2021 Kia Sonet: new kid on the blockFriday, March 05, 2021
AS the demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) continues unabated, the market has seen a shift, not in the middle, but at either end. Buyers want either smaller SUVs to fit their urban lifestyles or larger ones for comfort, family or off-road adventures. Kia has responded with the 2021 Sonet — its smallest SUV — sitting below the recently introduced Seltos, and joining brand stalwarts, Soul, Sportage and Sorento locally.
For design, it borrows a bit from all, starting with the Sorento's signature tiger grille. The physical layout is reminiscent of the very upright and square Soul, but without the more outlandish elements creating a design aimed at the wider public. The overall appearance is very attractive and modern. The GT Line trim comes with the latest in headlight technology, LEDs, and has standard diamond-cut 16-inch alloy wheels for that tall riding faux-rugged look.
Inside, the 2021 Sonet GT Line is very well appointed for this class of subcompact crossover SUV. Seating is the traditional commanding position that all SUV buyers want as well as comfortable for everyday use. The external dimensions say small, but interior space isn't compromised giving the Sonet plenty of room for passengers and cargo, front and rear. Keyless entry makes accessing it all a simple task. The sense of size is enhanced by low noise during vehicle operation and a sunroof shedding light on a clean cabin design, including some very stylish air vents. There are soft-touch materials at the key points joined by piano gloss black accents. Those concerned about family safety can note six airbags in the Sonet.
The instrumentation is large and clear, due to Kia updating its Supervision Cluster by mixing a 4.2-inch digital screen with analogue gauges. The next largest screen is that of the infotainment system at eight inches. As with all Kias, it runs fast and smooth for exceptional operation. Menus are intuitive making smartphone connectivity a breeze. There's even Android Auto, both wired and wireless for even more options. It all culminates in a great Bose audio system. Here again, the Sonet borrows from its brothers, taking the fun vibe of the music-driven lights originated in the Soul. Drivers can crank up the tunes while door lights dance to the music in one of the several modes available.
The Sonet won't stress the driver as it's tuned for little effort. The steering is light, but direct which is in tune with the chassis. The vehicle has Kia's sporty feel having a very responsive chassis, yet never harsh to upset occupants. The drivetrain is set for urban operation. The 1.5-litre engine and six-speed constantly variable transmission (CVT) are smooth in the low and midrange portions of the power band. In traffic the combination of all these elements give the Sonet a very nimble feel allowing it to dive through traffic. Over long distances the Sonet is best driven in a relaxed manner.
The 2021 Kia Sonet GT Line, like many Kias, brings a lot into the segment by blending successful pieces of the SUV puzzle from its other brand siblings. It has a touch of fun from the Soul, is spacious and refined like the larger Sorento, and easy to drive due to a pinch of athleticism from the Sportage. This is all wrapped in a more traditional SUV styling of the Seltos.
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