First Look: 2020 Kia Sonet premiered in India

Kia Sonet - Topgear Magazine Online
Kia Sonet (Image: BBC TopGear India)

This is it – Kia has finally taken the wraps off the Sonet to reveal the production-spec vehicle’s exterior and interiors. The Sonet is Kia’s highly anticipated offering in the hotly contested sub-four metre compact SUV segment and will compete against the likes of the Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300 and its own sibling the Hyundai Venue, all of which have brought good sales figures to their respective brands. Will the Sonet eat into this segment just like it did with the Seltos in the segment above? Only time will ascertain, but we sure did return very impressed from the global preview event which allowed us to examine the Sonet up close.

Kia Sonet
The Sonet is Kia’s highly anticipated offering in the hotly contested sub-four metre compact SUV segment and will compete against the likes of the Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300 and its own sibling the Hyundai Venue

First showcased at the Auto Expo 2020, the Sonet was sure to attract a lot of attention for its bold and dynamic styling along with a very imposing front and we are happy to report, the production-spec variant looks very identical to the concept. The silhouette has largely been retained and so have the design cues which mean it still is a head turner. Starting up front, you’ll immediately recognise this to be a Kia, thanks to the Tiger-nose inspired grille that’s surrounded by a 3D embossed dark-chrome garnish. The GT-Line variant shown to us also got the badging upfront along with red inserts on the piano black finished grille, and it all adds up to look very premium. The opulence is further accentuated by the headlamps and the ‘heartbeat effect’ DRLs within them – there is no denying the masses will recognise the car just by its DRLs which also double up as turn indicators.

Kia Sonet
The front bumper plays a few visual tricks as well – it’s sculpted to make it look tough and hides the compact dimensions rather well

The front bumper plays a few visual tricks as well – it’s sculpted to make it look tough and hides the compact dimensions rather well. It integrates two halogen powered projector fog-lamps and a faux skid plate on the chin. The sculpted bonnet adds to its muscular appeal and the neat shut lines make this quiet a looker. Be sure to grab a million eye balls when you drive this thing!

Kia Sonet
The first thing to grab your attention would be the dual tone colour scheme and the smartly designed 16-inch alloy wheels

Moving to the side is when you’ll realise the compactness of the Sonet. The short wheelbase does hamper the space on the inside – but more on that later. For now, the first thing to grab your attention would be the dual tone colour scheme and the smartly designed 16-inch alloy wheels. I absolutely love the red front-brake callipers, adds to the sportiness it has to offer. Interestingly, there wasn’t a passive entry button on the passenger side and I really wish Kia integrates that on both sides, at least on the top-spec trims!

Kia Sonet
Split LED taillights on the rear which sport five vertically slat lighting elements

The rear is where things start getting interesting again – you get split LED taillights on the rear which sport five vertically slat lighting elements that light up further on braking , and while we are yet to pit it against its rivals, I feel the Sonet has the best illumination design of them all. Adding to this charismatic effect is the vertical connecting strip between the two tail lights – it’s not illuminated but does have a reflector underneath. The tail-gate holds the prominent Kia logo however feels rather flat, especially on a SUV that is otherwise beautifully chiselled. The boot release is placed quiet low, and that could mean dirty hands on a wet day. What’s nice though is the rear bumper design; it adds a piano black treatment with a faux diffuser integrated towards the lower end and it all congregates seamlessly. Boot space on the Sonet can be termed decent – it sure will pack a few suitcases; however you’ll really have to haul them over the high loading lip.

Kia Sonet
The Sonet comes with Kia’s native suite of UVO connected technology with 57 features including the seamless UVO – Voice Assist

Step inside the cabin and the first thing to grab your attention is the 10.25-inch touchscreen unit which is neatly integrated in the same housing as the instrument cluster, a layout we’ve seen on the Seltos as well. Then there’s the chunky flat-bottom steering wheel which also gets red stitching and further complimenting the sporty appeal are the aluminium finished pedals. The instrument cluster felts a bit too cramped but that’s just something you’ll get used to. What’s nice though is the addition of tyre pressure monitor and turn by turn navigation on offer.

Kia Sonet
The Sonet comes with segment-first front ventilated seats

The wide front seats themselves are nice and welcoming. Interestingly, the Sonet is the first car in its segment to come with front ventilated seats! Speaking of segment first features, the Sonet also sports an air-purifier neatly integrated in the central armrest. There sure is a sunroof on offer and to make things more enjoyable are the seven-speaker Bose sound system.

Kia Sonet
The rear passengers get their individual centre-mounted AC vents

Move to rear seats and this is where the compact dimensions hit the hardest, while there is ample amount of headroom, the knee room definitely feels limited and that could be a deal breaker especially for someone taller than the average Indian. On the plus side, the rear passengers get their individual centre-mounted AC vents, a central armrest with two cup holders and a 12V socket. The bench is wide and flat and offers generous under-thigh support as well. The seats felt a bit too upright for my liking, but there certainly is good visibility all-around, thanks to the large glass house. I really like the embossed treatment on the rear AC vents, essentially carried forward from the front vents and the grille, also to mention the red-stitching on the rear armrest.

Kia Sonet
The ‘heartbeat’ LED DRLs that double up as turn-indicators

Yes, a lot of you are eager to know how the Sonet drives but you’ll have to wait for a little longer till Kia lends us a test car for a full, comprehensive review. Until then, stay tuned for more updates from the auto industry and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.