Tuesday, May 21, 2024

2023 Kia Sonet Review, Road Test – All Three Engines

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The Kia Sonet. The mini SUV from the manufacturer that aims to take on the likes of heavyweight champions, the Tata Nexon and Brezza is finally tested by us. Kia has an aggressive strategy of giving a lot of features to models to make sure they stand out and grab attention. This SUV is no different either. Be it on the inside and outside, it has what it takes to impress a set of consumers as always. Like always there are core strengths and weaknesses of any product that comes from the Kia stable. The delay in road test was because the manufacturer was able to provide only two variants while the rest of the variants were independently sourced. We find out what the Sonet offers and doesn’t to its prospective buyers.


On the outside, the mini SUV is a sub-four meter car, but it is the most compact in its class. The design elements on the car make it stand out. Elements such as the Tiger nose grille, cool looking LED tail-lamps, a very posh looking SUV in its class for sure. The build quality on the outside seems and sounds good but as we know, most Kia cars don’t score the highest marks in crash tests. The diamond-cut 16-inch wheels and the unique head and tail lamps with LED DRL’s and LED Bar at the rear make it look premium.


On the inside, the build and quality are good and so is the expansive feature list we have explained time and again in our launch reports. You get every feature possible in the top two variants of the car while the rest of the variants are not well-specced like any other Kia. Right from Kia connect to automatic lights and wipers to reversing cameras and sunroofs, the car has it all. Does all of it work well? Yes, it does! So no complaints there! Lack of wireless android auto and apple car play continue with wired option on offer. Sound system by bose is good for a car of this size. Ambient lighting, air purifier and other aspects work quite well.


Space, well as any other Kia car, the lack of that extra shoulder and knee room you expect isn’t there. Leg and headroom continue to be in good supply. The boot space is good by segment standards. Road and wind noise inside the cabin is also well-controlled un-like most other budget cars making the Sonet, like any other Kia a pleasant place to be. Safety kit continues to be high with electronic stability control and six airbags are for higher variants and Hill Hold Assist is with the automatic variant. ABS and EBD with two airbags come as standard.


All Kia engines are smooth, free-revving, and low on NVH and the one on the Sonet is no different. Be it in any part of the rev range. Be it petrol or diesel either, that is the best part of the Kia group engines. Read our launch story for numbers on the engines. Also, the clutch is light and so is the gearbox to operate on manual. DCT shifts are jerky at low speeds and it gets seamless when it reaches higher speeds is what we saw on 1.0 Turbo petrol variant. Low and mid-range are good on the diesel and the turbo petrol motor. Top-end is good enough as well and it cruises at legal speeds easily in both engines too. Top speed for such a small car is above 160 km/hr which is mighty impressive.

This makes the Sonet good enough for city and highway duties. The naturally aspirated 1.2 petrol offers good mid-range and mediocre low and top-end power, which is best only for congested city duties. The Kappa is a screamer and is loud as well because it has to be worked hard. Fuel economy continues to be on the not so impressive side with the petrol or diesel motor while claimed numbers are high, real-life numbers continue to be lower than all its rivals. 15 km/l for the diesel in the city and 10 km/l for petrol (turbo) and 12 km/l for naturally aspirated 1.2 petrol. Highway efficiency goes higher by 25-30%, which depends on your driving style can reach the claimed numbers we have told you in our launch report.


Like most of Kia cars, the low to medium ride quality is good, but the high-speed ride can be a bit floaty. As the suspension has been tuned the same way when it comes to lower and upper stroke. This means body roll increases as speeds get higher while taking a corner or changing lanes at high speeds. Steering is light, barely precise and has decent feedback on offer which makes the car confidence-inspiring enough to push harder, but it is not recommended due to high under steer. The larger wheels will help you do so if you opt for it, but they bring the fuel economy down and don’t improve steering feedback much, so it is not worth the upgrade. With four passengers on board, suspension can feel a bit better with sane driving speeds. Brakes are good with good pedal bite. Overall, very easy to drive, but not the most fun to drive by far compared to all its rivals.

2023 Kia Sonet Review, Verdict


The Kia Sonet gets everything from the brand they can put in the SUV. The Sonet continues to be the easiest SUV to drive in its class thanks to the short footprint in every area of the SUV. The light controls make it less taxing to drive in congested cities and comfort is good as always. Space at the back is adequate, but not class-leading like another SUVs in this segment. The front and rear designs have enough change to make it stand out on the outside. The Interior is brimmed up with everything possible. With three powertrains on offer, the SUV becomes a great choice for all kinds of customers. Apart from that, the pricing seems ideal a bit high in this segment, but considering the equipment on offer, it all seems almost worth it, if not entirely.

2023 Kia Sonet Review
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Performance
  • Dynamics
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Price
  • Space
  • Features
  • Practicality
Mohit Soni
Mohit Sonihttps://www.thrustzone.com/
NOT A Commander, Director, Editor-In-This/ That, CEO, MD, President, Entrepreneur, etc etc. Just a first employee at Thrust Zone with a team of enthusiasts who love car and motorcycles more than anything else in the world, just like I do. Hashtag blessed

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