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KIA SONET 1.0 T-GDI

Available with only a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre engine in the entry-level LX and mid-tier EX specifications when it was initially launched just over a year ago, the popular Kia Sonet compact crossover range has now been boosted with the introduction of new 1.0 T-GDi turbocharged derivatives.

The new 1.0 T-GDi model options build on the current range and offer a new flagship in EX+ specification, fortunately with less conspicuous body cladding and detailing than its Indian spec cousins and proudly displaying the new Kia logo, as well as a new typeface for the Sonet nameplate.

The advanced 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is new in the local Kia stable, but we have already sampled it in some Hyundai models and found it most agreeable in terms of power and torque delivery. In the new Sonet models, the small mill delivers 88 kW at 6,000 rpm and a stout 172 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,000 rpm.

Mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (7DCT), the engine has easy-driving characteristics. On the launch route down the Cape South Coast, its free-revving features and perky performance quickly established it as the must-have derivative in the Sonet line-up. 

The small engine labours somewhat up long inclines, but it is much livelier overall than its normally aspirated counterpart, with a sporty streak that makes it fun to drive. It is also quite frugal (our average consumption on the route was just over 6 litres/100 km), and according to Kia, it emits only 137 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Attractive Features

Besides the great little engine, many other features make the mid-tier EX derivative more attractive. These include an 8” HD touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth with voice control, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter, rear-view camera and rear park distance control, auto headlamp activation and 16” alloy wheels.

The EX+ specification – the new flagship in the range – adds side and curtain airbags, rear combination LED lights with signature graphic, a 2” TFT LCD Supervision cluster, artificial leather seats with contrast red stitching, folding electric side mirrors, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, cruise control, climate control and drive mode select. 

Last Word

However, the addition of some of these luxury, convenience and safety items also see some features deleted, such as adjustable reach for the steering wheel.  

Even so, the new 1.0 T-GDI derivatives at R359,995 (EX derivative) and R389,995 (EX+ derivative) are competitively priced against rivals such as the Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI DSG (R419,600), Hyundai Venue 1.0 TGDI Fluid DCT (R398,900) and the Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6AT (R375,300).

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images © Kia South Africa

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