Motoring

Review: Kia Sonet 1.0T EX DCT

Kia‘s popular Sonet has received a mid-cycle refresh for 2024, boasting cosmetic and tech enhancements. CAR Magazine took to the streets to test it out. Here’s a rundown of what they think of the vehicle.

The Kia Sonet burst onto the scene in 2020, offering a blend of style, space and value in the compact SUV segment. It quickly carved out a niche for itself, particularly among budget-conscious buyers seeking a feature-rich and practical urban runabout. 

Kia’s new design language, “Opposites United,” takes centre stage on the 2024 Sonet. This facelift brings the Sonet into line with Kia’s modern design aesthetic. The previous Sonet, while attractive, wasn’t the most distinctive offering. The new design gives the Sonet a bolder and more assertive stance.

What is new on the Kia Sonet?

The signature ‘tiger nose’ grille remains a focal point, and is flanked by new LED headlights that incorporate striking ‘Star Map’  lighting signatures. Repositioned daytime-running lights and fog lamps complete the more modern look. At the rear,  the model receives a new tailgate to accommodate the new taillights with a connecting LED bar, another hallmark of the new Kia design language. The new updates give the Sonet a more mature and upmarket presence. The wheels also see a refresh – selection of newly styled 16-inch alloy wheels are now available.

Sonet

Image: Kia

Step inside, and the changes are more subtle. The overall layout remains familiar, with a focus on practicality and ergonomics. The materials used feel good, and the cabin has a contemporary design aesthetic. However, some might find the interior refresh a bit conservative compared to the bolder exterior transformation. The higher-end trims benefit from a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that displays vital information clearly. The infotainment system, while not the most cutting-edge, remains user-friendly and supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration.

The biggest news on the tech front comes with the introduction of a new camera-based advanced driver-assistance system. This replaces the radar-based setup used in some previous Kia models, and offers features like lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance, and blind-spot monitoring.

What’s the Kia Sonet 1.0T EX DCT like to drive?

Kia hasn’t made any significant changes under the bonnet. The Sonet continues to be offered with familiar options: a Kappa 1.0 T-GDi three-cylinder petrol and a Gamma 1.5 MPI turbocharged petrol engine. Outputs for both engine options are unchanged with the 1.5l producing 85 kW @ 6 300 r/min and 144 N.m @4 500 r/min and the three-cylinder T-GDI 88 kW @ 6 000 r/min and 172 N.m @ 1 500 – 4 000 r/min.

With keys in hand, I jumped in the 1.0-litre T-GDi EX for the short stint of driving that lay ahead. The route was fairly simple, with the starting point being Kia’s dealership in Umhlanga. We headed to Ballito for lunch, then headed back to the starting point. The 1.0-litre turbo remains the pick of the bunch, offering a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency. The onboard trip computer revealed an average fuel consumption of  6.5 litres/100 km after completing the loop. It delivers punchy acceleration, especially in lower gears, making navigating city traffic a breeze.

Sonet

Image: Kia

Related: DRIVEN: Kia Sonet 1,0 T-GDi 7DCT EX

Sticking with the familiar seven-speed DCT, the 1.0-litre Sonet remains a pleasant companion on the open road. Gear changes were smooth and the transmission responded eagerly to throttle inputs, making overtaking manoeuvres a stress-free affair. While the ride remained comfortable, a high-speed jaunt revealed a slight Achilles’ heel – wind noise. With all windows firmly shut, a faint whistle could be detected, a minor intrusion into the otherwise serene cabin.

Sonet

Image: Kia

The Kia Sonet’s core strengths – practicality, value, and a comfortable ride – remain firmly intact. The suspension setup effectively absorbs bumps and road imperfections. The steering feels light and direct at city speeds, but it can feel a touch vague at higher speeds.

How much does the 2024 Kia Sonet Cost?

  • Kia Sonet 1.5 LX Manual – R366 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 LX CVT – R391 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 EX CVT – R411 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.0 T-GDi EX DCT – R436 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 EX Plus CVT – R454 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 SX CVT – R484 995

What are the Kia Sonet’s rivals?

So, where does the refreshed Sonet sit in the market? It continues to be a compelling option for budget-conscious buyers seeking a feature-rich and practical urban crossover. The visual and technological upgrades enhance its overall appeal, keeping it competitive against established rivals like the  Volkswagen T-Cross, Hyundai Venue, and Nissan Magnite. With pricing starting from R366 995 – R459 995, the Kia Sonet presents itself as a worthy opponent to the T-Cross which starts at R401 600 – R545 200.

Verdict

While the driving experience itself hasn’t been revolutionised, the refreshed Kia Sonet feels like a more mature and well-rounded package. It boasts a bolder design that aligns with Kia’s new design philosophy, improved technology and a touch more refinement. Kia has successfully added some spice to the Sonet recipe, ensuring it remains a contender in the fiercely competitive compact SUV segment.

Fast Facts

  • Price:  R436 995
  • Engine:  1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbopetrol
  • Transmission: 7- Speed DCT
  • Power: 88 kW @ 6 000 r/min
  • Torque: 172 N.m @ 1 500 – 4 000 r/min.
  • 0-100 km/h: 11.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 185 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 6.5 L/100 km
  • Emissions: 137 g/km

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The post Review: Kia Sonet 1.0T EX DCT appeared first on CAR Magazine.

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