Sonet showcased by Kia hopes to make an indomitable mark in an extremely lucrative – and tightly contested – segment courtesy its looks, features and engine options. The car gets what Kia terms as ‘Crown Jewel’ LED head lights with LED DRLs which are integrated with side turn indicators. Other highlights here include ‘Turbo’ shaped front skid plates.
Kia Sonet sub-compact SUV finally broke cover in production form in a world premiere organised on Friday. The sub-compact SUV was showcased in concept form at Auto Expo 2020 and the production version bears several similarities with it as it hopes to lock horns against Hyundai Venue, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the same clutchless manual gearbox found in the Hyundai Venue. and Mahindra XUV300
The rear of the Sonet gets smart-looking tail lights which are connected with a reflector garnish. This lends the car a wider visual profile, able complimented with a sporty dual muffler design and diffuser fin rear skid plate.
The Kia Sonet is expected to be launched by September 2020 and we expect prices to start from $9000 – $9500
The Turbo Power
Looks and features aside, it all comes down to how a car performs on the road to claim respect among customers.
The Sonet iMT will be powered by the 120PS 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and will be offered in the GT Line trim. The Kia Sonet will come with three engine options: a 83PS 1.2-litre petrol, a 120PS 1.0-litre turbo petrol, and a 100PS 1.5-litre diesel engine. All three variants are offered with a manual transmission while the diesel and turbo-petrol engine option also comes with an automatic gearbox.
The diesel engine utilizes a proper 6-speed torque converter, unlike its rivals which come with an AMT. You can also the Sonet turbo-petrol with a clutchless manual gearbox.
Much like the Seltos, The Sonet will also be offered in both GT Line as well as Tech Line. The GT Line seeks to give the car a more sporty visual appeal – on the outside as well as in the cabin and gets red color accents on the large and imposing front grille, a red stripe on the side, and continuing highlights over at the rear.
Kia will offer the Sonet in two broad trims: HT Line and GT Line. The former takes a more elegant approach to its design while the latter adds a dose of sportiness with plenty of red inserts and GT Line badging inside-out.
Notable features include a 10.25-inch infotainment system, UVO connected car technology, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a Bose sound system with a subwoofer, climate control, cruise control, a coloured-multi-info display, a sunroof, ventilated front seats, automatic headlamps and keyless entry with push button start. On the safety front, it features six airbags, ABS with EBD, and rear parking sensors with a rear view camera.
Sonet’s cabin gets a smart air purifier which boasts of virus protection.
The much-touted six-speed iMT (clutch-less transmission) option will also be available and while Hyundai beat Kia to it by offering it in Venue in July, it could still stand out as a deciding factor for the Sonet. Kia says the technology offers the best of both worlds and eliminates the need to press the clutch while retaining the thrill of manual gear shift.
There are also options to choose a 5-speed manual, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic, and a 7-speed DCT.
The Sport Trim features a D-cut steering and red stitching which is also present on the seats and door armrests.
Kia is also highlighting the safety features that the Sonet will bring to its customers and the list includes six airbags, ABS with EBD, front and rear parking sensors, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), auto head lights, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Assist Control (HAC), among other highlights.
Kia is the first automotive brand in India to reach the milestone of having over 50,000 active ‘connected’ cars on the road. This landmark figure is thanks to Kia Motors India pioneering the latest in-car technologies for Indian customers, and offering the intuitive, friendly user interface that Kia’s UVO ‘connected car’ technology provides. These smart, futuristic and secure features make owning and driving a Kia safe, comfortable, convenient and enjoyable.
In keeping with this promise, the Sonet too is offered with Kia’s signature UVO Connect suite of technologies, with a range of 57 features for owners offering convenience, remote control, navigation, safety, security and vehicle management. This also includes Kia’s UVO Voice Assist feature, which responds to the greeting, “Hello, Kia.” This artificial intelligence-powered voice-recognition technology provides an enhanced, connected experience and can be used to operate mutiple features: phone calls, weather information, time and date, Indian holiday information, media control, navigation control, climate control, and even finding out the latest cricket scores, and 1st in industry Window up down through voice command.
The super-convenient remote start/stop feature, previously only available for buyers of certain automatic Kia vehicles, will now also be available for models fitted with manual and intelligent manual transmissions.
The Sonet will also be available with the UVO Smart Watch App Connectivity option, allowing users to interact with their vehicle via an Android, iOS or Tizen smartwatch. Additionally, the UVO LITE feature helps to control the Smart Air Purifier and infotainment system, making the Sonet’s connected features even easier to use. Additionally, the car will offer an auto anti-glare (ECM) rear-view mirror with UVO controls, enhancing rear visibility for a safer, more confidence-inspiring drive.
The Sonet Safety
Customer Safety is an utmost priority for Kia Motors globally. More than two thirds of the Sonet’s body is made up of high strength and advanced high strength steel, creating a lightweight yet robust structure. Furthermore, Kia has ensured that every drive in the Sonet is as relaxing and safe as possible thanks to an array of safety measures, created in line with Kia’s own five pillars of safety: Active, Passive, Health, Security and Maintenance. Among the Sonet’s key safety features are:
- 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)
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Projector fog lamps
- Highline tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
- Auto headlamps
- ISOFIX child-seat anchoring points
Powertrain and performance
In keeping with Kia’s motto of ‘The Power to Surprise’, the Sonet offers a surprisingly wide range of powertrain choices in its class. With a choice of three engines and five transmissions, there is an engine-transmission combination for virtually every customer need in this segment. Two petrol engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi – and an efficient 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine are offered.
The Sonet comes with five transmission options: five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT, six-speed automatic, and Kia’s revolutionary new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission. Additionally, automatic variants of the Sonet offer Multi-Drive and Traction Modes for added convenience, driver-confidence and safety.
The 1.5-liter diesel engine is offered with a six-speed manual, and, uniquely in in its segment, with a six-speed automatic transmission, an unmet need in this segment to-date. Customers can enjoy the long-legged cruising ability of a diesel engine with the comfort and convenience of an automatic transmission.
Smartstream six-speed iMT
The Sonet is equipped with this revolutionary gearbox, offering a balance between control and convenience. The six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission will redefine the driving experience in India. The iMT is unique in the sense there is no clutch pedal, but there is a gear lever. The clutch is electronically actuated when the driver intends to change gears using the lever, re-engaging when the shift is complete. A sensor detects the movement of the gear lever and disengages the clutch smoothly. When the gears are engaged, the clutch re-engages and gear shift is completed.
The intention sensor is programmed not to activate with only small movements – for instance, if the driver knocks the shift lever. Instead, it sends a signal only when the gear lever has shifted further than a programmed threshold. Essentially, one can drive it like a manual transmission car without having to engage the clutch pedal. This system has been tested extensively on Indian roads in typical Indian driving conditions, and programmed to offer a seamless, smooth and enjoyable driving experience.
Highlights of the Smartstream six-speed iMT
- Less driver fatigue: no need to use a clutch pedal, especially in stop-go traffic
- Longer clutch life: electronically actuated, with no opportunity to ride the clutch
- Smoother ride: clutch release is seamless, offering a smooth manual gear change
What’s more, the iMT has been carefully engineered to anticipate all driving conditions. For example, during a hill-start, an RPM control module prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards. The innovative gearbox has also been programmed not to stall when it sitting in a higher gear at low speeds. The system is intuitive and will feel familiar to drivers of all experience levels.
Kia Sonet Competitors
The Kia Sonet locks horns with the Hyundai Venue, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon, and the upcoming Nissan Magnite.
We are extremely excited to introduce the Sonet, which is made in India for the world. After the success of the Seltos and Carnival, we are confident that Kia will revolutionize yet another market segment in India with the Sonet by addressing the unmet needs and aspirations of customers. The Kia Sonet is designed and developed to deliver a best-in-class experience in quality, design, technology, features, and drivability to attract a wide spectrum of customers across segments. The Sonet will be produced at our state-of-the-art Anantapur plant to Kia’s exacting global standards, and we are sure it will be received with enthusiasm by new customers and existing fans of the brand alike.Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO at Kia Motors India.