KIA Sonet Turbo DCT Review - Looks, Features, Engine, Price
KIA Sonet Turbo DCT First Drive Report - The Best Compact SUV to Buy?
The Sonet has been one of the most awaited new cars and while its launch is a few days away on the 18th of this month, here is a detailed review of the Sonet in its most premium avatar- the DCT 1.0 turbo. To recap the KIA Sonet would be available with two trims with the Tech Line and GT line. You also have two petrol engines- a 1.2 and a 1.0 turbo 3 cylinder. In diesel there is a 1.5l unit. The Sonet would also offer you a manual gearbox, an iMT manual without clutch, a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Here is the review of the 7-speed dual clutch automatic variant.
Seen in this deep red colour and also having the red accents on the grille, bumper and other areas- the Sonet looks stunning. Move to the front and you get the traditional KIA grille but when compared to the Seltos, here, in the more compact Sonet, it looks bigger while the chrome, black and red details look great quality wise. The headlamps are LED DRLs which have integrated indicators. At the side you will chrome door handles, 16 inch alloys and dual tone black roof. The rear is more interesting in the way the glass extends forward and gives the rear a wide stance. The Sonet is actually the tallest one in its class and also widest while just being under the 4 metres barrier. The LED tail-lamps are also nicely detailed plus you have how they are joined together. It is overall a stunning looking compact SUV with more muscle over the Seltos.
INTERIORS AND SPACE
Inside depending on the variant line chosen you can get a dual-tone look while the car seen here is the top of the GT line with the black upholstery. The steering wheel is similar to the Seltos and so is the massive 10.25 inch screen which looks even bigger in the more compact Sonet. The screen is in-fact the largest and comes with three separate menus plus the large screen makes navigating through menus or using on the go useful. The lower variants get a smaller touch-screen. The information cluster behind the driver is also different as it is a digital layout with a big 4.2 inch colour display which gets navigation information, parking sensors and more info. There is also a printed roof lining and two types of leatherette seats. The Sonet in GT line has special carpets also while the seats have a sportier detailing. Due to sunroof the cabin feels a bit spacious but the black interior colour does affect the sense of space here. The driver sits comfortably at the front with a manual adjust and the driving position being quite comfortable.
Move to the rear and here it might be slightly bigger than the Venue but it cannot have three passengers sitting comfortably as the Sonet feels a bit small and even the legroom is a bit lacking. It is decent for a compact SUV but clearly not the best. The boot is amongst the largest though.
The Sonet has a lot of features as you would expect but what is surprising is that KIA has given many features normally seen on more expensive SUVs and not on this class of under 4m SUVs. The top-end trim we had offered everything. There is an electric sunroof, digital dials, the 10.25inch touch-screen, navigation, front and rear parking sensors along with rear camera, climate control, cruise control, wireless charging, cooled front seats, air purifier along with special virus protection, Bose music system, LED lamps, drive modes, traction modes, UVO connect with 57 features like OTA map update, connected car information, remote engine start, emergency services, car information and more. That is not all as you also get a tyre pressure monitoring system and special sound mood lighting according to the music.
ENGINE AND DRIVE EXPERIENCE
We concentrated on the expected bestseller which is the Sonet with the 1.0 turbo petrol and also the dual clutch automatic. This is the premium end of the Sonet but top-end trims are mostly popular along with increase in demand for automatics. The engine is the same one found in the Venue also with a 998cc unit with a turbo while it makes 120 bhp in total and 172Nm. It all starts very smoothly with this being a very refined three cylinder turbo. It also feels smooth and refined in city traffic while the automatic dual clutch shifts gears very well with butter smooth quality. You do feel some of the turbo lag but it is well ironed out overall. The engine is also silent but when driven hard, is when there is some noise from the engine. There are also various drive modes which change the response of the engine. All three actually change with eco having a bit of a dulled response but still drive-able while normal and sport is when you want performance.
The sport mode is a bit too aggressive for city traffic but if you want the responsiveness from the engine, use the Sport mode. The gearbox shifts well and also when you want shifts down but you do miss changing gear manually via paddles behind the steering. Overall this engine is the pick with the smoothness and power of a turbo petrol. In terms of efficiency expect 10-12 kmpl in city conditions or slightly more if driven lightly. The ride is better judged over some other SUVs. It feels stable at high speeds and goes over broken surfaces with nice stability but there is some harshness with the suspension tuned for sportiness rather than just comfort but it is a nice compromise nevertheless. The steering of the Sonet felt more connected with being light enough at low speeds but having the required direct feeling at high speed.
This is the top-end turbo GT Line Sonet and it would be pricier than the equivalent Venue due to the added features. We expect Rs 11.5-11.7 lakh for this version with an ex-showroom price.
OVERALL VERDICT - 4/5
The Sonet is currently the best compact SUV since it covers almost everything that one wants from a compact SUV except a slightly cramped back seat space. Be it the stunning looks or the long equipment list or the fact that it feels sporty. It is the most desirable compact SUV around and offers you plenty of choice while pricing would not be far off from the Venue also which means it would have great value. Wait for this to be launched in a few days!
OUR PICK FROM THE RANGE
Althought the fully loaded top spec 1.0 litre Turbo Petrol DCT GT Line GTX+ and 1.5 litre Diesel GTX+ with Automatic Transmission with all the tech, comfort and connected features is the one your heart will want to buy, It will be priced between Rs 11.5 lakhs for Petrol Semi-Automatic, Rs 12.5 lakhs for Petrol DCT Automatic, Rs 12.2 lakhs for Diesel Manual and Rs 13 lakhs for Diesel Automatic.
For value buyers, we would recommend the mid variant of Kia Sonet Tech Line HTK+ Petrol which is available with 1.2l petrol with manual transmission or powerful 1.0 turbo petrol with iMT semi-automatic transmission or DCT Automatic
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