Poetry in motion…

WHAT IS IT?

The Kia Sonet is one of the latest compact SUVs to hit this ever-growing, unbelievably popular segment, and the LX is an entry-level model to the range. Despite this, it has lots to offer at a very competitive price.

WHY THIS?

While a few years ago the Ford EcoSport had the compact SUV segment more or less to itself, there has recently been a flurry of activity in the market with most of the major manufacturers throwing their hats into the ring. The Sonet is one of the more appealing options, with a very polished all-round performance.

OUTSIDE

The compact Sonet is one of the better looking compact SUVs  - in fact, it's probably the pick of the bunch. The Kia-clan grille is particularly suited to this style of vehicle, while the sculpted rear end is nicely finished with a body-width light bar. It's a small car, but that hasn't made for awkward proportions and it looks good from just about any angle.

INSIDE

Despite being the base model in a budget line, the LX still comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that features Bluetooth and  wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Other standard features include air-conditioning, front and rear electric windows, electric mirrors, a rear-view camera, and automatic headlamp activation. In terms of safety, it has Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS braking with EBD, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and dual front airbags. That's a lot for the money!

Moreover, the Sonet has really comfortable seats and sufficient space for all occupants, while the luggage space is more generous than the short body would suggest. Finally, perceived quality is excellent, and the interior is very hard to fault.

THE DRIVE

Poetry in motion… This is one area where the Sonet performs above expectations, the 1.5-litre engine suiting the character of the vehicle perfectly. Producing 85kW and 144Nm, it is a pleasant change from the plethora of small-capacity engines, in the 1000cc ballpark, which do the job but under greater stress and often with less torque. The gearbox is also spot-on,  

FINAL WORD

Every now and again a car surprises you, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a disappointing way. The Kia Sonet was a good surprise, feeling and driving better than I was expecting it to, and being better priced too. It is a great value car that should do even better now that the LX model has made the range more affordable.

GO GET IT

The Kia Sonet LX is aggressively priced at R269 995, which I think is a great deal – going for song, you could say. Other key contenders would be the Hyundai Venue, Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Nissan Magnite, Ford EcoSport and the Toyota Urban Cruiser. Included in the price are a 5-year/100 000km warranty and 4-year/60 000 km service plan. Visit www.kia.co.za for more information.

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