The Kia Sonet receives a much-needed facelift that ties in with the brand’s design culture, since it first launched in SA back in 2021 as a competitor to the Ford EcoSport. We flew down to Durban to sample the Korean automaker’s compact SUV.

Kia Sonet

Most changes are on the exterior as well as interior, and while it is hard to spot these changes on the entry level LX trim, you are most likely to notice these changes on the EX trim as well as the all new SX trim.

The infamous tiger nose grille makes an appearance upfront while sleek LED daytime running lights as well as repositioned fog lamps make up the front of the vehicle.

New wheels have also been added to the range and while these are not necessarily alloy wheels but rather a “styled wheel” as Kia puts it, we think that they do stand out.

The rear is where people will most likely see the changes. A connected light bar that runs frond one end to the other does look good, albeit looking like a “jacked up” Kia Picanto.

Inside, all trims benefit from a leatherette wrapped steering wheel, wireless app connect, 4 USB charging ports, Bluetooth with voice recognition and the touchscreens range from 8-inches all the way up to 10.25-inches in the range topping SX trim.

Safety has also not been skimped out on with all models receiving driver and passenger airbags; ISOFIX anchor points; central locking; and hill-start assist, while the range topping SX model gets lane keep assist; lane follow assist; and forward collision avoidance assist.

The powertrains remain unchanged. You can look forward to either a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine which delivers 85kW/144nm or a 1.0L turbocharged petrol engine with 88kW/172nm.

A 1.5L engine is offered with a choice of either a CVT or a manual while the 1.0L turbo comes with a 7-speed DCT.

We sampled the 1.0L turbo engine from the flagship Kia Umhlanga dealership to our lunch stop, which was in Ballito and we encountered some stop and go traffic before getting onto the national route and the one thing that really surprised me was just how punchy the engine is.

The lowdown torque from the turbo is well appreciated and without even trying to sound like CVT ‘haters’ we would instantly convince you to get the 7-speed DCT. It is very fuel efficient and while we did not go on an economical run, we saw ourselves doing 6.2l/100km with well over 735kms of range.

Overall, we think that the facelift Kia Sonet will be well received by the market. It is a breath of fresh air and a different alternative to the Chinese models we have been receiving in South Africa.

Kia Sonet Pricing

  • Sonet 1.5 LX Manual – R 366,995
  • Sonet 1.5 LX CVT – R 391,995
  • Sonet 1.5 EX CVT – R 411,995
  • Sonet 1.0T EX DCT – R 436,995
  • Sonet 1.5 EX Plus CVT – R 454,995
  • Sonet 1.5 SX CVT – R 484,995