The Kia Sonet has created much buzz ahead of its market arrival. It is undoubtedly one of 2020's hottest launches. And yes it is driving in to what is a crowded segment with 5 strong players. But Kia has the 'power to surprise', doesn't it? And in keeping with my Seltos review last year I have driven the new Kia Sonet in very rainy weather! So let us get into the drive right away. And I will begin with the one I have been dying to drive – the diesel automatic. Keep in mind that there are two iterations of the 1.5-litre CRDi (common rail diesel) engine viz. the WGT and VGT. The WGT is on the manual, it gives you 99 bhp of maximum power, and the VGT (the one I have been testing) gives you 113 bhp. So it's a little bit more powerful, and also gives you 10 Nm of extra peak torque. This is the same engine that goes into the diesel Seltos.
The torque is immediately evident – a character it shares with the turbo petrol, but I will get to that one in a bit. The diesel engine is responsive, masks its lag well, and is well mated to the 6-Speed automatic gearbox. Having a torque converter auto on the diesel side is in itself a masterstroke. Many people love the torquey nature of a diesel and had to make do with an AMT or manual – or just switch to petrol to enjoy the convenience of an automatic.
Not anymore! I'd love for the Mahindra XUV300 and Hyundai Venue to adopt the same to be honest. And it's not some antiquated 4-Speed gearbox that's been plonked keeping pricing in mind! No it's a modern 6-Speed torque converter and so it's a lot more satisfying. It's quick shifting; it's smooth, and also downshifts quite quickly, to give you that quick response, when you need it. The diesel engine is powerful and will in my opinion command a large share of the buyer's attention. If priced well, so will the automatic.