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Juliet McGuire

Banging on about the Kia Sonet…

By now you might be a bit bored of me harping on about the Kia Sonet. But guys, I can’t help that it is the best product in what must be one of the most hotly contested segments at the moment. I have now driven every model in this segment and still, the Sonet makes it to number one on my recommendation list. I convinced my mom to buy one, that should tell you how much faith I have in this car, and this brand.

THE SONET GETS A TURBO

We have been waiting patiently for this turbocharged derivative and finally it is here. But first let me address the lack of stock with the other models in the line up. There are three customers to each Sonet, this is due to supply issues, semi-conductor shortages etc, but things are starting to look up and Kia assures us that the turbo model has the opportunity to dominate the small crossover segment. The Ford EcoSport sells around 900 a month and Kia predicts the Sonet will kick ass by selling up to a 1 000. And I tend to agree with them. The EcoSport is feeling a little old now. It’s a good car, but the Sonet is better…newer.

Now back to the turbo vibes. The engine powering this little beauty is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol unit. It is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It puts out 88 kW and 172 Nm. Now, as much as I want to say that it is the engine we’ve been waiting for because of the added power, I have to say that I might just prefer the 1.5 naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine. What I am trying to say is that you don’t have to spend the extra R23 000 for 4 kW and 28 Nm. If it is only the power you’re looking at. As much as this engine is spirited, I think the 1.5-litre pot is more than good enough. Sure, you might want the lower fuel consumption, but even this wouldn’t justify the extra spend for me. So if you are on a tighter budget and fear that you’re selling out by not getting the turbo model, I am here to assure you that you are not and you will be more than happy with the 1.5 model that my mom has.

SPEC THE SONET

But then when it comes to spec, things take a different turn. There is no entry-level LX trim with the turbo, only EX and EX+. So it certainly comes with all the bells and whistles in terms of standard spec. The EX+ comes in at R389 000, but it has everything but the kitchen sink in it. I am going to list the press release spec from EX to EX+ below because you have to see it to believe it.

EX derivative

  • 8,0-inch HD touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth with voice control
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter
  • Rear-view camera and rear park distance control (PDC)
  • Combination artificial leather and cloth seat trim
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS with EBD
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Dual front airbags
  • ISOFIX child-seat anchoring points
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic headlamp activation

EX+

  • Side and curtain airbags
  • Rear combination LED lights with signature graphic
  • 2” TFT LCD Supervision cluster
  • Artificial leather seats with contrast red stitching
  • Folding electric side mirrors
  • Electrochromatic rear-view mirror
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic climate control
  • Drive Mode Select

Now, when you look at the Sonet turbo’s competitors you will see just how incredible this car is. So if you do have the money to stretch this far, you won’t be left wanting for anything. If you look at the Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 85 kW model, you don’t even get a rear view camera or automatic climate control among other things in it, and it will also cost you around R30 000 more than the equivalent Sonet model. If you had to spec it to the same level as the Sonet, the price different would be even greater. Between the Sonet 1.0 T-GDI EX and its cousin, the Hyundai Venue 1.0 T-GDI, you’re also looking at a price difference of over R30 000.

Something worth mentioning is Kia’s industry-leading five-year/ unlimited km warranty (inclusive of Roadside Assistance), as well as a prepaid four-year / 60 000 km service plan. Again, making the argument for the Sonet even stronger.

FINAL SONET

I think it is safe to say that I will continue to sing the praises of the Kia Sonet, I’m afraid. And I haven’t even done the video review yet. But when a product is good, I think it is only fair that we say how good it is. There is no point beating around the bush. I will be very surprised if the Sonet doesn’t dominate the segment going forward. If I have my way, it will.

PRICING OF THE KIA SONET

Sonet 1.5 LX Manual                          R296 995

Sonet 1.5 LX CVT                               R317 995

Sonet 1.5 EX Manual                          R316 995

Sonet 1.5 EX CVT                              R337 995

Sonet 1.0 T-GDI EX 7DCT                R359 995

Sonet 1.0 T-GDI EX+ 7DCT              R389 995

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