Kia Motors India has commenced pre-bookings for its new smart urban compact SUV Sonet, beginning August 20, 2020 at 00:00am. Pre-bookings can be done through Kia dealerships across the country or online on Kia Motors India’s official website www.kia.com/in for Rs 25,000.
A lot is riding on the Sonet, Kia’s third product in India after the game-changing Seltos SUV and Carnival MPV. Revealed on August 7, the Sonet, just like the Seltos, will be offered in global markets as well. Importantly, in phase 1, the vehicle is being manufactured only in India and offered to Indian customers first followed by export to over 70 markets including Middle-East and Africa, Latin America and Asia.
As revealed by Autocar Professional on July 23, Kia Motors India is has chalked out an ambitious sales target of 100,000 units in India and another 50,000 units to be exported in the first year of the compact SUV’s production. The plan also reveals September 2020 to be the launch month for the snazzy Sonet. These figures are an upward revision of the Sonet sales target announced in April 2020, which called for 70,000 units in year one.
Kia Motors India is already playing a strong role in the company's global scheme of things. In Q1 2020, the Indian operations have contributed 5.5% to total revenues from sales of the Seltos and Carnival.
According to Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO, Kia Motors India, “The Sonet is Kia’s answer to customers in the compact SUV segment who want style and substance, quality and features, performance and technology, comfort and safety in one compelling package. The Sonet has been engineered and built with Indian inputs and is a global model for Kia from India. India is the first country in the world where the Sonet goes on sale, and with the commencement of pre-bookings, we are confident our smart urban compact SUV will be warmly received in the country.”
Manufactured at Kia’s state-of-the-art 300,000-units-per-annum production facility at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, the Sonet marks a defining chapter for Kia Motors India and in the growing compact SUV segment.
Styling and interior
In line with Kia’s distinctive design DNA, the Sonet’s emotive and bold design combines the brand’s signature design traits, including the iconic ‘tiger nose’ grille, with a three-dimensional ‘stepwell’ geometric grille mesh, making a strong visual impression inspired by Indian architecture. The front boasts a distinctive pair of LED headlamps with Kia’s signature heart beat DRL theme, giving the Sonet a powerful and appealing face.
The upright bonnet and the rising window line on the side also add to the character of the crossover. The side body cladding around the car and 215-section tyres on 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels add to the aggressive stance with a rugged appeal. At the rear, Kia designers have played heavily with lights, plastic and glass and concealed the C-pillar in a black plastic cladding to give a wraparound treatment to the rear windshield. The LED tail lamps also get the signature heart beat treatment and there’s a thin stripe of LED joining the lamps on the either side.
On the inside, the Sonet offers a sophisticated and lively cabin experience with an amalgamation of various textures and shapes. The sweeping dashboard and a stylish yet minimalist centre console call for a pleasing visual experience inside the car that also feels hugely modern. The layered vertical AC vents, flat-bottom steering wheel, fully-digital instrument cluster, aluminium-finished pedals, sunroof and an all-black theme would together help make the Sonet instantly appeal to the youngsters.
Kia has also offered a few segment-first features including a 10.25-inch touch-screen infotainment system that offers 57 of its connected features under the UVO connected car platform. It also comes paired with a 7-speaker sound system from Bose. Moreover, the company has introduced ventilated front seats, a cooled wireless mobile phone charger, driving modes for the automatic variants as well as front parking sensors which are so far unheard of in the mass-market compact crossover segment.
In line with the company’s strategy that it adopted while entering the Indian market with the Seltos in August last year, the Sonet too will be offered with multiple powertrain options to suit virtually all requirements in compact crossover segment. It will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.2-litre four-cylinder and a relatively powerful 1.0-litre three-cylinder T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) – along with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, all conforming to the BS VI norms.
The engines will be available with a choice of five transmissions that would include five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT, six-speed torque convertor automatic, and Kia’s innovative new six-speed clutch-less manual transmission (iMT) that has also been recently introduced in the Hyundai Venue. The latter offers fatigue-free driving thanks to the absence of a clutch pedal, yet the driver is able to control the car like a conventional manual transmission.
Kia is also betting big on the demand for diesel automatics and for the first time in this segment, the Sonet will also offer its 1.5-litre diesel engine with the six-speed automatic transmission option.
In terms of safety features as well, Kia has gone all out and equipped the Sonet with active and passive features such as dual airbags and ABS and EBD as standard. The higher variants will see the list getting bigger with six airbags, ESC, hill-hold assist, vehicle stability management, brake assist and tyre pressure monitoring system making their way into the crossover.
Kia Motors India says it will announce the prices of the multiple Sonet variants will be announced soon. The Korean carmaker also has on hand a completely paperless, contactless digital platform for the new car buying process end-to-end. The company says it pioneered this feature right at the inception of its retail business in August 2019.
Also view: Kia Sonet Image Gallery
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