MPV’s, SUV’s, Crossovers…..and each one has sub-categories of mini, compact, mid-size and full-size. People want multi-purpose vehicles for both on-road and off-road driving and car manufacturers have taken note of that! The options for such vehicles are diverse and if you look hard enough, you will find something that suits your needs and your budget.

I had the privilege of attending the launch of the Kia Sonet in South Africa earlier this year, where I got to drive the manual and the CVT in the beautiful Western Cape. To test it in my day to day environment, I then recently spent a week with the Kia Sonet 1.5 CVT EX. This new compact SUV from the South Korean manufacturer is certainly one of the best its segment to launch this year. I previously owned a Kia Cerato Koup and I absolutely loved everything about the car, so I had high expectations for the Sonet. And it didn’t disappoint! So here’s my Kia Sonet review.

DRIVING THE SONET

Firstly, the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle is somewhat misleading. With an 84kW, 144Nm, 1.5lt petrol engine, the Sonet is by no means sporty, but the peppy engine does its job flawlessly.

There is sufficient power/torque for most conditions, but it does struggle a bit on steep inclines on the N14 to Krugersdorp. So you do find yourself constantly having to drop down a gear for such conditions. You do however get used to it, and it’s by no means a deal breaker.

But don’t despair, the top of the range 1.0T GT line will arrive on South African shores as the year comes to an end. I am very interested to see what the price point will be!

There is some noticeable wind noise at highway speeds, but it is definitely not annoying.

Ride quality is generally very good, both on smooth tarred surfaces as well as gravel and sandy roads, and we made a point of testing this on our way to and at The Lion and Rhino Park near Krugersdorp. I averaged 6.6l/100km

SONET EXTERIOR

It is definitely a sporty looking vehicle, with that distinct Kia front end, exterior stylish accents and stunning 16” alloys and of course, the roof rails (on the EX models), which always comes in handy at some point. In a crowded compact SUV market, the Sonet does stand out with its exterior styling. I think it looks quite sexy from the front!

SONET INTERIOR

The black/grey interior is very nice and a pleasant place to be in. For this price point, the Sonet does not feel cheap when you sit inside, as is the case with most other cars. I especially love the infotainment system.

The 8.0” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) integration was easy to use and very user friendly. When in reverse transmission, this screen also displays parking guidelines. via the rear view camera. There are Bluetooth and 3x USB interfaces for other media connectivity, as well as charging ports for your phone. We all know how important this is and everyone is able to charge their devices without having to argue about who gets priority. Some ergonomics were definitely taken into consideration with the design as I felt it very easy to maneuver between and across the controls and screen within the cockpit.

The leather-cloth seats are generally comfortable, no back strain or any other discomfort was noticed. My 5-year-old son did fall asleep on the drive back home, so it does say a lot about the comfort of the seats. There is generous space for three passengers in the rear, with ample storage space.

My only gripe with the interior is that the rear seats are not available in a split-configuration, so it is not as flexible as I would have liked. But the boot space of 392ltrs is ample for most daily needs, so you won’t find yourself having to drop the rear seats very often. But if you do need to do that for shopping sprees which are not adequate enough for the boot itself, rear passengers are not an option.   

Okay…sorry, I have more than one gripe, this is possibly petty but I thought I should mention it; hopefully Kia will take this into consideration when looking at improvements.
My other gripe is the sun visors: The driver sun visor doesn’t have a mirror – whilst some people may use their cell phones to powder their face or touch up their lipstick, I am more comfortable using the sun visor so I felt it’s absence.

The passenger sun visor however, does have a mirror but no option to have it covered. This can be uncomfortable if you have passengers in the rear – you tend to look at them even if you don’t want to and worse if they don’t want you to.

PRICE POINT

In case you were wondering, I thought I should include the prices to give you an indication as to how much the Kia Sonet will cost you:
1.5 MT LX from R275 995
1.5 MT EX from R295 995
1.5 CVT LX from R296 995
1.5 CVT EX from R316 995

In case you are not aware, you can visit the KIA website and arrange for a KIA to be brought to you! Click here if you’d like to test drive a Kia from the comfort of your home or workplace.

CONCLUSION

Some of its rivals in the market are Hyundai Venue, Ford Eco-Sport, Suzuki Brezza, Nissan Magnite, VW T-Cross, Honda WR-V, Toyota Urban Cruiser and a few others.

The Kia Sonet is striking to look at, not just because its sleek design but its also very practical and generously loaded with features which makes it in my opinion, excellent value for money. With Kia’s 5-year unlimited mileage warranty and roadside assistance and 4-year / 60,000km service plan on top of that, you won’t find easily find an equivalent package in the same price range.

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Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own. All images are my own and may not be used without permission.

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