21 Sep 2020 Jatin Jhamb
Buy an automatic, it'll save your energy in traffic. No, but the manual gives you driving pleasure and more fuel economy too. Hey, what about the new iMT? What's that? Well, you get your conventional H-Gear but without a clutch. So a clutch free vehicle but with a 6-speed manual unit? Yes, that's what we thought when Kia launched the Sonet. In this first look review of the Kia Sonet, we will share with you how the iMT variant drives in the city.
Kia made its debut with the Seltos last year and till date, it has sold over 1 lakh unit. Yes, that's how big its success was. Then came the Carnival and just a few days ago, Kia launched the Sonet which debuts in the sub-compact SUV department.
As far as its design goes, it looks fresh and agile. Yes, the tiger-nose grille, all-LED headlights or the chrome knurling at the front grille. The car looks good from all angles. You get a reflector strip at the rear which connects with the taillights. Also, the front and rear skid plates give the SUV a sporty appeal.
Interiors and Design
Step inside and you will notice a big touchscreen infotainment system. This is a 10.25-inch with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto. It also gets signature connected car technology also known as the UVO. The beige and black interiors of the tech line give a premium look, however, it is the GT line trim which stands out with the interior design. Kia gives an all-black interior with contrast red stitching.
I found the centre console a bit cluttered than its competition. No doubt, the cabin feels nice and tech-friendly but then the design could have been less tacky. At the front, the space is good for both driver and co-driver and comes with ventilated seats which are a good addition in the segment.
However, the same cannot be said about the rear as the Sonet can only seat 4 people comfortably. Bring on an additional one and you'll begin to feel claustrophobic. But a compromise in the cabin inside turned out well for the boot as it is massive in its segment. A 392 litres boot space for all your weekend road trips.
I drove the 1.0-litre turbo petrol the Kia Sonet with an iMT gearbox. This motor churns out 117 bhp and 172 Nm of peak torque. The not so new-age gearbox felt nice when I drove and did not lag like an AMT. However, it wasn't as exciting as the AT either but it did the job pretty well in the traffic. What I liked was the quick acceleration and the response from the gearbox.
An instance happened where I was driving the Sonet at 60 km/h at 6th gear. Upon braking as I was approaching the traffic, the speed fell down and I thought to myself that whether the car will continue to drive at 6th gear in speeds of 20km/h. And I was surprised to see how smart the system is and the speedometer console asked me to downshift to 2nd gear. That's how wonderful the iMT is. Same goes for when you are accelerating hard and you will have to change the gear according to the speed else you will just harm the engine and the gearbox.
Well, like the engine and its gearbox the same cannot be said for the dynamics of the vehicle. Being an SUV, I am aware of the body roll it has to offer but I experienced a lot more than its rivals. The car performs well in city traffic when you are driving on a light foot. However, things change when you are making a sharp turn or approaching a roundabout at a higher speed. Then I felt that Sonet really comes with loads of body roll.
Kia offers 24 first in segment features for the Sonet which accounts up to wireless phone projection, ventilated seats, front parking sensors, OTA updates, bose sound system, traction modes, wake up command and several other features. Watch the video above as to what are some interesting features the Sonet gets.
Kia has played well with the pricing factory and it starts from Rs 6.71 lakh and go up till Rs 11.99 lakh. Well, the top of the line GTX with AT gearbox is yet to be launched. All the prices stick to ex-showroom, Delhi. The Sonet rivals with Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecosport, Maruti Brezza and Mahindra XUV300.
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