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Published on: Aug. 24, 2020, 2:41 p.m.
Competition for compact SUVs
  • The Kia Sonet

By S.M. Boothem

After tasting success in India with its maiden product, the Seltos, Kia Motors India launched the Carnival premium MPV and showcased the Sonet, a concept SUV, at the Auto Expo 2020 held early this year. The Sonet is the third product from the Korean car maker. India has become the top choice for the majority of automotive manufacturers to showcase international brands and is a perfect launchpad for their products.  The new Sonet is a smart, urban compact SUV, made in India – a product for India and the world.

Kia Motors Corporation, revealed the Kia Sonet to the world in a digital presentation. It is manufactured at Kia’s state-of-the-art production facility at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh and marks Kia Motors’ entry into the compact SUV segment, setting new benchmarks with its first-in-class features.

“Kia Motors continues to be recognised globally through products which offer exquisite design and world-class quality, along with ‘The Power to Surprise’. Everything about the Sonet is uniquely Kia and is sure to delight both drivers and passengers,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO at Kia Motors Corporation. “With its aggressive and modern design language, fun-to-drive dynamics, and Kia’s latest high-tech features, the Sonet puts an exclamation point on our ambition to make Kia the brand of choice, especially among millennial and Gen Z consumers.”

The 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 ‘heartbeat’ LED DRLs. Inside, the Sonet is designed around the driver, with a well laid-out, easy-to-use connected infotainment and cluster interface with high-quality materials. The interior of the Sonet offers ample, ergonomic space for all passengers.
 
Best-in-class experience

“We are extremely excited to introduce the Sonet, which is made in India for the world. After the success of the Seltos and Carnival, we are confident that Kia will revolutionise yet another market segment in India with the Sonet by addressing the unmet needs and aspirations of customers,” said Kookhyun Shim, MD and CEO at Kia Motors India. “The Kia Sonet is designed and developed to deliver a best-in-class experience in quality, design, technology, features and drivability to attract a wide spectrum of customers across segments.”

The Sonet will be offered with multiple powertrain options to suit virtually all requirements in this segment. A choice of two petrol engines – a versatile Smartstream 1.2-litre four-cylinder and powerful 1.0 T-GDi (turbocharged petrol direct injection) – and an efficient 1.5-litre CRDi diesel engine are available with a choice of five transmissions. For the first time in this segment, the Sonet also offers its 1.5-litre diesel engine with the six-speed automatic transmission.

The Sonet is also loaded with multiple segment-first features offering comfort, convenience, safety and optimum driving pleasure to customers. A few features include: 10.25-inch HD touchscreen with navigation and live traffic, air purifier with virus protection, Bose seven-speaker audio, remote engine start for automatic and manual transmission via UVO connect and smart key and wireless smartphone charger with cooling function. The Sonet is targeted at the young generation.

Customer Safety is a priority for Kia Motors globally. More than two-thirds of the Sonet’s body is made up of advanced high strength steel, creating a lightweight yet robust structure. It is developed and engineered from the ground-up jointly between Kia Motors India and Kia’s global R&D headquarters in South Korea. The new SUV has been through extensive road tests in India, where Indian and South Korean engineers in Sonet prototypes covered over 100,000 km in all climatic conditions across India. 

The company has achieved a milestone of one lakh cumulative sales in 11 months of operations in India. Within just two months of its launch, the Kia Seltos emerged as the highest-selling SUV in the segment and marked Kia’s entry in the esteemed list of top five carmakers in India. Kia’s second product, the Carnival, is gaining momentum in the MPV segment.  The compact SUV is a tough segment and the new Kia Sonet, loaded with plenty of features will compete with the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon and Ford Ecosport. Whether the Sonet will follow the success story of the Seltos remains to be seen.

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