Almost a year ago Kia South Africa announced that they would be introducing the Sonet SUV to our South African market. This set tongues wagging across the motoring community, after rendered images of the prospective SUV were released. Less than a year later and the Sonet tale has become a reality. We travelled to the Western Cape for a formal introduction to Kia’s new product.

Design

The Kia Sonet joins the Korean firm’s lineup of vehicles as their entry-level SUV, it’s smaller than the Seltos and is set apart from its siblings from a design perspective as well. Having seen both the rendered images and the real thing, it was to be expected that the two would not look identical. In the metal, the new Sonet borrows elements from the handsome Kia Stinger. Take that front end, for instance, it grabs your attention because of its wide grille, which coincidentally is also found on the Stinger. The SUV’s rear combination lamps also resemble that of its bigger brother. Wheel size in the new Sonet ranges between 15 and 16-inches depending on the spec and trim level. In the range-topping EX, you get the larger wheels, skid plates as well as roof rails for a better aesthetic.

Interior & tech

Since the Kia Sonet is the firm’s baby SUV, its interior is a cosey space to be in and is well equipped. There’s a freshly designed instrument cluster making use of both digital and analogue elements – it not only serves a functional purpose, but it also looks good. All Sonet variants will offer ABS and ESC, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in addition to Bluetooth. The screen mirroring will be through an 8-inch infotainment screen. Automatic headlamps and a reverse camera are also offered as standard across the range. If you move one up from the base spec (there are two variants available), you’ll also get rear park distance control and front and rear USB ports for your convenience. 

Engine

Kia has given the Sonet a 1.5-litre petrol engine in both LX and EX derivatives, available in both manual and automatic transmission options. The manual box is a 6-speed while the auto is CVT. Output figures from the 1.5 naturally aspirated engine are decent at 85 kW and 144 Nm and work well with either gearbox. Kia has plans of introducing a third variant into this lineup later in the year, this will be their range-topping GT Line and will have in it a 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit.

The new Kia Sonet comes with a 5 year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with roadside assist for the same duration, and a 4 year/60 000km service plan. The Koreans have full confidence in the reliability of their product, which is good to know.

Kia Sonet Price

Sonet 1.5 LX Manual                                                               R264,995

Sonet 1.5 LX CVT                                                                    R285,995

Sonet 1.5 EX Manual                                                              R284,995

Sonet 1.5 EX CVT                                                                   R305,995