With more than 3.68 lakh units sold since its launch in 2020, there’s no doubt that the Sonet has been an instrumental in Kia’s dominance of the Indian SUV market. Kia has managed to outperform many established rivals in a short span of four years, making India one of the top five markets for the brand globally. And it’s Kia competitive approach with the Sonet that has helped it crack the sub-four-metre compact SUV segment, which also has cars like the Hyundai Venue (which the Sonet shares a lot with), Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon, etc. So three years hence, and with the majority of its rivals updated, how does Kia reinvigorate the Sonet?

Segment-first features

The Sonet was brought out when there was a lot of uncertainty around, having been hit by the first wave of Covid-19 and as a result being locked down. But despite that, the Sonet, a global success story, according to Kia, stood against all odds fairly well. Quite fittingly it was also said to be the first car in the world to be fitted with an onboard air purifier. But what made the Sonet an even stronger performer were a long features list (25 segment-first features, with 62 per cent of buyers opting for a sunroof and ventilated seats), the availability of a wide range of engines (including a diesel automatic), and the overall premium positioning which the interior fit and design reflected quite well, too. What furthered the Sonet’s appeal, Kia mentions, is the low cost of ownership, making it a great car to buy and live with. With relatively better residuals (again, according to Kia) than others, it seems to hold its value well, too.

What’s new

Enough of the old, so what’s new with the Sonet now?

The 2024 Kia Sonet comes with updated looks, thanks to new headlights and taillights, new bumpers, etc. These work well with the existing silhouette and based on the brand’s Opposites United design philosophy place the Sonet in line with the recently updated Kia Seltos. Kia is bullish on standard safety, and that shows with the new Sonet, too. A total of 15 safety features will made available throughout the range, which includes six airbags fitted as part of the standard equipment. A total of 10 new ADAS functionalities are also added to the Sonet, in addition to the 70 connected car features. The latter gives the owner the ability to summon ‘Find My Car’ but now with an onboard Surround View Monitor right from their phone, they can see what’s happening around their car. Also included in the Kia Connect suite is an introductory (only for the Sonet customers, as of now) Kia Inspiring Drive programme, which evaluates the driver on various driving parameters and then turns the score into redeemable rewards. The 10.25-inch instrument panel is complemented by an equally large infotainment touchscreen display. The onboard air purifier has been carried over, while even useful everyday inclusions like rear window blinds are present, too; and so are the Bose speakers and LED ambient lighting which can be set to modulate as per the onboard music.

The 10.25-inch instrument panel is complemented by an equally large infotainment touchscreen display

The 10.25-inch instrument panel is complemented by an equally large infotainment touchscreen display

Kia says bookings begin from December 20 onwards. And while the price hasn’t been discussed yet, it’s clear that there will be a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, a 1.5-litre diesel engine, and a 1-litre turbocharged petrol available. The diesel engine will be available with a choice between a six-speed manual, a six-speed clutchless manual and a six-speed automatic transmission; the turbo-petrol with either a six-speed clutchless manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic; and the NA petrol with a 5-speed manual gearbox. There will be three trims to choose from: the matt finish X-Line, GT-Line, and the Tech-Line.

And what do existing customers get? Kia’s K-Code priority experience for existing customers. It’ll enable quicker delivery for those who’ve bought a Kia already. This requires the customer to generate a K-Code, which can be shared with a non-Kia customer if they’re planning to switch to the Sonet and want to experience priority delivery. Neat.

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