The desire of many to own a proper, full-size SUV has been successfully funneled and bottled by carmakers into a compressed but just as appealing body form – Compact SUVs. This scaled-down form is now so popular with buyers, sedans and premium hatchbacks, which at one point were all the rage, are no longer the money magnets for carmakers or the apple of the eye of car buyers.
But it isn’t just a passing phase for sure and there certainly are a lot of factors which make a Compact SUV appeal more to the heart and the head alike than a traditional 3-box sedan or a hatchback. No wonder that a product like the Kia Sonet has been setting the sales chart on fire within a few weeks of introduction. If you have either been wondering what makes these vehicles so popular or have given in to the pull and are looking to buy one, here are features you should look for in your compact SUV.
In addition to their brilliance in other areas, Compact SUVs have also become the go-to choice of body form because of the sorry state of most roads in our country. Compared to a hatchback or a sedan, most compact SUVs offer ample ground clearance (200mm+) across the vehicle’s footprint to sail clear above most obstacles on the road, without scraping the belly and damaging critical components underneath. This boosts the driver’s confidence many folds while tackling bad road conditions or adverse terrain and also when a way back home must be found through waterlogged streets.
On the other hand, as Compact SUVs sit high up from the ground, ingress and egress is easier, which is a convenience which finds its due appreciation when there are senior citizens in the family. Also, Compact SUVs have a higher centre of gravity which requires the suspension to be tuned on the slightly firmer side to minimise body roll. This also means that when the vehicle is fully loaded, compared to hatchbacks or sedans, Compact SUVs are less prone to bottoming out.
The best part though is that where traditional body forms in the same price bracket offered limited ability when it came to driving on unpaved surfaces, Compact SUVs can easily tread off the road, as long as the conditions don’t require a proper SUV. In addition to all this though, the Kia Sonet, with its 205mm ground clearance, also offers driving modes which alter the behaviour of its traction control system to offer maximum traction while tackling tricky conditions.
When we think of SUVs, the first image which comes to mind is that of a bulky behemoth which must be infused with a lot of metal to stay true to the rugged appeal. While Compact SUVs do carry an aura of being rugged and tough, modern car building methods have ensured that these vehicles don’t carry more than necessary weight around the waistline and are pretty athletic when it comes to driving them on the road.
Propelling these types of vehicles are modern engines which are lightweight, pack a punch, yet are very frugal when it comes to fuel consumption. One of the only two Compact SUVs out there to be offered with a choice of three engines, the Kia Sonet has aced the fuel efficiency department.
Its diesel engine in particular has been rated for best in segment figures of 19.0 kmpl when paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 24.1 kmpl when mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The Sonet’s 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine is also rated for a best in segment 18.2 kmpl when paired with a 6-speed iMT while the 1.2-litre NA petrol engine aces the class with its 18.4 kmpl rating when paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Feature-Packed Quality Interiors
In addition to being the only compact SUV to offer a proper torque converter automatic gearbox with a diesel engine, inside its well-made cabin, the Sonet also offers several segment-firsts like ventilated front seats, the largest infotainment screen, a two-stage air purifier, mood lighting, connected car technology with remote engine start which also can be triggered with a smart key, a wireless phone charger which is cooled, an AI assistant, a colour display for instrumentation and lots more.
The most important aspect though is that at 390 litres, the Sonet offers the biggest boot in the segment. All these USPs make the Sonet the most accomplished product in its class, however, there are some other polished competitors in the ring too. Although putting the money down on the best is a no brainer in most situations, in the end, it all boils down to individual taste and preferences. Whatever you choose, make sure you make a wise and informed choice.