2021 Kia Sonet Review: Rhyme and Reason

Derryn Wong

Back to Page 1: Kia Sonet introduction, interior space and features

Kia Connect Lite App Singapore

Kia Connect
Another thing the Sonet will have, which other compacts don’t, is Kia’s connectivity suite, Kia Connect Lite. It’s only up and running in Q2 2022, so we didn’t have the chance to test it in person, but it boasts plenty of features you can control with an app, including the ability to remotely start your car’s engine to pre-cool the cabin, in addition to the usual info, stats, and monitoring. It includes a 4G sim card onboard, and a three-year subscription will cost S$295 for Kia Care Plan members. For more info, visit Kia Singapore’s official page for it.

Driving Experience 

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Driving

Getting seated emphasises how different the Sonet is from the Stonic : It’s a very-SUV seating position, high even in its lowest setting, and delivers a good view of the road, while the extra-large speedometer is useful too. The Stonic, in contrast, feels like a slightly high-riding hatchback. 

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Engine

Powering the Sonet is a new-to-Singapore 1.5-litre non-turbo Gamma engine with a decent 115hp and 144Nm of torque, mated to a CVT gearbox – no start-stop, no mild hybrid system in sight.

The drivetrain delivers power very smoothly, and if you drive the car for what it is, without rushing, it delivers excellent fuel economy as well. In our 200km+ test drive, we were able to consistently hit 6.5L/100km with 70/30 highway/city driving, in Normal drive mode (there’s Eco, and Sport too). Yes the Electric Age is dawning, but until there’s widespread charging, an efficient, affordable compact like this is the next best thing.

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Review side view

There’s a little of the SUV Jiggle in the Sonet’s ride, but without most of the harshness so common with many SUVs. It also handles neatly and predictably. A little more steering feel would have been nice, but it’s not essential in this segment.

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Pair that with the fact that the Sonet is refined at low speeds – thanks to the smooth drivetrain – and you have a car that’s really good at city life. The compact footprint makes it a cinch to park, as does the sub-6.0-metre turning circle.  

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Review cornering
The Sonet drives very competently, and like the styling, it doesn’t feel like a compact/entry-level car

At highway speeds there is noticeable wind and tyre noise, which is to be expected from compact cars that aren’t designed to rip across the highways at 150km/h. 

Where we dock points from the Sonet is a lack of advanced safety features – there’s no forward collision assistant nor lane keeping or any of those things that we find not just useful, but potential life-savers now.

Competition and Pricing

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Review steering wheel

The compact SUV segment, which sits one step below small SUVs like the Honda HR-V and Toyota Yaris Cross, isn’t as highly-populated/competitive just yet, but it’s hotting up for sure. 

Key competition is the Hyundai Venue, which has a regular version at the same price as the Sonet, and one with active safety features for S$6k more. An outlier is the Suzuki Ignis, which is probably Singapore’s smallest SUV at well under four-metres long, but it’s tiny and not exactly cheap. 

But prime competition comes from the Stonic – same brand, same segment after all. As of early Jan, the Stonic Mild Hybrid SX is cheaper at S$106,999 with COE, compared to S$113,999 with COE, but the Sonet has the advantage in space and possibly styling, if you’re so inclined.


2022 Kia Sonet Singapore Review

Breaking the S$110k with COE mark for a compact car is usually not a good sign for sales, but consider that COE prices have also spiked and even a Mitsubishi Attrage (one of the least expensive cars here) costs S$90k, puts that into perspective, while SUVs one size up from the Sonet cost from S$120k up.  
For the price, the Sonet is an excellent car that punches above its category. The long list of features, efficient drivetrain and great urban driving manners and last but not least the tough SUV styling. It’s a convincing rhyme, because it’s based strongly on reason. 

Kia Sonet 1.5 SX 

2022 Kia Sonet Singapore - badge
Engine1,497cc inline 4
Power115hp at 6300rpm
Torque144Nm at 4500rpm
0-100km/h11.0 seconds 
Top Speed170km/h
Fuel Efficiency6.4L/100km
VES Band B / Neutral 
AgentCycle & Carriage Kia
PriceS$113,999 with COE and VES
Verdict Great value in the compact SUV segment: A great city car with a strong feature set, good interior room, and honest driving dynamics. 

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budget compact compact SUV Kia sonet SUV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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