After establishing a benchmark in the compact-SUV segment, Kia is all set to boom the sub-compact segment with its upcoming Sonet SUV. It was first showcased at Auto Expo held in February 2020. Since then it has been in considerable discussion. Recently we got a chance to drive the forthcoming Korean car and found it worthy to be considered as the most happening car of its category.
The production version of Kia Sonet looks very similar to its concept model that was showcased at the 2020 Indian Auto Expo. It underpins the same platform of Hyundai Venue, despite this Kia has managed to exert a novel design that looks quite sporty.
First, have a look at the dimensions of both the cars:-
215/60 R16 Alloys
215/60 R16 Alloys
No (Same Alloy Design)
At the front, Sonet gets Kia's trademarked tiger-nose grille that sports a stepwell inspired pattern on it. The grille and projector foglamps are surrounded by the chrome finishing.
The Sonet looks quite brawny from the head compared to Venue, thanks to its +20mm width and +37mm height. Also, its ground clearance is 15mm more than the Venue which works as an icing on the cake. It sports protruding creases on its hood to give it a robust posture. The headlamps units are LED which also integrates canines inspired LED DRLs, complimenting its aggressively designed bumpers. Further, the sporty skid plates with red accent, red highlights on the grille, red brake calipers, red cap on 16-inch machine cut-alloy wheels, and red strips on the side cladding on the GT line variant provide it a touch of aggressiveness too.
It gets heavy cladding on a flashed wheel arch and silver roof rails which gives it a rugged and SUVish character. The Korean Maker has featured a gloss-black panel on the sides of the rear windscreen which makes it look smart and wider. The design of LED taillamps is engaging, however, its central reflector strip makes the design very busy.
The rear bumper gets the all-black treatment with fake dual-exhaust tips and a faux silver diffuser which overall enhances the beauty of the mini beast.
Interior & Features
Like its elder sibling- Kia Seltos, the interior of Sonet feels premium yet a little intrusive. It features an upright dashboard, taking the center stage is the 10.25-inches of the touchscreen infotainment system that has been borrowed straight from the Seltos. It also houses the instrument cluster which is a semi-digital unit.
The Sonet's infotainment is the largest system in the segment, offering a bright and crisp display. It features both Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity to let you connect your smartphone through the USB cable and If you are one who does not take off the bed without a cup of tea, then Kia has also added UVO connected technology to spoil you more…. just say "Hello Kia" and the magic starts.
Not only this, but it also gets almost all the major bells and whistles from the Seltos whether its an electric sunroof, cruise control, auto climate control, ventilated front seats, air purifier, perfume dispenser, auto headlamps, auto-dimming IRVM, wireless charging, voice command, bose's a premium sound system with the sound sync lighting function, giving head-to-head competition to the segment above Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos. However, you won't get the HUD and a 360-degree camera, which is okay, otherwise, the difference between the two cars will be reduced drastically.
Kia claims that the Sonet has the loudest horn of the segment which makes a double-horn sound on unlocking the car. You can also lock-unlock the car from your smartphone with the help of UVO connected technology. Not only this, with the help of this technology you can access many other features such as geo-fencing, vehicle tracking, vehicle health status, etc. Also, the engine can be started/stop by pressing the lock/unlock button on the keyfob.
The dashboard is only made of plastic but the quality of the material is quite remarkable. Kia has paid attention to material quality and fit-finishing. The other bits of cabin i.e. AC vents, center console tunnel, etc gets the silver touch in dual-tone variants, while the automatic climate controls panel sports a piano black finishing. On the other hand, the GT variant only comes with an all-black cabin theme with contrast red stitching on upholstery with a GT badging, giving it a sporty feel.
Kia has offered leatherette seats on the top-spec GTX+ variant while the lower variants get fabric+leatherette combination or fabric only seats.
Kia Sonet gets dual airbags, ABS with EBD as standard across variants. Additionally, the top-spec variants also get the side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). On the other hand, the Turbo-DCT and GTX+ variant also get the electronic stability control (ESC), hill hold assist (HHA), and vehicle stability management (VSM).
Space & Comfort
Ingress and outgress in Kia Sonet is not a hurdle thanks to the high ground clearance and the considerably wide door openings. The driving seat is positioned relatively high which help the driver to get a perfect view of the surrounding.
To get the desired driving position, it offers the manually height-adjustable seat and tilt-adjustable steering wheel function. The front seats are quite supportive, providing an adequate amount of back support and headroom. However, larger occupants can complain about the less under-thigh support and width of the seat.
The rear seat is suitable for only two adult passengers while the middle passenger should be a minor one. Knowing this fact Kia has also skipped the middle headrest.
As far as the cushioning is concerned, the rear seat of the Kia Sonet is very pleasing. Kia's clever move to curving the roof offers an ample amount of headroom at the rear too, despite featuring a sunroof. However, seating two six-footers behind one another will result in a shortage of legroom and knee room.
To enhance the passenger comfort and convenience at the rear, Kia has offered some pleasant squads such as a rear center armrest with two cup holders, C-pillar mounted quarter glass panel which gives the cabin an airy feel, dedicated rear AC vents with an impressive throw, rear cabin lamp, USB charging port, additional seatback pocket for your mobile, wallets, iPods and other tiny stuff.
Boot & Other Storage Spaces
There is plenty of storage spaces in the Kia Sonet. For instance, it offers two mobile trays (in which one comes with a wireless charging pad in top-line variants) and a tiny slot between the cupholders to fit your mobile or the car's key in standing position. Besides this, you also get the 1-liter bottle holder in all doors, an umbrella holder in front doors, a sunglass holder on the roof, a dash glove box, cup holders on the rear armrest, seatback pockets, etc. There is a tiny storage space also under the front armrest, quite enough to keep the wallet in.
Kia has offered a 392-liter of boot space which is huge as per the car's segment. The boot is shaped well and its lip is positioned low. Hence, loading heavy luggage/stuff won't require extra effort. Surprisingly, the brand hasn't given the 60:40 split function which should be there.
Everything in Kia Sonet is in well reach. There’s nothing to complain about on the ergonomics front.
Engine & Performance
Just like the Hyundai Venue, you will get three engine options to choose between, 1.2-litre Naturally Aspirated petrol, 1.0-liter turbocharged petrol, and a 1.5-liter diesel engine. The 1.2 petrol engine comes only with 5-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.0 turbo petrol engine can opt with either 6-speed iMT (intelligent manual transmission) or a 7-speed DCT automatic transmission. On the other hand, the diesel engine in Sonet is available in two different power tunings: 100PS/240Nm (similar to Venue) and 115PS/250Nm (Similar to Seltos and Creta). The 100PS version of the CI mill comes paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox while the 115PS version is offered with a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission only.
1.2-litre NA petrol
1.0-litre turbocharged petrol
|No of Cylinders||4||3||4|
Max Power (PS)
100PS / 115PS
Peak Torque (Nm)
240Nm / 250Nm
6-speed iMT or 7-speed DCT
6-speed MT / 6-speed AT (torque converter)
- Powertrains we have tested:- 1.0-litre Turbo petrol with iMT and a 1.5-liter diesel with AT.
1. Turbo Petrol With iMT
Kia has offered the iMT (a clutch pedal-less manual transmission) only with the 1-liter turbo-petrol motor. The Korean maker has tuned this new gearbox very intelligently and you won't miss the third pedal for sure. The operation of the clutch is smoother and you will feel the shifting seamlessly. It is well suited for bumper-to-bumper traffic as while being on the highest gear, it won't stop the engine if your speed is too low, rather than it will continuously indicate you to downshift the gear. Another positive comes with the quick engine response and that too with a strong powerband which keeps the efforts of driving in city traffics to the least. It doesn't mind being in 2nd or 3rd gear for daily commuting.
The engine feels more energizing post-1800-2000rpm which makes the cruising fun, even on triple-digit speeds.
Kia has set a new benchmark in the sub-4m SUV segment with this engine. Mated to a 6-speed torque converter transmission, it delivers 115PS of max power and 250Nm of peak torque available. So, not only the torque figures are incredible, its well spread across the range, therefore at no point, you get any turbo lag. Small inputs on the throttle extract a quick and smooth response, hence overtaking or cruising on the highway is not a hurdle with Sonet. It is one of the most refined diesel engines we have driven so far. The NVH level is quite impressively controlled.
It is important to know that this engine-gearbox combination is taken from its elder sibling, Seltos. But knowing the fact that Sonet is smaller in size, presents it strongly in courses of drivability and performance.
The automatic variants of Sonet get 3 driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport. The Eco mode is well suited for everyday commutes which eventually reduce fuel consumption, the Normal mode improves the driving ability and performance more significantly while the Sport mode allows you to feel the dignity of the engine’s capability to an extent. There are three traction modes as well – Snow, Mud, and Sand, but they are not very useful as the Sonet is a front-wheel-drive urban SUV that is not designated for off-roading purposes.
Ride Quality and Handling
Unlike the Hyundai Venue, the suspension tuning of Kia Sonet is kept at the stiffer side, hence you may get uncomfortable if the surface unevenness is substantial. However, the stiffer suspensions work as a boon for the highway ride as it eventually reduces the body rolls and keeps the car planted on the roads.
The steering feedback i.e. the handling character of Sonet is another plus point of the car. The steering wheel feels light on the city speed, making the maneuvering easy, however, as the speeds increase it weighs up decently. The braking bite is satisfying.
As far as the NVH levels concerned, Kia has kept the insulation well checked to keep down the noise and vibrations. However, a little road noise is audible inside the cabin.
Variants and engine option
The 2020 Kia Sonet is available in 6 variants. Their names and variant-wise powertrain options are as follows:-
|Kia Seltos Variants||HTE||HTK||HTK+||HTX||HTX+||GTX+|
|1.2-litre NA petrol with manual||✔️||✔️||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
|1.0-litre Turbo Petrol with iMT||❌||❌||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|1.0-litre Turbo Petrol with DCT automatic||❌||❌||✔️||❌||❌||✔️|
|1.5-litre diesel with manual||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|1.5-litre diesel with torque converter automatic||❌||❌||✔️||❌||❌||✔️|
You will have to wait until September 18 for Kia Sonet's pricing, though, you can see our estimated prices here.
Pors & Cons
- Excellently packaged product, setting a new benchmark for the segment.
- Brilliant performance of Diesel-AT.
- Features loaded interior with top-notch quality.
- Stiffer ride quality.
- Less space in the second row.
- The design of the car seems a bit busy which may not be liked by buyers of all ages.