2021 Kia Sonet First Look: A Tiny, Trendy SUV for (Most of) the World

A Kia what now? Meet the Sonet, a brand new tiny crossover being launched for India that Kia says will quickly be out there in different international markets. It isn’t fully clear if the U.S. is amongst these markets, however it appears unlikely given Kia’s well-fleshed-out small-SUV lineup right here. The Sonet is kind of the identical dimension as Hyundai’s Venue—which is offered in America—that means it’d overlap closely with the Kia Soul and, to some extent, the recently introduced Seltos that sneaks in between the subcompact Soul and the compact Sportage.

What Is the Kia Sonet?

The Sonet is a sub-subcompact SUV that appears kind of like a squished mashup of a Sportage and a Seltos, with dinky little wheels and a bubbly roof. It’s cute in the way in which most small issues are cute, and fascinating particulars abound, from the body-color strip behind the rear doorways that wraps over the black roof to the deeply sculpted physique sides. Lesser trim ranges get body-color roofs, however reduce traces outline the identical roll-hoop-style component highlighted on the GT-spec Sonets.

That applies doubly to the inside, which has cool vertically oriented air vents, a big out there 10.3-inch central show, and large digital readouts for pace and local weather controls. The gauge cluster, particularly, has a nifty binnacle design with a 4.2-inch display on one facet that may show navigation directions, plus wraparound readouts for gas stage, engine temperature, and the tachometer.

A Gaggle of Transmissions

For one thing so small, the Sonet positive provides a bevy of powertrain choices. There are two fuel engines—a 1.2-liter 4 and a 1.0-liter turbo—and a 1.5-liter diesel. Kia went nuts with the Sonet’s transmission choices, furnishing 5 (!) of the issues: A five-speed guide, a six-speed guide, a segment-exclusive (in India) six-speed automated for the diesel engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automated, and the identical i-MT clutch-pedal-less manual launched within the India-market Hyundai Venue. That final transmission simply is essentially the most fascinating of the bunch, because it retains a standard guide shifter however lacks a clutch pedal; transferring the shift lever initiates an automatic clutching course of.

Kia doesn’t specify, however it appears as if the Sonet is front-wheel-drive, just like the Venue. With automotive security a rising matter of curiosity in India, particularly amongst low-cost autos, the Sonet boasts a rash of airbags, child-seat anchors, anti-lock brakes, and digital stability management. And whereas the Kia is certainly going to be low-cost, it doesn’t look it, which is able to go well with it effectively if and when it spreads to different markets. Will it come Stateside? If Kia sees room beneath the Soul, perhaps, however that’s a skinny slice of the market and the corporate signifies it has no plans to take action on the moement. The Soul begins at $18,610, so the Sonet must land within the $15,000 area to make any sense, however by no means say by no means in a market that may’t get sufficient crossover SUVs.

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