The new Kia Sonet. The best just got better

Kia South Africa introduces the new Sonet to the South African market, building on a range that has surpassed all expectations since its local introduction in 2021 with a significantly updated exterior design, an upgraded interior*, and a repositioned range in the highly competitive A-SUV segment of the market. Lauded for its outstanding build quality and overall reliability, Kia’s evergreen compact SUV now offers consumers an even better value proposition than before.

“With its sporty, eye-catching design, high-quality features and fun-to-drive dynamics, the Sonet has helped make Kia the brand of choice for trendy urbanites with big ambitions,” comments Gary Scott, CEO, Kia South Africa. “Renowned for its inherent engineering, quality finishes and big car attitude, Sonet remains one of the most desirable small SUVs currently on offer. With this first update to the model, we’re confident that it will only grow in popularity.”

Elevating your SUV life.

The new Kia Sonet’s exterior design, like the recently introduced new Picanto and Seltos, is inspired by Kia’s award-winning ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy, which harnesses the creative tension generated by the divergent values of nature and modernity to deliver a harmonious whole. Already a striking compact SUV, the design update to the Sonet sees the inherently sporty design embracing an even bolder and more futuristic expression that is thoroughly modern, sporty and effortlessly stylish.

At the front, the new Sonet gains a new light signature, a new front bumper, an updated iteration of Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, and a revised fender and bonnet, all combining to create a notably more dramatic visage that visually aids the Sonet’s wide, confident stance. At the rear, this sporty, wide stance is reiterated through redesigned taillights that are horizontally connected just beneath the rear windscreen, giving Sonet a new rear light signature that complements the redesigned tailgate and rear bumper.

These changes have not made any impact on the Sonet’s dimensions: it retains a height of 1,610 mm, length of 4,110 mm and width of 1,790 mm. The long wheelbase (2,500 mm) and short rear overhang frees up space in the cabin and boot, giving the Sonet one of the roomiest cabins in its class. In fact, Sonet offers excellent leg- and headroom compared to many of its segment competitors, with its 385-litre boot capacity rated as one of the biggest in the segment. Ride comfort is ensured through a combination of a MacPherson strut set-up at the front and a coupled torsion beam axle at the rear.

Depending on the grade, two different wheel design options are available, both 16-inch in diameter. As part of its refresh, a variety of colours are also available. Complementing perennial favourites like Sparkling Silver metallic, Gravity Grey metallic, Glacier White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl, Intense Red metallic and Imperial Blue metallic, Sonet gains one new colour option in Pewter Olive metallic. Customers also have a choice between Glacier White Pearl with a black roof or Red metallic with a black roof.

Inside, Sonet retains its high-quality, high-technology interior, with the familiar layout left largely unchanged. Two infotainment screen sizes are on offer – an 8-inch colour touchscreen and a 10.25-inch integrated colour touchscreen – depending on the grade, while ensuring that all of the car’s important controls remain intuitively positioned to reduce instances of distracted driving. A combination of black cloth and artificial leather upholstered seats are standard, while higher specification models are fitted as standard with artificial leather upholstery.

The new Kia Sonet retains the familiar, reliable naturally aspirated 1.5-litre MPI and turbocharged 1.0-litre GDi petrol engines the range is known for. The overwhelming success of the 1.5-litre powertrain has resulted in the range offering a broader variety of models with this engine, with the number of derivatives powered by the 1.0-litre T-GDi reduced.

The fuel-efficient 1.5 MPI three-cylinder engine produces 85 kW of power at 6,300 r/min and 144 Nm torque at 4,500 r/min, while the four-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDi engine develops 88 kW of power at 6,000 r/min and 172 Nm of torque between 1,500- and 4,000 r/min. Customers have a choice between a 5-speed manual transmission or CVT when opting for the 1.5-litre engine, or a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) when opting for the 1.0 T-GDi.

A revised range for maximum choice.

With the introduction of the new Sonet, Kia has also repositioned the entire range in line with its approach to offering customers maximum choice across a compact range without compromising on standard specification or value for money. In fact, based on market and segment trends, the new Kia Sonet has been positioned to offer the best package possible to customers looking to upgrade to or in the A-SUV segment, while offering customers a feature-rich alternative from entry-level B-SUV options.

Manufactured to the highest quality standards at Kia’s state-of-the-art production facility at Anantapur, India, the new Kia Sonet is designed to turn heads and engineered to offer driving pleasure. The Sonet’s excellent structural rigidity is ensured through a lightweight yet robust structure, with more than two thirds of the body made up of high-strength and advanced high-strength steel with hot stamping technology.

The inherent ‘big car’ engineering of the Sonet is complemented by additional features such as an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), ISOFIX child seat anchors and dual front airbags as standard across the range. Central locking with an immobiliser is also standard.

The Sonet LX.

LX models come standard with body-coloured bumpers and trim for the electrically adjustable side mirrors, as well as a new 16-inch styled wheel that adds a modern, sporty touch to the exterior. Inside, black cloth upholstery combined artificial leather is standard, with height adjustment for the driver’s seat. The steering wheel can be adjusted for rake, with the second-row seatbacks split 60: 40 to create more or less cargo space as required. Electric windows are on offer all around, with manual air-conditioning is included as standard. Automatic headlight control (with escort and ‘welcome home’ functionality) provides illumination.

An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes pride of place on the dashboard, incorporating a reverse camera that is activated when the vehicle is in Reverse and features dynamic guidance lines for reverse parking. The Sonet infotainment system includes Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with steering wheel-mounted controls for telephony and audio. Six speakers are standard, as is a USB port in the front (with additional charging ports front and rear).

The Sonet EX.

The popular Sonet EX builds on the solid foundation of the LX model, carrying over the same exterior styling while adding rear parking sensors. Exterior enhancements include the addition of rear fog lamps and roof rails, while the electric side mirrors gain integrated indicator signal lamps and an auto folding functionality. The high-mounted stop lamp in the rear spoiler, the rear combination lights, the positioning lamps and the front Daytime Running Lights are also updated from bulb to LED.

Inside, a storage box with integrated armrest is added between the two front seats, while the steering wheel and gear shifter gains leather cladding. Drivers also gain the benefit of conventional cruise control.

“Kia has become well known for offering compact model ranges in which there is nothing ‘entry-level’ about the entry point into the range,” comments Stephen Crosse, Sales & Marketing Director, Kia South Africa. “Customers who have opted for the outgoing LX and EX models have consistently praised the fact that they have everything they need in a car from a features perspective, and that the tactile quality of materials – alongside the superbly engineered driving experience – makes them feel like they’re driving a much bigger and more expensive compact SUV.”

The Sonet EX Plus.

The Sonet EX Plus adds a range of high-grade additional features to the extensive EX grade specification. Most notably, this includes an upgrade of the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen to a 10.25-inch unit integrated with a 10.25-inch TFT LCD ‘Supervision’ instrument cluster. EX Plus models also gain full artificial leather upholstery, the addition of an electrochromatic rearview mirror and a wireless charging pad for mobile devices. On the outside, EX Plus models again a differently styled 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheel.

The Sonet SX.

The SX grade is new to the Sonet range and presents the highest possible specification available. It builds on the exceptional EX Plus package through the additional of a range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which presents a very unique proposition in the segment. These include Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Follow Assist (LFA) and Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA).

“With such a large number of factors that contribute to South Africa’s high road fatality rate, the prevalence of new technology, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, has proven itself to be an important addition to any vehicle line-up, as much for the convenience of accessing  entertainment functions, but also to limit distracted driving practices,” comments Crosse. “With more and more customers downsizing the size of their car without compromising on features normally found in bigger, more expensive vehicles, the addition of more active safety systems to help drivers avoid collisions is an important addition to the Sonet range.”

Lane Follow Assist and Lane Keeping Assist work alongside the standard Blind Spot Warning system, with the former using cameras and radar to ensure the vehicle is electronically aided to stay in its lane. Should the vehicle veer over into the adjacent lane without indicating, the system automatically assists steering to prevent the vehicle from entering the adjacent lane. If the lane markings are of poor quality, the Lane Follow Assist system automatically reverts to following the vehicle ahead of the Sonet to aid steering for a certain period of time.

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) helps avoid collisions with objects in front of the vehicle while driving. If the preceding vehicle suddenly slows down, or if a forward collision risk is detected, such as a stopped vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist in front of the Sonet, FCA provides a warning. After the warning, if the risk of collision increases, FCA automatically assists with emergency braking of the vehicle.

Drive Mode Select is also added to the SX-grade, allowing the driver to select from Comfort, Eco, Sport or Smart sub-settings.

Big Car Value.

It is no secret that there were high expectations for the Kia Sonet to become a staple in the local Kia line-up. As the second product to come from Kia’s newest production facility in India, Sonet immediately resonated with South African consumers who aspired to live bigger, more adventurous and more rewarding lives. “With just more than three years’ of history in the market, we have had the unique opportunity to not only cement our position in the market, but also to witness the rapid evolution of the SUV segment in South Africa as more and more players enter,” comments Crosse.

“One theme that was apparent throughout our consumer research is the highly aspirational mindset of our customers. While this is often associated with buying bigger or more expensive cars, it is clear that the majority of our Sonet customers are less concerned with bigger or more expensive, and much more concerned with quality and getting more than what they pay for. Sonet has consistently ranked highly for offering exactly that, and we’re confident that the upgraded model will once again tick all the most important boxes – and then some.”

The new Kia Sonet LX and EX range goes on sale on Tuesday, 18 June 2024, with EX Plus and SX derivatives available from late July 2024. Recommended retail pricing for the range is as follows:

Kia Sonet 1.5 LX Manual:                               R 366,995

Kia Sonet 1.5 LX CVT:                                   R 391,995

Kia Sonet 1.5 EX CVT:                                   R 411,995

Kia Sonet 1.0 T-GDi EX DCT:                        R 436,995

Kia Sonet 1.5 EX Plus CVT:                           R 454,995

Kia Sonet 1.5 SX CVT:                                   R 484,995

All Sonet models ship as standard with Kia’s industry-leading Unlimited Kilometre/5-year warranty, inclusive of Roadside Assistance. In addition, a pre-paid 4-year / 60,000 km service plan is included to give customers peace of mind and predictability when it comes to vehicle maintenance. A variety of plan extension options are available at point of sale through Kia Financial Services for customers who require even more predictability of maintenance spend.