Kia Sonet compact SUV revealed
Making waves at the 2020 Auto Expo in New Delhi, the pint-size SUV presents strong visual styling. While the big wheels and flashy body kit may be toned down for the production version, the Sonet’s small footprint will provide Kia with a cut-price high-riding compact SUV in emerging markets.
Featuring Kia’s trademark ‘tigernose’ grille and ‘tiger-eyeline’ daytime running lights, the Kia Sonet is expected to be launched in its key market of India in the second half of 2020 and will offer high-tech features such as a big 10.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system.
This is likely to have the same twin-phone pairing set-up — and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality — as the Seltos, while other features also mirror its bigger brother, such as a Bose premium audio system and an ‘intelligent’ manual transmission.
The latter may mean the production version of the car will have an eco mode to save fuel, but like many cars specific to the Indian market the focus will be on a low entry-level price, meaning safety features are unlikely to match Australian or European expectations.
Kia has not said what engine will power the Sonet, but likely candidates include a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine or a slightly larger turbo-diesel engine.
But despite the Korean car-maker calling the Sonet a “global compact SUV”, it’s understood that Kia will not sell the new model in Australia, for which it recently confirmed the all-new and similarly sized Kia Stonic.
Despite ruling the Stonic out for Australia when it was first revealed in 2017, after which it was released in Europe, Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith last month said the Kia Stonic will be released in Australia in late 2020 after all.
Given the Sonet is roughly the same size as the Stonic (and sister brand Hyundai’s new venue city-SUV), it’s all but certain that Kia will not double up on its compact SUV offerings Down Under, ruling out the former vehicle for our market.
The Kia Stonic is based on the same platform as the Kia Rio and is tipped to be powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine matched to either six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
By the time the Stonic arrives in Australia later this year it will have undergone a facelift and, potentially, equipment upgrades.
The Korean-made Kia Stonic will likely undercut the $24,990 starting price of the base 2.0-litre auto Seltos, but whether it matches the sharp price points of smaller Asian SUVs such as the Hyundai Venue ($19,990) and Mazda CX-3 ($22,710) remains to be seen.