Kia Motors has blasted its way to second place among SUV makers in India, clocking a whopping 1.35 lakh unit sales in just its second year of operations here. The Seltos – launched in 2019 – followed by the Sonet – launched in 2020 – helped Kia Motors overtake Mahindra to become India’s 2nd largest SUV maker. In fact, Kia Motors is right behind Hyundai – India’s undisputed SUV king with 1.8 lakh SUV sales in 2020. Mahindra & Mahindra, a SUV specialist clocked 1.3 lakh unit sales in 2020, and was just behind Kia.
Together, the Korean automakers have sold more than 3 lakh SUVs in the Indian market during 2020, making their lead nearly unassailable as far as the SUV segment is concerned. Later this year, Hyundai India will launch a new micro SUV code-named the AX1 while Kia Motors is expected to venture into the MPV space in early 2022. Apart from the Seltos and Sonet, Kia Motors also sells the Carnival luxury MPV in India. The Carnival is the priciest car sold by the South Korean automaker, and is a diesel-only offering. Prices of the Carnival start from Rs. 24.95 lakh, and the MPV sits above the Toyota Innova Crysta in terms of positioning.
Coming back to Kia Motors’ biggest successes – the Seltos and Sonet – both SUVs have done exceedingly well since launch. The Sonet – launched in September 2020, clocked sales of 38,363 units in just 105 days, making it the fastest selling SUV in India, with daily sales of around 365 units. Such has been the success of the Sonet that it has displaced established competition in the sub-4 meter compact SUV segment such as the Hyundai Venue and Maruti Vitara Brezza.
The Sonet was developed mainly for the Indian car market, and the compact SUV shares its platform with the Hyundai Venue. Apart from the platform, the Sonet also shares its engines and gearboxes with the Hyundai Venue. In fact, the long list of variants that the Sonet is available in is a big reason for its appeal among a diverse set of buyers. The Sonet is offered with three engine options: a 1.2 liter naturally aspirated petrol with 82 Bhp-114 Nm, a 1 liter turbocharged petrol with 118 Bhp-172 Nm and a 1.5 liter turbocharged diesel with 99 Bhp-240 Nm (manual) and 115 Bhp-250 Nm (automatic).
While the naturally aspirated petrol engine gets a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard, the turbo petrol engine is offered with a unique, 6 speed IMT (clutch-less manual) gearbox and a 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox option. The diesel engine gets a 6 speed manual as standard while a 6 speed torque converter automatic gearbox is offered as an option.
All in all, the Kia Sonet is offered in no less than 23 variants, whose ex-showroom prices range between Rs. 6.8 lakh for the base trim and Rs. 13.2 lakh for the top-end diesel automatic GT Line trim. The Kia Sonet rivals sub-4 meter compact SUVs such as the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Ford EcoSport, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon and Toyota Urban Cruiser.