The Kia Sonet falls into a hotly contested mini-SUV segment. Image: supplied

Kia Sonet: This SUV ticks the boxes of affordability and performance

Kia has upped the ante in 2021, with the Sonet, which includes extraordinary new features and impressive performance at an affordable price.


The Kia Sonet falls into a hotly contested mini-SUV segment. Image: supplied

The SUV is without a doubt the most popular car segment right now, and the charm has to be the versatility for every stage of life. The compact crossover favours a student life, a professional, the adventurer, it’s family-friendly and comfortable enough for older folk too. There are few segments that tick all these boxes.


Enter the Kia Sonet… at an affordable price which is the first nod of approval – at R264 995 for the 1.5 LX manual – it gives its competitors, the Toyota Urban Cruiser and Nissan Magnite a sprint for their money.

At this price point, the features of the Kia Sonet are more than impressive, and best of all is they haven’t scrimped on comfort. Extra headroom, legroom, and a compact dashboard give passengers the added comfort they yearn for on longer journeys. 

READ: Watch: Here’s a taste of the Kia Sonet heading to South African shores


  • An 8-inch infotainment screen with rear-view camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Central locking
  • Air conditioning
  • Front and rear electric windows, electric side mirrors and auto-on headlamps
  • Multiple airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, and brake assist.
  • Steering wheel with a full selection of controls 
  • Park distance control.

Under the bonnet, the Sonet is powered by a new 1.5-litre engine producing 85 kW at 6 300 rpm and 144 N.m of torque at 4 500 rpm. It has a six-speed manual gearbox – which I didn’t think was necessary for this level of performance. The sixth gear felt like decoration with little purpose. The top speed is 170km/h – with a 0-100 km/h in 11.3 seconds.

The drive is smooth and comfortable, and the only downside of an otherwise great driving experience is the lag between second and third gear, which is noticeable on a long road trip with steep inclines. 


However, a redeeming factor is that the automatic sports a smoother shift in power change which steers me toward this option instead. Let’s also note that I am a lazy automatic driver – the car Gods are crying I know!

The Sonet owned the twists and turns of Sir Lowry’s Pass – the steering and handling were very impressive, at decent speeds of course.

It is easy to see that design was a top priority – it is kitted out in fog lamps, roof rails, a chromed trimmed blacked grill with a low snout and a muscular bonnet. The Sonet sports a fresh look and feel – and more importantly is easy to distinguish on the road thanks to the unique design. 

Gary Scott, CEO of Kia South Africa, says the car is positioned to attract discerning customers who have a great eye for good design, comfort and quality. 

“With its sporty, eye-catching design language, fun-to-drive dynamics, and the high-quality features Kia is renowned for, the all-new Sonet puts an exclamation point on our ambition to make Kia the brand of choice for trendy urbanites. The Sonet fulfils an important role in Kia’s local line-up,” said Scott.

Kia is definitely upping the ante in 2021 – the Picanto XL has been a blazing success, and there is no doubt that with the really great pricing, and extraordinary features on the Sonet, it is soon to follow suit. Affordability is key and Kia has turned it.

The pricing:

  • Kia Sonet 1.5 LX manual – R264 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 LX CVT – R285 996
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 EX manual – R284 995
  • Kia Sonet 1.5 EX CVT – R305 995