2021 Kia Sonet 1.5 EX Manual Review
Shaking things up in the oversaturated compact SUV/ Crossover segment, Kia recently introduced The Sonet. A bold and competitive product in the South African B-SUV segment, competing against some well-known cars in its class such as the Toyota Urban Cruiser, Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, and Ford Ecosport. After spending time with the Automatic derivative Sonet, I was offered another change to test the mid-spec Sonet EX, in Manual guise to see what more it has to offer than its competitors and here are my thoughts…
- Model: Kia Sonet 1.5 EX
- Engine: 1.5 Litre 4-cylinder N/A petrol
- Power & Torque: 85 kW & 144 Nm
- Transmission: Manual
- Fuel Consumption: 7.0Litres (Claimed)
- Price: R305,995
- Luggage capacity: 392Litres
Fresh and stylish design, the Sonet has a bold and distinctive look, with Kia’s front-end signature of the tiger-nose grille with a front skid plate giving it a bit of a sporty look. the LX and EX model comes fitted with automatic halogen headlights, while the Sonet EX benefits from fog lamps with chrome surrounds.
Available in seven one-tone or four two-tone exterior colours and comes fitted standard with 15-inch steel wheels on the LX model, while the range-topping EX rides on 16-inch alloy wheels
Other unique things you will find on the Sonet EX exterior includes, Electric side mirror with integrated turn signals, roof rails
Interior and Practicality
Staying modern and competitive, the Sonet’s interior looks neat and feels well designed than its rivals. Also made out of hard plastic with a blacked-out theme and glossy black trim inserts around the air vents, shifter cover, cluster, and infotainment screen.
The Kia Sonet boasts a digital instrument cluster, user-friendly 8-inch touch screen infotainment system display fitted as standard across the range with integrated reverse camera, compatible with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which is very ideal for anyone with OCD or someone like me who doesn’t enjoy having thing hanging all over the place.
The Sonet EX comes further quipped with a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, leather trim inserts on the door panels, shifter boot cover, and central armrest. manual air conditioning system, 3 USB ports (2 at the front and 1 at the back), and a 12V power socket.
How Practical is the Kia Sonet?
The Kia Sonet is easy and comfortable to drive around for both short and long distances. Fitted with comfortable and supportive part leather and cloth upholstery seats, with height adjustment available for the driver’s seat.
The rear passenger seats are just as comfortable as the front, fitted with a central armrest boasting two cupholders. plenty of headroom with a slightly tight fit in terms of legroom/knee room for taller passengers. Several storage compartments are available across the cabin, with fairly sized door bins as well as cup holders.
With a luggage capacity of 392Litres, the Kia Sonet is claimed to be the best/ most spacious in the B-SUV segment. this can be further extended when the rear seats are folded. one thing to note, the rear seats do not split to a 60:40 configuration nor folds completely flat. Which can be quite challenging when loading items that require to be laid flat.
Powered by a 1.5L four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine, developing 85kW and 144 Nm of torque, with all the power sent to the front wheels via either the 6-speed manual or CVT transmission. this time around i got to experience the manual transmission. the 6 speed-manual felt smooth and engaging to operate. with the gear ratios well calibrated on the top-end. great for highway cruising speeds, more comfortable to live with than the noisy CVT transmission, which in my previous test disliked the winning noise when cruising at highway speed.
The suspension offers a very smooth and comfortable ride quality with minimal body roll and shakes even on bumpy rods.
For the first couple of days, the fuel consumption sat somewhere between 6.5L and 6.8L, but eventually, after having driven both in town and highways, I have managed an average of 6.1L/100km. Very impressive, better than the claimed 7.0L/100km by Kia.
Jumping on the safety side, the Kia Sonet comes decently packed with 2 front airbags ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
Park distance warning, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Hill-start Assist Control
Pricing and After-sales
The all-new Kia Sonet range is priced as follows
Sonet 1.5 LX Manual R264,995
Sonet 1.5 LX CVT R285,995
Sonet 1.5 EX Manual R284,995
Sonet 1.5 EX CVT R305,995
All Kia Sonet prices include a five-year warranty with roadside assistance and a four-year/60 000 km.
The Kia Sonet is undoubtedly a very well packaged product. from its build quality, to its competitive pricing. After spending a fair amount of time with the Kia Sonet Manual. I can confidently say that the 6-speed manual is the one to get.
In all, the Kia Sonet offers the best driving experience and value for their money with plenty of standard features fitted as standard, which will definitely be useful and attract most consumers. However, there are few things that would have been really good to have fitted as standard considering the price of the EX model such as Cruise control, Day time running lights, LED/Xenon headlights and a better folding rear seat.