The youngest carmaker in India, Kia Motors has successfully managed to catch the fancy of Indian car buyers with its feature-packed offerings. First with the Seltos, and now, with the Sonet compact SUV. So much so, the Sonet has managed to corner 50,000+ bookings within a timeframe of two months and looks all set to clone the success story written by its elder sibling. And all this at a time when the auto industry like most others, has suffered badly due to the pandemic. So what is it that’s drawing car buyers towards the Kia Sonet?
Besides the fact that it offers two trim lines- GT Line and Tech Line, and 17 variants to choose from, buyers can pick from four engine choices and five transmission options. Prices start at INR 6.71 lakh, going up to INR 12.89 lakh (all prices mentioned are ex-showroom) for the top-spec trim. Such a wide price bracket and range allow customers to make a choice which fits their priorities to the T. Alongside these factors, the Kia Sonet offers some segment-leading features which were never offered with cars in this segment before. Here’s a list:
Torque Converter Diesel Automatic
Where all other compact SUVs offer an AMT gearbox as the clutch-less choice with a diesel engine, the Kia Sonet is the only vehicle in its segment to offer a torque converter automatic gearbox with its diesel engine. Interestingly, paired with this gearbox, at 115 PS, the 1.5-litre diesel engine cranks out an extra 15 PS, compared to the one equipped with a manual gearbox. Compared to AMT gearboxes, torque converters offer gearshifts which are far smoother, quicker and seamless. Paired with a diesel engine, it adds refined convenience to the long-legged, effortless and frugal character of a diesel engine.
Largest HD Touchscreen With Navigation And Live Traffic Information
Touchscreens have now become a part of motoring in a big way and the Sonet offers the biggest infotainment screen in its class. While it is compliant with Android Auto and AppleCarPlay, the system offers navigation and live traffic information, without the need to connect a phone. The screen is slick to operate and its UI allows usage of various functions of the car.
Biggest Boot Space
At 392 litres, the Kia Sonet offers the most space for luggage. Compared to all its other rivals, that’s at least 40 litres more. For a vehicle which fits into a segment where the length cannot be longer than 4 metres, that’s some engineering!
Smart Air Purifier With Virus And Bacteria Protection
The pandemic has brought hygiene and wellbeing into focus. For a country like India where the air quality across our cities is generally unhealthy, an air purifier inside the car makes a huge difference. The air purifier inside the Sonet is the only one in its class which eliminates pollutants, viruses and bacteria and can be operated remotely via the infotainment screen. The air purifier in Sonet has a two-level purification system. The pollutant-cleansing HEPA filter incorporates N29 which uses fibre made from nano-ionic bonding technology of copper sulphide, to remove pollutants and bacteria from the cabin. The second level of filtration is achieved through UVC LED, scientifically proven to kill bacteria and viruses.
BOSE seven-speaker Sound System With Sub-Woofer
Get this, even if you purchase a premium car which is several segments above the Sonet, one has to pay an additional amount to tick a premium sound system on the purchase list. The seven-speaker Bose system inside the Sonet is a first for the class and lets you groove to your favourite tunes even when you’re away from your premium Bose sound system at home.
Ventilated Driver And Passenger Front Seats
The summers in India are particularly hot and although modern cars these days come fitted with an air conditioner which works really effectively, one can still end up sweating as there is no air reaching the parts of the body which are glued to the seat. In such a situation, ventilated seats keep those areas fresh and airy. The Sonet is the only vehicle in its class to offer this feature.
4.2-Inch Colour Instrument Cluster
If the massive 10.25″ infotainment screen isn’t enough, the Sonet also packs another 4.2″ screen inside the instrument cluster. Flanked by a digital display for speed and analogue dials for other vital information, the colour screen displays driving-related information relayed by the trip computer, readouts for tyre pressure, and scoops information from the navigation system to present turn-by-turn information, in a direct line of sight for the driver. It also displays the selected drive and traction control mode.
LED Sound Mood Lights
Ambient lighting not only brightens things inside the cabin at night, but the sound mood system inside the Sonet can also groove to the tune being played through the audio system. One can select from different themes and colours for illumination. If you like it steady, the soft light emitted near the door speakers and the glovebox can remain static in the colour of your choice.
Remote engine start via UVO Connect and Smart Key (Automatic and Manual Transmission)
On a really hot day, this feature is God-sent. You can remotely start the Kia Sonet a few minutes before your journey so that the air conditioner can cool the cabin and make it ready for you to simply enter and be instantly comfortable. You may choose to do this via UVO Connect, which offers 57 connected car features which can be accessed via an app or a smartwatch or through the smart key which gets a dedicated switch for this operation.
Wireless Smartphone Charger With Cooling Function
It’s a well-known fact that the lithium-ion battery inside your cellphone does get hot when you hook your phone to a charger. As batteries continue to grow in size and fast-charging ups the amount of power being transferred during the charging process, phone batteries do catch a fever. To keep things efficient, the wireless charger inside the Sonet is cooled and helps the phone to rest in an ideal temperature while the juice inside the battery is being replenished.
Multi-drive & Traction Modes For Automatic Models
Variants of the Kia Sonet which are paired with an automatic gearbox offer three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. As the name suggests, each mode alters the engine characteristics to maximize efficiency or performance. In addition, the Traction Control system offers three different modes – Snow, Mud and Sand. According to surface conditions, these modes allow the Sonet to offer maximum traction.
AI Voice Assistant
If you keep checking yourself in with everything that’s current and new-age, the AI voice assistant inside the Kia Sonet allows you to talk to the car in order to access its various functions. Responding to the greeting, “Hello, Kia”, this artificial intelligence-powered voice-recognition technology can be used to operate multiple features: phone calls, weather information, time and date, Indian holiday information, media control, navigation control, climate control, finding out the latest cricket scores, and 1st in industry driver window up/down through voice command.
Over-The-Air (OTA) Map Updates
The in-built map which is a part of the infotainment system keeps itself current automatically with a new update. This takes away the need for the system to be updated manually at the service centre, every time there is an update for the map available.
Looking at this exhaustive list of features, one would imagine that these are reserved for the most expensive variants of the Sonet. However, even the base HTE variant of this all-new Kia offers standard kit in the form of front power windows, front and rear USB charging, electrically-adjustable ORVMs, rear AC vents and a 3.5″ screen inside the instrument cluster.
Spend a little more and the HTK trim adds things like a 3.8″ infotainment screen with a 4-speaker audio system, keyless entry, height-adjustable driver’s seat, semi leatherette upholstery, steering mounted controls, all four power windows, and the UVO Lite feature which allows operation of the infotainment system and the air purifier. The trim levels above these build exhaustively on the features count and combined with the multiple engine-gearbox combinations which are available, it’s almost like you can personalise your Sonet according to your taste.