Kia Motors Corporation, revealed the Kia Sonet to the world today in a digital presentation. Manufactured at Kia’s state-of-the-art production facility at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, the Sonet is Kia’s all-new smart urban compact SUV, and the brand’s latest made-in-India global product after the Seltos. The new Sonet marks Kia Motors’ entry into the burgeoning compact SUV segment, and sets new benchmarks with its first-in-class features.
The world premiere of the production-ready model follows the global unveiling of the Sonet concept at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2020. Sales of the new car will commence soon in India, with sales in many of Kia’s global markets due to follow.
The all-new Sonet incorporates Kia’s DNA of emotive styling along with a premium and youthful appeal to create a strong road presence. Displaying a dynamic stance in a confident, compact body, the Sonet showcases a range of styling attributes to make it stand apart on roads around the world. This includes a fresh interpretation of Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, flanked by ‘heart beat’ LED DRLs (daytime running lights), shaped like the electric pulse of a heart, with a stylish front skid plate beneath. Its sporty silhouette is enhanced by the unique design and structure of its C-pillar, matched with a wraparound rear-windscreen. The ‘heart beat’ LED tail lamps also adorn the rear.
Inside, the Sonet is designed around the driver, with a well laid-out, easy-to-use connected infotainment and cluster interface, and high quality materials all around. Despite compact exterior dimensions, the interior of the Sonet offers ample, ergonomic space for all passengers.
The Sonet will be offered with multiple powertrain options to suit virtually all requirements in this segment. A choice of two gasoline engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) – and an efficient 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine are available with a choice of five transmissions. This includes five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT six-speed automatic, and Kia’s revolutionary new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission (iMT). The latter is a technological breakthrough from Kia, offering fatigue-free driving thanks to the absence of a clutch pedal, yet the same driver control as a conventional manual transmission. For the first time in this segment, the Sonet also offers its 1.5-liter diesel engine with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The Sonet’s dynamics and suspension set-up have been tuned by Kia engineers to match its exuberant design and Kia’s sporty and youthful brand image, offering high driving pleasure for enthusiasts.
To suit the requirements of a wide array of customers, the Sonet will be offered in a dual trim concept. This includes the sporty GT-Line trim which enhances the Sonet’s racy appeal for enthusiasts via its multiple design and functional elements, both inside and out. GT-Line models offer an extra dash of sportiness to the Sonet and highlight its dynamic presence on the road.
What’s more, the Sonet is loaded with multiple segment-first features offering complete comfort, convenience, safety and optimum driving pleasure to customers. This includes:
- Largest and best-in-class 10.25-inch (26.03 cm) HD touchscreen with navigation and live traffic
- Smart Pure Air Purifier with virus protection
- BOSE Premium seven-speaker audio with sub-woofer
- Ventilated driver and front-passenger seats
- LED Sound Mood Lighting
- Remote engine start for automatic and manual transmission via Smart Key
- Over-the-air (OTA) map updates
- Multi-drive & traction modes and grip control for automatic models
- Wireless smartphone charger with cooling function
The all-new Kia Sonet is testament to Kia’s focus on consumer insight-driven product innovation and orientation. It is targeted towards the young generation who are tech-savvy, aspirational and highly connected socially. The Sonet will be launched in India this festive season, in line with Kia Motors India’s promise of offering an all-new product every six to nine months.
Powertrain and performance
In keeping with Kia’s motto of ‘The Power to Surprise’, the Sonet offers a surprisingly wide range of powertrain choices in its class. With a choice of three engines and five transmissions, there is an engine-transmission combination for virtually every customer need in this segment. Two petrol engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi – and an efficient 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine are offered.
The Sonet comes with five transmission options: five- and six-speed manuals, an intuitive seven-speed DCT, six-speed automatic, and Kia’s revolutionary new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission. Additionally, automatic variants of the Sonet offer Multi-Drive and Traction Modes for added convenience, driver-confidence and safety.
Smartstream six-speed iMT
The Sonet is equipped with this revolutionary gearbox, offering a balance between control and convenience. The six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission will redefine the driving experience in India. The iMT is unique in the sense there is no clutch pedal, but there is a gear lever. The clutch is electronically actuated when the driver intends to change gears using the lever, re-engaging when the shift is complete. A sensor detects the movement of the gear lever and disengages the clutch smoothly. When the gears are engaged, the clutch re-engages and gear shift is completed.
The intention sensor is programmed not to activate with only small movements – for instance, if the driver knocks the shift lever. Instead, it sends a signal only when the gear lever has shifted further than a programmed threshold. Essentially, one can drive it like a manual transmission car without having to engage the clutch pedal. This system has been tested extensively on Indian roads in typical Indian driving conditions, and programmed to offer a seamless, smooth and enjoyable driving experience.
Highlights of the Smartstream six-speed iMT
- Less driver fatigue: no need to use a clutch pedal, especially in stop-go traffic
- Longer clutch life: electronically actuated, with no opportunity to ride the clutch
- Smoother ride: clutch release is seamless, offering a smooth manual gear change
What’s more, the iMT has been carefully engineered to anticipate all driving conditions. For example, during a hill-start, an RPM control module prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards. The innovative gearbox has also been programmed not to stall when it sitting in a higher gear at low speeds. The system is intuitive and will feel familiar to drivers of all experience levels.
Customer Safety is an utmost priority for Kia Motors globally. More than two thirds of the Sonet’s body is made up of high strength and advanced high strength steel, creating a lightweight yet robust structure. Furthermore, Kia has ensured that every drive in the Sonet is as relaxing and safe as possible thanks to an array of safety measures, created in line with Kia’s own five pillars of safety: Active, Passive, Health, Security and Maintenance. Among the Sonet’s key safety features are:
- Six airbags
- ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake force distribution)
- ESC (Electronic Stability Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) and BA (brake assist)
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Projector fog lamps
- Highline tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
- Auto headlamps
- ISOFIX child-seat anchoring points