Kia has finally launched its brand new compact SUV that it calls a “smart urban compact SUV.” The vehicle will be built in India and is now available globally. Kia says that the Sonet is its entry into the burgeoning compact SUV segment and promises a new benchmark with first-in-class features. We drove it a week ago at its launch in Cape Town.
The Kia Sonet shares the same styling as other vehicles the brand offers, especially the Sportage in front, but the rest of the body is reminiscent of the Seltos that has graced our homepage a few times.
It comes with one powertrain which, to our delight, suits the car perfectly. What you get is a 1.5-litre engine that boasts outputs of 85 kW at 6,300 r/min and 144 Nm of torque at 4,500 r/min. You then have the choice between a 6-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Two trim levels (LX and EX) are available as well.
And I must confess, I mistook the 1.5-litre engine for something bigger at first. My favourite is the automatic gearbox as its impressively absent of that rubber-banding feel that some continuously variable transmissions suffer from.
In fact it all sufficiently perky for urban duties. Though it’s not the most refined engine – there’s a fair amount of noise audible inside. It drives nicely enough, and the CVT is loads better than the example in Toyota’s Corolla I drove recently.
The Sonet offers several features that Kia claim are a segment first, including:
- Remote central locking
- Front and rear electric windows
- Electric mirrors
- 6 speakers
- 15-inch steel wheels
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Automatic headlamp activation
- Rear-view camera
- Combination artificial leather and cloth seat trim
The mid-spec EX models adds on:
- Rear park distance control
- Leather steering wheel and gear knob
- Silver skid plate
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Roof rails
- Side repeater lamps
- Front fog lights
The Kia Sonet is priced from R264 995 for the LX Manual and R285 995 for the EX CVT.
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