Decent build quality, six airbags and a backseat that isn't the best but is comfortable enough make the Sonet a front-runner for small families looking for a modern BS VI-ready car that is well-equipped with technology and practical features, says Pavan Lall.
Korean car-maker Kia made waves in the Indian market with the Seltos, its debut vehicle, that took competitors on in the city SUV space and generated strong volumes last year.
The manufacturer then quickly followed the Seltos with a larger, more premium SUV, the Carnival. And now it has brought the Sonet, which is clearly the company's pitch at conquering the small SUV segment. Not that this vehicle looks small by any stretch of the imagination.
With its edgy, sculpted front grill and funky body language, the Sonet seems like a standard-sized substantial vehicle when on the road.
It's priced between Rs 6.71 lakhs and Rs 12 lakh, making it a compelling choice for what it offers.
Its interiors are well-designed, with comfortable seats that more than compensate for the lightweight frame. The version I drove was the GT line automatic in diesel with a 1.5-litre engine in a six-speed auto transmission. This is the same engine that's there in the Seltos and the Hyundai Creta.
So what does Sonet stand for? The name, it turns out, has been derived from SOcial NETwork, which makes sense given its list of millennial-directed features.
These include a high-definition, 10-inch touchscreen, a fully connected car with maps, wake-up commands and voice activation for various things such as defrosting the windows, tuning the climate control and more.
The car's LED headlights and unique stitching inside set it apart from the other variants.
The other tricks in the kitty include a Bose seven-speaker sound system (not seen even in pricier cars), ventilated seats, electric sunroof, traction control for mud and snow, smart air purifier with virus and bacteria protection and mood ambient lighting for the interiors.
When asked what makes Kia's recently introduced vehicles sell this well in India, the management indicated that they bring in the same technology that is offered in other, more competitive markets. Which is to say that they don't treat Indian customers differently.
The Sonet makes for a comfortable car. It comes alive with the flick of a start button and moves smoothly with a nice linear acceleration.
On the highway, it pulls along with ease and offers smooth driving experience, thanks to the automatic transmission, and also has little competition from others in this price and size segment.
The boot can easily accommodate two large suitcases, making it an appropriate choice for outstation jaunts for small families.
Decent build quality, six airbags and a backseat that isn't the best but is comfortable enough make the Sonet a front-runner for small families looking for a modern BS VI-ready car that is well-equipped with technology and practical features.
The word “sonnet” comes from the Old Occitan phrase “sonnet”, which means “little song”. This car holds true to that.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com