Kia Sonet globally unveiled | Venue and Vitara Brezza rival set for India launch
After entering India last year, Kia Motors took only a few months to become one of the country's top five carmakers in terms of units sold. The Seltos played a key role in this regard and the Carnival too has garnered some respectable sales figures. The brand has invested more than USD 2 billion in India and the country is set to become a major export base for Kia Motors, with made-in-India Kia cars set for export to Africa, Middle East and South America.
Now, Kia Motors India has globally unveiled the Sonet compact SUV, another promising offering from the South Korean brand that aims to shake up the already competitive compact SUV segment. It shares its underpinnings with the Hyundai Venue, but in terms of design and equipment on offer, the Sonet does have its own distinct identity.
What we saw at the Auto Expo 2020 was a near-production concept and Kia Motors has managed to retain almost all design elements on the production version. Upfront there are the ‘crown jewel’ LED headlamps with ‘heartbeat’ LED DRLs. Then you have Kia’s signature tiger nose grille that gets a unique 'step well' pattern. The chin comprises what Kia calls ‘turbo’ shaped skid plates. Move on to the side and the chunky high profile tyres from the concept are replaced with what look like conventional 16-inch machine cut alloys. It also gets black side body cladding and a blacked out roof with the so called 'floating' effect. There was another variant displayed which had a body coloured roof and we're guessing it would be the Tech Line trim. The Sonet looks handsome from the rear as well, with the LED light bar uniting the LED taillamps. The rear bumper gets large a piano black insert that houses twin fake exhaust tips and a diffuser.
Interiors and features
There are cues from the much bigger Sorento on the inside, including the rectangular AC vents, with the controls for the same sitting between the central vents. The Sonet also features a floating 10.25-inch central infotainment display from the Seltos, which flows into the new coloured digital instrument cluster. For comparison, its sibling, the Hyundai Venue, has an 8-inch touchscreen.
That said, the Kia Sonet is absolutely festooned with premium kit. A closer look reveals Bose audio system, like on the Seltos. There’s also an air purifier with virus protection, a smart move to lure buyers considering the pandemic. Additionally, the Sonet will come with Kia’s UVO suite of connected car features (with 55 different functions), traction and drive modes, steering-mounted controls, ambient lighting, ventilated front seats and an electric sunroof among many others.
Under the hood
The Kia Sonet will be powered by the same set of BS6 compliant powertrains that are offered with the Hyundai Venue. It will get a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that makes 82bhp and 113Nm of torque. In addition to this, there will be a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine that makes 99bhp and a healthy 240Nm of torque. The most exciting offering that enthusiast buyers will look forward to is the 1-litre turbo-petrol engine producing 118bhp and 172Nm of torque.
Expect Kia Motors India to offer a diverse set of transmission options as well, including a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 7-speed DCT (turbo-petrol only), and the newly introduced clutch free iMT or Intelligent Manual Transmission. There’s also a segment first 6-speed torque converter automatic on offer.
Currently the Hyundai Venue and the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza are two of the most popular compact SUVs in the country, often switching top positions on the monthly sales charts. That said, the Sonet will also lock horns with the Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and the Mahindra XUV300. The Sonet already seems like a tempting package. If Kia prices it aggressively, it certainly has the potential to become one of the top-selling SUVs in the country. Bookings for the Kia Sonet are now open and the launch is imminent as well.