Kia’s first entrant in the highly-contested sub-4m SUV market, Kia Sonet has been finally launched in India. We take the Kia Sonet out for some spin and tell you our first impressions on the model regarding the design, interior, mileage, performance and price.
Kia Sonet Overview: What Is Sonet All About?
Back in the days when Kia Motors first entered India, the South Korean automobile company has clearly shaken things up around the compact SUV segment with its first product – the Seltos. We all agree that Kia Seltos is a great car and has everything on points like design, features, engine-gearbox options and price bracket. So now, after the Kia Sonet was launched in India, all eyes are laid on the new Sonet SUV and the question “Is Kia Sonet able to do it again?” has emerged in people’s minds.
Kia Sonet has managed to create quite a hype, ever since it was showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 towards its official price announcement a week back. From the look of it, the Sonet is a stylish car. It has a lengthy list of features that some are even claimed to be segment-first. Kia Sonet shares the same DNA and engine options with the Hyundai Venue which are also selling like hot cakes in the Indian space. And at the starting price of Rs 6.71 lakh, the Sonet is bound to make a lot of people go “wow”. IndianAuto can’t wait to get up close to the Sonet and stay behind its wheels for a drive, short or long. That’s why we took the Kia Sonet out for a spin some days ago and bring you our first impression on the hot-new model regarding its design, performance, features, mileage and more. Take time and read on our Kia Sonet review.
Kia Sonet 360 Exterior Review: More Than Just Meet The Eyes?
True, the production-ready versions are normally deviating far from their concept models. However, by looking at this Kia Sonet SUV, you will find all the above statement wrong. While Kia has been very successful at making the Seltos one of the best-looking SUVs in its category, the South Korean company has used the same recipe for the Sonet and again rolls out another head-turner off its table.
Though sharing the same platform with the Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet bears no visual similarities with its not-too-distant cousin. The front-three quarter angle is the best to view the Sonet. The signature Tiger-nose front grille evolves a bit compared with the Seltos’s unit and gives the Sonet car a sharp and confident face. Other highlights here are the high-set bonnet with sleek LED headlamps and heartbeat-shaped DRLs (that also serves as the turn indicators), well-sculpted bumpers and faux air-intakes. Muscle has been bucked up meticulously around the fog lamp housing, combined with some sharp creases to add more to the masculinity of the vehicle.
The side profile of the Kia Sonet 2020 further complements its connection with the Seltos sibling when it comes to the design, especially the dual-tone theme with a rising beltline. The machine-cut dual-tone R16 alloy wheels sit well under the rectangular wheel arches. The clearest difference here is the conventional door handles that replace the flush-type unit on the concept car. Interestingly, Kia makes use of the gloss-black plastic slab on the Sonet’s upswept C-pillar, thereby giving us an idea of a wrap-around rear windscreen when looking at the side. However, these plastic inserts feel a bit tacky at a closer look.
If the front and side profile of the Kia Sonet SUV impress us with the lavish styling bits with crisp lines and creases, the rear end appears a bit flat and lacks some sophistication of sorts of the front. Still, the Sonet does features some new-age design cues in line with the global trend. The taillamps are “connected” by a strip that accentuates to the width of the compact SUV while the well-sculpted tailgate lends it a contemporary look. However, the panel on the tailgate is just a reflector sadly.
Overall, the market-ready Kia Sonet looks all set to grab any eyeballs of the onlookers it bumps into on the go. Actually, the Sonet has come to spice up things in the hotly-contested and crowed segment where the “average-Joe” Maruti Vitara Brezza is leading the show.
Kia Sonet Dimensions: Length, Width, Height & More
The new Kia Sonet is 3,995 mm long, 1,790 mm wide, 1,610 mm high along with the wheelbase of 2,500 mm. With these figures, the Sonet gets quite a similar footprint in comparison with the Maruti Vitara Brezza counterpart. And despite sharing the same underpinnings with the Venue, the Sonet seems to be overall larger than the Hyundai Venue. The Sonet leads the show with three segment-leading aspects- it has the highest ground clearance, the largest boot of the lot while its height is on par with the Ford Ecosport.
For a subcompact SUV of the class, the Kia Sonet’s dimensions make sense. However, we need to step inside the cabin of the car to find out if those figures can make “real” sense or not, for which we would find out in the next part of our Kia Sonet Review.
Kia Sonet Interior Review: A Mile-Long Features List
Some say that the Kia Sonet has many great things coming into a small package. That’s no wonder. The Kia Sonet interior has a lot of good things to compliment, especially its mile-long feature list. However, it could come as a bit of letdown for those who have checked out the new SUV at its authorized dealerships as it’s a bit too compact of the lot. Albeit having three aforementioned class-leading aspects as far as the dimensions go, the Sonet is not the most spacious of the category. So, before we start pointing out the good points on the inside of the Sonet SUV, let’s us jump into the seating capacity that’s considered the Achilles’ heels of the Sonet.
Kia offers the all-new Sonet in a 5-seater layout but the rear bench seat here is just capable of accommodating two healthy adult occupants and anything beyond it is a tad too much, actually. It is acceptable with four adults with one kid, in case it has to be, for the short journeys. That’s also the most you would want to try. If don’t, be prepared yourself to use a bit of force if you want to seat three abreast.
Apart from that, everything is fine with the front seats. Kia must have been aware of the tight rear space and try to give a compensation by the segment-largest boot space. The Kia car is packed with a boot capacity of 392 litres, which is even 42 litres more than the Venue manages to offer. Getting in and out of the Kia Sonet is also easy with the doors wide open. The high-set front seats let you see the wheel arches and even the edge of the bonnet, too that would be cool, no?
Kia Motor has left no stones unturned to make sure that the Sonet would be the feature-richest of the critically-important space and it succeeds. While the small and cramped rear might be a deal-breaker for some, the high quality and long list of advanced features of the Sonet should be certainly winning them back. The dashboard layout of the Kia Sonet gives away old-school vibes and that’s not a bad thing. Kia has proved themselves always pay attention to the details that can be seen in the quality of the materials in use as well as the fit-and-finish.
The Sonet comes with the largest-in-segment 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is as big as the Seltos’s unit. It is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and UVO connected car tech. However, do note that this is not the same one as that of the bigger sibling. The steering wheel is a flat bottom unit that features high-quality leather-wrap. The digital instrument cluster also gets a very modern touch.
To say it again, the Kia Sonet has hit a new milestone when it comes to the premium features for the top-spec model. Well, don’t be too stunned with a long list of comfort goodies here, including ventilated front seats, 7-speaker Bose sound system with subwoofer, air purifier with perfume dispenser, automatic climate control, power sunroof, smart key with engine start push-button, keyless entry, front and rear USB charging ports, rear AC, driver seat height adjust, all door power windows, UVO controls and many more. However, those are for the highest-spec trim of the lot. One must admit that the base HTE model seems to come with a much shorter list. It is equipped with the features like a 3.5-inch mono-colour instrument panel, electric power steering, manual AC, tilt steering, front power windows, front and rear USB charging port, centre locking, rear AC, front adjustable headrest and electric adjust outside mirror.
The suite of safety features in the Kia Sonet is also a major highlight. The all-new sub-four-metre SUV is packed with six airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, Hill Start Assist, Brake Assist, front & rear parking sensors, projector fog lamps, Highline tyre pressure monitoring system, ISOFIX child seat mount, emergency stop signal among others.
Kia Sonet Performance: How Is “Baby-Seltos” Like To Drive?
Kia imitates Hyundai when it comes to the powertrain options as just like the Venue, the Kia Sonet also comes with three engine options including a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor along with the 1.5-litre diesel unit. While the two former churns out 83 PS/ 115 Nm and 120 PS/ 172 Nm, respectively, the 1.5-litre CRDi diesel motor delivers two separate states of tune – 100 PS/ 240 Nm and 115 PS/ 250 Nm.
Smartstream G 1.2
1.5 CRDi WGT
No. of cylinders
83 PS @ 6,000 rpm
120PS @ 6000rpm
100PS @ 4000rpm
115 PS@ 4,000 rpm
115 Nm@ 4,000 rpm
172Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
240Nm @ 1500-2750rpm
250 Nm @ 1,500 – 2,750 rpm
6-speed iMT / 7-speed AT
6-speed MT / 6-speed AT
The performance of the turbo-petrol iMT model is pretty similar to what we’ve experienced on the Hyundai Venue Turbo iMT. This mill feels pretty refined and sporty from the start and then picks up enough torque when it makes any quick transitions on the highway. This clutchless manual transmission offers a brilliant convenience with a two-pedal setup alongside a stick shift.
All that means driver can change the gear quickly without having to care about the modulation of the clutch. With the surge of 2,000 – 3,000 rpm, the power would be spread linearly throughout the rev range. Although it is not as controllable as a manual or not a brilliant performer as the DCT, it still offers a lot of fun on the drive, especially without having to manually operate the clutch.
If you are looking for a punchier performance, the petrol-turbo will be a better choice. However, in case you need outright performance but can’t compromise on the fuel-efficiency, it’s actually the diesel-auto combination. We have a chance to drive the Hyundai Venue Turbo iMT and Turbo DCT and our acceleration test shows more than a second of difference between the two models. The oil burner returns a good level of refinement and even the turbo lag is hardly noticeable. Also, we can’t find any kind of bothersome wind noise and roar noise to complain about so the NVH level seems to be well-controlled here.
Ride and Handling
The biggest distinction between the Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue is the ride and handling characteristics. Despite sharing the components and parts under the skin, the Venue and Sonet have a completely different ride and handling that’s courtesy of the different settings of the suspension. The Kia Sonet features a stiffer suspension that makes it easier to rev hard into the corners and handle better than the Venue. However, interestingly, you’ll have to enjoy confident handling in the grip of the ride quality due to that stiffer suspension itself. The sharp irregularities and undulations easily filter into the Sonet’s cabin but don’t mind, the ride won’t get too uncomfortably. And thanks to the segment-leading ground clearance, the Sonet can tackle the broken surfaces effortlessly without worrying to damage the underbelly.
Kia Sonet Mileage: Is It Fuel Efficient?
Petrol + Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity
24.1 kmpl (Diesel MT)
19.0 kmpl (Diesel AT)
18.4 kmpl (Petrol MT)
0 – 100 kmph (sec)
Around 12 seconds
Kia Sonet Price: Is The Sonet Affordable To Buy?
The Kia Sonet is priced at around Rs 6.71 – 11.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Considering the number of engine-gearbox options, variants and features, the Kia Sonet prices turn out to cover almost all price points of the segment. Check out the variant-wise prices of Kia Sonet in the table below.
Smartstream G 1.2 Petrol
Rs 6.71 lakh (5MT)
Rs 7.59 lakh (5MT)
Rs 8.45 lakh (5MT)
G 1.0 Turbo
Rs 9.49 lakh (6iMT) / Rs 10.49 lakh (7DCT)
Rs 9.99 lakh (6iMT)
Rs 11.65 lakh (6iMT)
Rs 11.99 lakh (6iMT)
Diesel 1.5 WGT
Rs 8.05 lakh (6MT)
Rs 8.99 lakh (6MT)
Rs 9.49 lakh (6MT)
Rs 9.99 lakh (6MT)
Rs 11.65 lakh (6MT)
Rs 11.99 lakh (6MT)
Rs 10.39 lakh (6AT)
Kia Sonet Colours: How Many Colours?
Kia Sonet is available in 10 different colour options including Glacier White Pearl, Steel Silver, Intense Red, Gravity Grey, Aurora Black Pearl, Intelligence Blue, Beige Gold along with three dual-tone paint options – Intense Red- Aurora Black Pearl, Glacier White Pearl – Aurora Black Pearl and Beige Gold – Aurora Black Pearl.
Kia Sonet Verdict: Is The Kia Sonet Worth Buying?
One can’t deny that the Kia Sonet is very desirable to buy. The Sonet seems to have everything on point in a well-packaged product, all the ways to take the lead of the sub-four-metre SUV space. . It has a radical style, a superior cabin brimming with a plethora of features and driving assist tech, refined and punchy engines that will help the car target all set of buyers with different budgets and requirements. Certainly, pricing plays a key factor in Sonet’s success. Like what’s been done with the Seltos, Kia seems to play the pricing cards with its little SUV. True, Kia Sonet covers almost all price points of the segment but it means the higher-variants of the Sonet SUV will be notably pricier than its competitors while the lower trims look tastier. It’s easy to understand, you want more features, you need to pay more. But given the variety of engines and transmission options, segment-leading features and an attractive exterior package, the Sonet is apparently a great buy. If you are young tech-savvy buyers who look for a stylish, feature-laden and fun-to-drive sub-four-metre SUV in India and don’t mind the inferior rear space, Kia Sonet comes off as a viable option.