Kia Sonet Long Term Reports

Some cars are memorable to drive and some leave you with memorable drives. The Kia Sonet falls in the latter category. I had such an amazing time with this workhorse. So many road trips, so many memories. It's gone now and I am absolutely going to miss it!

By Shivank Bhatt | on August 23, 2021 Follow us on Autox Google News
Long Term Report: August 2021 (End of Term)

Some cars are memorable to drive and some leave you with memorable drives. The Kia Sonet falls in the latter category.

It never tickled my senses as my rusty old Palio 1.6 did, but it was QUICK & how! 160 clicks on the speedo felt like 100. The quality, refinement, performance, features, ride & handling, everything about it is a cut above the rest. In fact, I remember driving the Volvo S60 for days and then when I returned to the Sonet, it actually felt like an 'upgrade' in terms of quality and features. Not kidding!

Kia Sonet Long Term Report Aug 2021 2

More than anything, the Sonet was my companion for the last 7 months, which meant it was with me during some of the great and worst days of my life. From leisure drives in hills to ambulance duties for dad's treatment, it did everything with aplomb. Even when life was in a downward spiral, I'd drive the Sonet and think to myself 'Hmm, life sucks so bad right now, but that Bose sound system is pretty good actually.'

I had such an amazing time with this workhorse. So many road trips, so many memories. It's gone today and I am absolutely going to miss it! It wasn't just a great company car, but with it, all the memories are also sort of gone. I honestly hate this part of my job the most, when I get attached to a car or bike that cannot be mine. Maybe we’ll cross paths again, but as of now, the Sonet, as a product, has completely bowled me over. And it’s not just me, look around and you’ll find scores of Sonets. I think it deserves that kind of success because it’s a sweet and solid compact SUV. 


When it came: October 2020

Current odo reading: 17,312kms

Mileage this month: 1,105kms

Fuel efficiency: 14km/l

What’s good: Features, performance

What’s not: Stiff ride

Long Term Report: June 2021

Last month was a bit hectic for me. A lot of places were under lockdown, and the situation was quite grim. Yet I managed to drive the Sonet in and out of the town quite a bit. However, those drives weren’t for leisure or fun. Rather, they were due to medical emergencies and nothing else. Without getting into the details of all my woes, I would just like to mention one thing. You see, when life is in a downward spiral, even a short drive can give you some much-needed respite.

Kia Sonet Long Term Report June 2021

And the Sonet, it did just that for me. It gave me a break when everything around got quite depressing. Even though I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, driving a car turned out to be quite therapeutic – sometimes, I would catch myself in heavy showers, and sometimes, I happened to catch the sunset at the right time and in the right setting. Thank God for these small mercies in life.

Speaking of the Sonet’s performance, I think it needs to go for its periodic service. Some panels have started rattling, the engine sounds a bit gruff during idle, and the brakes have also started squeaking. Kia’s team has been trying to get my service appointment fixed for weeks, but due to the lockdown, it’s still on hold. Here is hoping there are better days, and more long drives, ahead… 


When it came: October 2020

Current odo reading: 16,207kms

Mileage this month: 1,191kms

Fuel efficiency: 15km/l

What’s good: Features, performance

What’s not: Rattling panels

Long Term Report: May 2021

Before everything went upside down in April for us folks here in India, I managed to take the Sonet on a quick trip to Agra. Now you might already know that the Yamuna Expressway is probably the best highway in the country, and you might also be aware that it's an open ground of sorts where you can max out your vehicle. And in the Sonet, on roads such as those, life becomes quite difficult. That's because its diesel motor has mighty performance and the vehicle feels rock-solid at high triple digit speeds. Plus, the cabin refinement is exemplary, meaning you don't really notice when you're over speeding. And on Noida-Agra highway, where speed cameras are a dime a dozen, it got a bit tricky for me.

Kia Sonet Long Term Report May 2021

But, thanks to the Sonet's cruise control, that was taken care of. Now I don't usually use cruise control because our road conditions don't allow it, but on Yamuna Expressway, I gave it a shot and it worked wonders. I set it up at 100km/h and put my foot off the right pedal. Not only was it effortless, but it also meant that I didn't have to worry about getting any speeding tickets throughout the way. Plus, with a constant throttle input, I also managed to get the best fuel efficiency from the Sonet till now - it returned a spectacular 18km/l during the journey!  


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 15,016kms

Mileage this month: 1,154kms

Fuel efficiency: 16km/l

What's good: Cruise control, stability

What's not: Noisy brakes

Long Term Report: April 2021

The Kia Sonet is now entering the phase where it might need a visit to the service station. Now there's no mechanical fault or any pending maintenance work, but there are some panels that have started rattling, especially the front doors and the parcel tray. It isn't that bad but on bad roads, it's quite apparent that something is loose in the car. 

Kia Sonet Long Term Report April 2021

Apart from that, the fuel economy has taken a serious hit. Now, as we already know, and have experienced in the past, the Sonet diesel AT isn't a light drinker. But the fuel economy figures have dipped even lower this month, thanks to the continuous use of air-conditioning since the summer is here. Plus, the on-board trip computer's distance-to-empty feature isn't very accurate - let's just say that it's quite optimistic, but sees a sudden drop once the fuel level goes below a quarter of a tank. On the upside, the ventilated seats are a godsend on a hot day. It's such a cool feature, literally.  


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 13,862kms

Mileage this month: 1,856kms

Fuel efficiency: 12.5km/l

What's good: Ventilated seats

What's not: Door rattle

Long Term Report: March 2021

This is my fifth month with the Sonet, and the more I drive it, the more I like it. Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of pseudo sub-4m compact-SUVs, for I’ve always thought that it’s just a trick to make customers pay extra money for what is a glorified high-riding hatchback. However, over time, I’ve come to realise that compact-SUVs really do have a solid case in our market – and the Sonet has convinced me even more about this. 

Kia Sonet Long Term Report February 2021

Good ground clearance, high seating, a long list of creature comforts, impeccable engine performance, and a hatchback-like driving experience are some of the key highlights of the Sonet that I absolutely adore. After driving the Sonet for months, I’ve noticed that I now find the low seating of sedans and hatchbacks to be rather uncomfortable during my regular commutes and long drives. And, maybe, more than the looks and macho-appeal, the higher and upright seating of a compact-SUV is what makes buyers gravitate towards these faux SUVs. In all honesty, if I were to spend 15-odd lakhs on a new car today, my heart would be tempted to buy the new Thar, whereas the petrol head in me would pull me towards a hot hatchback like the i20 DCT. However, when it’ll be time to put my money down, I have a nagging feeling that I’ll end up with the Sonet.   


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 12,006kms

Mileage this month: 2,271kms

Fuel efficiency: 14km/l

What’s good: Comfort, high seating

What’s not: Heavy drinker

Long Term Report: February 2021

Another month living with the Sonet, and it is steadily munching miles without a single problem. For the last two months, I've just been going on and on about its comfort, performance and premium features. Long story short, I’ve only been singing praises of it. 

kia sonet diesel automatic performance test

As an objective critic, this has made my life difficult. I have to literally scratch beneath the surface to find flaws with it. So, are there any? Well, it's quite pricey, especially this diesel AT version, the rear space is tight, the ride is a bit firm at low speeds, and cold starts are clattery. But the thing is, none of these things is actually a deal-breaker. The positives far outweigh the negatives here.

There haven’t been any issues with our long-term Sonet so far. But recently I noticed that the rear parcel tray rattles a lot. This continued for days before I decided to fix it for good. However, there were no loose connections. Instead, the service guys had left a spare parcel tray in the boot of our car when it went for a periodic check-up a few weeks ago. Quite annoying, actually –  I now have to start looking for faults elsewhere!


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 9,735kms

Mileage this month: 827kms

Fuel efficiency: 15km/l

What’s good: Performance, comfort

What’s not: Nothing really

Long Term Report: January 2021

This month, I got to spend a few days with two luxury cars – the spanking new Volvo S60 and the updated Audi A4. Usually, when it’s time to go back to mass-market machines after driving cars such as these, it feels like a crash landing back on earth, with your face firmly pressed against the grim realities of life. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad this time, all thanks to the Sonet. In fact, truth be told, it wasn’t bad at all. That’s because the Sonet feels right up there with the big boys in terms of creature comforts, cabin quality, and refinement. It’s so well equipped and so damn refined that it spoils you silly. And it’s not just the features, it drives like an expensive car too. For a compact-SUV, it’s a winning combination with very little to complain about. 

Kia Sonet Long Term Report January 2021

That said, with constantly dropping mercury levels in Delhi, the Sonet’s diesel-engine clatter has become even more pronounced during cold starts. It gets better once the engine warms up, but that takes a good 10 minutes or so. Apart from that, this engine does enjoy sipping fuel. In normal city driving, it returns close to 12.5km/l. I thought it was quite bad, and then Dhruv took the car for a couple of days and, with his driving style, he could only manage 10km/l from the Sonet.


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 8,908kms

Mileage this month: 1,289kms

Fuel efficiency: 13km/l

What’s good: Quality, creature comforts

What’s not: Drinks fuel

Long Term Report: December 2020

3,317 kilometres – that’s the distance our long-term Kia Sonet covered this month! But believe me, it wasn’t done for fun and games. In fact, all these kilometres were clocked for some work or the other. Over the last three weeks, I took the Sonet on four road-trips from Delhi – to Jaipur/Alwar, Dehradun and Chandigarh. However, in the Sonet, it was just a breeze. Here's why.

Kia Sonet Long Term Report December 2020

The diesel-automatic combination of the Sonet is blissful. Sure, it's a little gruff during cold starts, but apart from that, the engine and gearbox are mated together like a marriage made-in-heaven. Power delivery is creamy, you're always in the right gear and the driving experience is utterly comfortable. The best part is the highway manners of this car. Even at triple-digit speeds, it feels like you're doing 80km/h. That's because there's no noise filtering into the cabin. Plus, the Sonet feels firmly planted on the road at those speeds. On top of that, you have all the luxuries inside, which means, munching miles, even for the most mundane of things, becomes an enjoyable affair. 

Is there anything I don't like? At low speeds, the ride is stiff, and there's some understeer during spirited driving in the hills, thanks to the heavy nose due to the diesel-AT drivetrain. But, overall, it's just a phenomenal machine on all sorts of roads.  


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 7,619kms

Mileage this month: 3,317kms

Fuel efficiency: 16km/l

What’s good: Diesel-AT is effortless

What’s not: Stiff low-speed ride

Long Term Report: November 2020

Ever since the wraps were taken off the Sonet, it has garnered praise from the industry and customers alike. Kia has done a stellar job of developing the most desirable compact SUV in the country. From its high-grade build quality to top-notch fit and finish and modern powertrain options, the Sonet offers it all. So, it was only natural for me to jump at its keys when it entered our long-term fleet.

Kia Sonet Long Term Report November 2020

The model that we have is the Sonet diesel automatic, which is powered by the 113bhp, 250Nm version of the 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine. This means that it’s as powerful as the bigger, more expensive diesel versions of the Creta and Seltos. Thanks to its compact dimensions and lighter weight, the Sonet diesel automatic is a hoot to drive! There is always ample power on tap, and the powertrain is quick to respond to throttle inputs. Its six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, meanwhile, goes about its business smoothly and quickly. The Sonet, in fact, is not just fun to drive but also very comfortable as a daily driver, as I’ve come to find out. My daily work commutes are absolutely stress-free, as I can navigate city traffic effortlessly, thanks to the smooth manners of the powertrain. My only complaint would be the high NVH from the powertrain. Another aspect to note is that the Sonet diesel AT isn’t an especially efficient car, as its currently returning about 15 – 16km/l.

Still, I love the appeal of this top-end GTX variant, with its all-black interior, which makes the cabin look quite upmarket. Everything, from the use of leather to high-quality seats, makes it feel very premium. What’s more, it’s loaded to the gills with equipment too, some of which is segment-leading. The way I see it, the Sonet is the most desirable compact SUV on sale today. And it’s evident, for people simply can’t seem to take their eyes off it on the road.


When it came: October 2020

Current Odo reading: 4,302kms

Mileage this month: 1,205kms

Fuel efficiency: 16km/l

What’s good: Premium quotient

What’s not: High NVH

Read more: 

Kia Sonet Review 

Petrol vs Diesel Comparison: Kia Sonet vs Hyundai Creta vs Honda City

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