Exactly a year after Kia Motors launched its Seltos SUV in the Indian market and marked its debut in the competitive SUV segment, the company is all set to introduce the Sonet compact SUV.
Revealed as a concept at the Auto Expo 2020 in New Delhi, the company is to have the world premiere of the production-ready model in India on August 7, 2020.
Kia Motors is pinning strong hopes on the success of the Sonet in India. As per the company's Q1 FY2020 results presentation released on April 24 and reviewed by Autocar Professional, production of the Kia Sonet is slated to commence in the third quarter of CY2020. Importantly, Kia has chalked out a sales target of 70,000 units a year for the upcoming compact SUV in year one.
Interestingly, India will be the sole production base in the world for the Sonet and there's huge export potential for the snazzy compact SUV. Speaking to Autocar India earlier this year, Han-Woo Park, then president and CEO of Kia Motors, said: "When our global partners saw the Sonet, they got a shock. This is a model everyone wants to have. The Sonet will be the symbolic model for our exports from India.”
Compact SUV with a big mission
As the Sonet measures less than 4 metres long, it complies with India’s ‘small car’ regulations, making it Kia’s smallest SUV yet. Although the model will share its platform and basic mechanicals with the Hyundai Venue, the Korean carmaker has gone to great lengths in order to differentiate the Sonet compact SUV from its cousin (Venue), apart from the distinctive, and visibly more muscular design.
The Sonet will have three engine options – a 1.2 petrol, a 1.0 turbo-petrol and a 1.5 diesel – which are the same units seen in the Hyundai Venue. Gearbox choices are also expected to be the same as the Venue, with the 1.2-petrol getting a 5-speed manual, the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and 1.5-diesel getting a 6-speed manual and the former will also likely get a 7-speed DCT automatic gearbox. The Kia Sonet is also expected to go one-up on the Venue with a diesel-automatic powertrain option. Additionally, the Sonet will also receive more equipment such as the Kia Seltos’ 10.25-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and a large sunroof is also a possibility.
According to Autocar India, Kia is expected to position the Sonet on the higher side of the compact SUV segment, with prices expected to be in the Rs 700,000-12 lakh (ex-showroom) bracket. Its rivals will include the Tata Nexon, Maruti Vitara Brezza, the Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300 and Ford EcoSport.