, so good is the diesel auto, we are able to’t assist however assume Hyundai has actually thrown away a wonderful hand by not providing the Venue with the identical powertrain mixture.
How is the Kia Sonet’s trip and dealing with?
Experience high quality on the diesel and petrol are each fairly comparable, the Sonet simply soaked up large potholes with ease and the fats, 215/60 R16 tyres did job of smothering out our rain-ravaged roads. The one unfavorable bit is, over a number of sharp ruts, you are feeling a thud, and it tends to heave you upwards when cresting velocity breakers.
The trip is nice and the suspension soaks up potholes with ease.
By way of dealing with, the diesel and petrol really feel a bit totally 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 a terrific diploma of confidence at excessive speeds, which makes them good long-distance cruisers. Total grip by corners is nice, 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 gentle 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 straightforward 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 section, the Sonet additionally provides 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 take a look at.
What’s it like on the skin?
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, aside 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 model for the Venue, Kia has opted for a extra acquainted however but very placing strategy.
The styling is not radical just like the Venue’s, nevertheless it’s very placing 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 crimson accents too. The headlights are slim LED models with the signature ‘heartbeat’ DRL gentle design, they usually sit atop a really sharply lower 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 very totally different model. The doorways are totally 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 remedy on the highest and decrease edges. The alloys are additionally fairly placing and have a variety of sharp cuts, although to some they could come off as a bit excessive.
Rear bumper has fake exhausts, skid plate and diffuser.
On the rear, the built-in spoiler carriers the high-mounted cease gentle 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?
By way of inside area, it’s no shock the Sonet is much like the Venue, and which means area will not be class main. Like with the Venue, the rear seat is comparatively cramped and greatest for 2 not-too-tall passengers. The rear seat itself is kind of comfortable, with plush padding, although thigh help is a bit quick. Up entrance, it’s a unique story. The entrance seats are massive, effectively bolstered and ventilated which, in peak summer time, is an enormous plus.
Ventilated entrance seats are distinctive on this section and are fairly snug.
The place the Sonet actually scores is with cabin high quality. The selection of supplies used provides a top quality really feel that’s not simply higher than rivals (the Venue included), but additionally vehicles of a section 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 best way they modify 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 conventional needle to show velocity, however I suppose it’s been designed for the brand new ‘digital’ buyer.
Rear seatback a bit of too inclined and rear area 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 at school. It’s sharp, straightforward to function and provides a break up display screen operate, letting you run each Android Auto in addition to a number of the Sonet’s personal OS’s capabilities.
10.25-inch touchscreen is extensive sufficient to supply split-screen performance.
This brings us to the Sonet’s characteristic record. With the quantity on provide, it’s clear the Korean carmaker is aiming to have essentially the most in depth record. There are all the anticipated bits, like auto local weather management, a sunroof and wi-fi cellphone 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 removes micro organism and viruses with UVC gentle and a HEPA filter – simply what the physician ordered in these COVID occasions.
The in-cabin air filtration system has a rear show too, identical to the Seltos.
One other spectacular characteristic is the ‘Hi there Kia’ voice command that permits you to merely discuss to the automobile to set issues like AC temperature and decrease the home windows, which is kind of useful at toll plazas. As with most voice assistants nowadays, you don’t need to be taught a particular command, because the system recognises a number of conversational phrases. Kia’s UVO connectivity can also be current, with performance supplied by way of smartphone or smartwatch too. By way of 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.
Buttons fall simply handy; toggles and presses have a top quality really feel to them.
Do you have to 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 models to 1,00,000, and that too within the midst of a pandemic! So is the corporate’s religion well-placed?
Other than the not-so-spacious again seat, it’s arduous to fault the Sonet. It’s fantastically styled with good proportions and plenty of placing particulars, the interiors are very effectively appointed, completed to a excessive order and full of options, lots of that are first at school. It’s additionally easy and really gratifying to drive, and the diesel auto overshadows the turbo-petrol in nearly each manner; it’s completely good. There are additionally different powertrain choices to select from, relying in your finances.
Anticipate a Rs 6.5 to 11.9 lakh (ex-showroom) price ticket for the Kia Sonet.
In fact, the pricing is a key issue within the Sonet’s final success, however after what we’ve seen and pushed, there’s little doubt that Kia has one other winner on its palms.
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