We've got news for you.

Register on BusinessLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now
The new Sonet flagship is the 1.0 T-GDI EX+ priced at R389,995. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Sonet flagship is the 1.0 T-GDI EX+ priced at R389,995. Picture: SUPPLIED

A year after launching its Sonet compact crossover in SA, Kia has added new models to the line-up that feature added power and more premium specification.

Until now the four-model range has been available only with a 1.5l normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, in a choice of manual or CVT transmissions. The two newcomers are the 1.0 T-GDI EX and the more extensively appointed T-GDI  EX+, both powered by a new 1.0l turbo petrol engine and paired with an automatic seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT).

The imported Sonet (pronounced “Sonnet”) has been a decent seller and shifted more than 3,500 units locally, but global stock shortages had prevented Kia from bringing in the turbo version, until now.

This three-cylinder engine has added voema with outputs of 88kW and 172Nm, a small power hike but a substantial leap in torque compared to the 85kW and 144Nm of the 1,500cc motor. Also, the turbocharged engine will feel much sprightlier than its normally-aspirated stablemate in the thin air of Gauteng.

Even at sea level, where the car’s launch was held, the new turbo Sonet has more spring in its step. It’s a relatively feisty performer that zips effortlessly through urban traffic, cruises without feeling strained and has reasonable overtaking pep.

It’s also refined, with little of the buzziness one might expect of a small engine, contributing to this small Kia’s overall soft-spoken nature. The two-pedalled convenience is a boon especially in heavy traffic; the DCT shifts smoothly and offers three modes: economy, normal and sport.

Frugality is part of the package and the test car averaged around 6.0l/100km.

The car has a comfortable ride on its high-profile 16-inch tyres and feels solidly built, with bumpy roads failing to cause significant jittering or rattles. It’s agile through corners too, completing an all-round pleasant-to-drive package.

Leather seats with red stitching create a premium vibe in the range-topping Sonet. Picture: SUPPLIED
Leather seats with red stitching create a premium vibe in the range-topping Sonet. Picture: SUPPLIED

For its compact size the Sonet offers good space, with sufficient room for four adults. At 390l it also has one of the segment’s largest boots and offers a full-sized spare wheel.

This practicality is paired with a smart-looking cabin and a profusion of comfort features, especially in the range-topping Sonet EX+ which has artificial leather seats with red stitching that create an appealingly premium vibe.

The EX+ further ups the ante with a digital instrument cluster, folding electric side mirrors, eletrochromatic rear-view mirror, rear LED lights, cruise control, automatic climate control and side and curtain airbags.

The cheaper EX model is still well appointed though, with standard items that include a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter, combination artificial leather and cloth seat trim, hill-start assist, automatic headlamp activation and dual front airbags.

Even in entry-level LX guise the Sonet offers dual front airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, touchscreen infotainment, aircon, rear parking camera and electric windows and mirrors. It rides on 15-inch steel wheels instead of the 16-inch alloys of the EX and EX+.

Absent from all Sonet models is a reach-adjustable steering column however; it can be adjusted only for height.


Sonet 1.5 LX Manual — R296,995

Sonet 1.5 LX CVT — 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

Prices include a five-year/unlimited distance warranty inclusive of roadside assistance, and a four-year/60,000km service plan.


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.