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The stylish Kia Sonet is surprisingly affordable

Prices start at P758,000 and top out at P1,138,000

‘Sonet’ is derived from ‘social network’, which is appropriate for the target market of this vehicle. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

The subcompact crossover segment has rapidly evolved in the last few years, especially with the influx of many Chinese models. More than three years ago, Kia Philippines struck gold when it introduced the Stonic, which sold like hotcakes, especially among first-time car buyers.

Fast-forward to today and the brand wants to repeat that recipe with the all-new Sonet crossover, a feature-loaded model squarely aimed at young consumers looking for their first cars.

The four variants and their prices are:

  • LX MT – P758,000
  • LX AT – P868,000
  • EX AT – P978,000
  • SX AT – P1,138,000
The shrunken-down-Sorento look may be endearing to many. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The subcompact crossover measures 4,110mm long, 1,790mm wide, and 1,625mm tall (1,642mm for the LX due to the antenna). It has a generous wheelbase of 2,500mm, and a decent ground clearance of 205mm.

The exterior is reminiscent of the Sorento with the newest Star Map Signature lighting design front and back, complete with a lightbar.

The designers have done well in making this turn heads at any angle. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The SX and the EX get LED lights, DRLs, fog lamps, and 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels, while the LX settles for halogen lights and 16-inch steel wheels with a wheel cover.

The car is available in Vivid Red, Snow White Pearl, and Imperial Blue (EX and LX). The SX gets additional hues in Pewter Olive, Vivid Red (with black roof), and Snow White Pearl (also with black roof).

It's feature-rich, too, making it feel like a more expensive car. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Peer inside and there is a modern-looking cockpit befitting of a car worth more than the top-of-the-line variant’s asking price of P1,138,000.

Front and center (for the SX, at least) are two crisp and smooth 10.25-inch displays (or eight inches for the EX and the LX). But regardless of variant, the infotainment supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—both wireless —and with six speakers.

An interior made for the Gen Z crowd. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Additional features for the EX include smart remote keyless entry, remote engine start, and a push-start ignition. The SX adds a wireless charger, a sunroof, and single-zone automatic climate control.

The LX and EX variants have fabric upholstery, but step up to the SX if you want two-tone leatherette seats. There are no power adjustments to be seen, but rear vents and USB-C ports are standard.

Split-folding seats aren't that common in this segment. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

There is a fairly large cargo space of 385L with the rear seats up, but only the SX and the EX get the 60:40-split-folding rear seats.

This powertrain combo makes it feel peppy and alive to drive, even with the automatic. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

All variants are powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine. It may not have forced induction, but the inherent smoothness of a four-cylinder versus a three-cylinder will be a huge draw for many.

Power output is 113hp with maximum torque of 144Nm, sent to the front wheels either via a CVT (called IVT) or a six-speed manual transmission.

The top-of-the-line SX comes with a comprehensive ADAS suite. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

Safety wise, there are two airbags, an antilock braking system, a reversing camera with parking sensors, Isofix anchors, and an anti-theft system as standard, with cruise control for the upper two variants.

Upgrading to the SX gives you the Kia DriveWise suite of advanced driver-assistance systems, like lane-keeping and -following assist, forward-collision avoidance assist, downhill brake control, automatic high beams, driver-attention warning, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist control.

Will you take this over the competition? PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

This fully loaded offering from the Korean manufacturer is bound to get consumers thinking (and rivals standing on their toes). It comes with a five-year/160,000km warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance to help sweeten the deal.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.