The upright stance of the Sonet means getting in and out isn’t a task even for the elderly. Seating position is noticeably higher and this feeling is accentuated by the low window line (that’s slightly below your shoulder level), the large windows and the upright but slim dashboard. There’s nothing to grumble about on the ergonomics front: everything is well within reach and the thoughtfully designed stowage spaces make it easy to get used to the cabin instantly.
For instance, a small slit between the two cupholders can be used to either store your car key or have your smartphone ‘stand’ in that space. If not, you could choose to place it on the wireless charging tray, or the shelf underneath. Door pads have room for a 1-litre bottle, and there’s a (rather unnecessary) umbrella holder too — we just used it for a smaller 500ml water bottle. Under the front armrest, you’d find ample space for your wallet and some more knick knacks.
The driver’s seat can be adjusted for height from the HTK variant onwards, while a tilt-adjust steering is offered as standard. Despite the rather large ‘wall’ that Kia has built to merge the instrument binnacle with the infotainment console, new drivers will like the high seating position that lets you see the edge of the bonnet and the sides. This will boost confidence when driving through tricky spaces.
The cabin design also connects to the exterior, with the knurled finish being mimicked on the AC vents and the fog lamp bezel being replicated in plastic for the AC louvres. Interesting triangular detailing can be seen on the speaker grilles and the door pads.
What truly stands out is the graining of the plastic used for the top half of the dash. It’s smooth to the touch and feels rich. The same plastic continues over onto the top half of the door pads. The lower half of the dashboard has harder and slightly cheaper looking plastics. Kia’s adding another layer of feel good by way of rich leatherette upholstery for the seats, the flat-bottom steering and the elbow rests on the door pads. Neat.
Rear seat occupants are pampered by the same smooth leatherette elbow rest pads, and a set of rear air-conditioning vents that are offered as standard. There are also twin seatback pockets, and ample space in the door pads for a few rolled up magazines or water bottles.
The Sonet is happy accommodating four six-footers with ease. While kneeroom is just about enough, there’s no dearth of headroom or foot room. You could ask for slightly firmer seat cushioning, a more relaxed backrest angle, and an extra helping of underthigh support. The cabin’s lack of width is felt sharply here, though, and it will make the centre occupant feel unwelcome pretty quickly. For one, the seat back is contoured to suit just two occupants. Then Kia’s also skipped offering a third headrest. Take the cue.
Kia is trying to make up for it with a cavernous 392-litre boot. Strangely, 60:40 split isn’t on offer. The boot itself is low, wide and has a large opening. Considering it is at roughly knee level, you don’t need to put a lot of effort in loading up the Sonet.
Technology and Features
Phew, where do we begin this? The lengthy feature list on the Sonet will make you question if paying more for larger vehicles such as the Creta and the Seltos is warranted. Let’s take the already loaded Seltos for reference. The Sonet barely skips a beat in keeping up with the elder brother. Sure, there’s no side view camera or heads-up display here. But practically everything else has been bundled in.
We appreciate the addition of an air purifier that claims to protect against bacteria and viruses. This, Kia says, is made possible by using UV light and a HEPA filter. It’s also neatly integrated into the rear-AC tower, but can be controlled only through the touchscreen. Our only complaint is that of a noisy blower. There’s a perfume dispenser too, in case your BMW 7 Series owning neighbour acts too snooty.
There’s an electric sunroof, climate control, cruise control, auto-dimming IRVM and a wireless charger with a thoughtful cooling function. The party piece is of course ventilated seats, nothing less than lifesavers in our sweltering conditions. And since cars are now gadgets that can be driven, the Sonet gets either an 8- or 10.25-inch touchscreen (depending on the variant you pick) — each with their own party trick. With the smaller touchscreen, you get a nifty ‘wireless projection’ feature that lets you run Android Auto and Apple CarPlay without connecting the phone via a cable.
The larger touchscreen is paired with an outstanding 7-speaker Bose sound system. More than the Seltos, the sound system on the Sonet does live up to the Bose name. With the subwoofer, this system will appeal to those who listen to a lot of EDM or hip hop — thanks to the thumping bass.
There’s another coloured 4.2-inch screen inside the instrument cluster that has neat graphics for instant fuel consumption, and basic readouts for trip information. It also shows you the title of the track being played (albeit only when you change tracks) and navigation updates when you use on-board navigation. You also get to see a (pretty pointless) compass here.
To make parking easier, you get 4 front parking sensors and 2 at the rear. Feed from the camera is crisp and the guidelines turn with steering input too.
Misses are few and far between. Omissions such as 60:40 split seats, an adjustable front armrest and a cooling function for the glovebox are surprising. On the other hand, not having a backlight for the power window switches (except for the driver’s) is plain silly in our books.