500 km road trip in a Kia Sonet: Creta owner shares his observations

The engine-transmission combo didn't fail to impress during the entire journey. The car was always in the right gear at the right time.

BHPian ashvek3141 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Completed a 500 kms round trip to Kolhapur over the weekend in my Sonet Diesel AT. Here are a few observations regarding the same.

First up, below is the route that I chose for the onward journey, Goa – Amboli – Ajara – Uttur – Nipani – Kolhapur.

The road from Amboli upto the diversion for Uttur is in complete shambles! It’s filled with potholes every 2-3 kms and there is absolutely no chance one can avoid those. Really pathetic road conditions. Anyone planning to travel via this route be wary about the same.

While on the return journey, I chose the route via Belgaum – Amboli – Goa. This also gave me an opportunity to check the car out on the open highway (approx. 100 kms) from Kolhapur to Belgaum.

  • As always, the engine + gearbox didn’t fail to impress during the entire journey. We were 3 onboard with 2 days luggage during the onward journey, whereas the return journey saw a boot-full of load; yet nothing that this car couldn’t handle.
  • In the entire 500 kms of the journey, never did the gearbox fails to be in the right gear. Every single time the car maintained the CORRECT gear or at least I didn’t feel that the car wasn’t in the right gear. The car climbs the ghats effortlessly and there is always enough power on tap for that additional push. I had switched off the AC on the ghats though.
  • During the downhill too the car maintains the required gear and one doesn’t need any engine braking or the aid of paddles to control the speed. In the entire journey, I must have barely used the paddles for like 5% of the time that too during some emergency braking due to the poor roads.
  • Overtaking is a cake wake! Long trucks / trailers, not sweat; you don’t even need to downshift, just depress the A pedal halfway and the car instantly drops a gear or two and you’re off! After some time this gets addictive, trust me. And I am not even talking about the SPORT mode here. The entire journey was in the NORMAL driving mode only, except around 50 kms stretch during the return on the expressway where I engaged the SPORT mode.
  • My mum, who’s a non-driver made two very specific comments: a) The car pulls more swiftly than our 1st gen Creta especially on the inclines and during the overtakes. b) It rides noticeably stiffer than our Creta, more so at the rear.
  • Coming to the suspension, though the condition of the roads was bad, the ride is definitely on the firmer side. This is felt more for someone like me coming from the cushier riding 1st gen Creta. However, my Creta runs on upsized 225/55/R17 set-up which in itself isn’t soft anymore; yet it is comfier than the Sonet’s stock set-up.
  • Due to the incessant rains, the top surface of the majority of roads was washed away and this could be clearly felt inside the car. The car doesn’t crash into the potholes per se but take them with a bit of speed and you’re in for a jerk!
  • I maintain the recommended 33 psi cold tire pressure all the time. Same was maintained for this trip too.
  • The car drives well upto speeds of 100–110 kmph; beyond that, the crosswinds disturb the composure to a great extent. You can literally feel that which doesn’t inspire confidence to push it any further.
  • At speeds beyond 120 kmph the car feels completely disconnected from the road and one must be extremely cautious beyond this. The car simply floats at these speeds. There could be two reasons for this IMO; one is that it was raining and the road surface wasn’t all that smooth (this is the expressway from Kolhapur to Belgaum) and the second could be the MRF Wanderers which isn’t a very good set of rubbers. I think both these factors led to the poor high-speed stability. Anyway, I just tried this once, after which I reverted to sub 100 kmph.
  • The infotainment system is very glitchy, particularly with the Apple Car Play. It worked well for the most part of the journey, but as I reached my destination it started disconnecting and throwing up an error = The connected phone isn’t responding. I tried with both my iPhones which were well-connected, yet the same error. I spent a good amount of time re-pairing them both, but still no fix. It’s only after I reset the system it started working fine.
  • I had seen this similar issue in my friend’s 2020 (1st batch) Sonet HTX iMT. What surprises me is that even after 2 years these guys haven’t fixed this issue!! I don’t understand what kinda updates they bring in for this then. Even the regular BT playback is glitchy which stops playing the song mid-way and you have to disconnect and re-connect your phone. This gets frustrating when you’re driving!
  • The AC in general is a chiller but there is one peculiar issue which I have noticed. I have a habit of turning off the compressor and keeping the blower on as I approach my destination, say almost half a km or so. I do this for my Creta as well as the Swift earlier; but with the Sonet, the moment I switch the compressor off in a matter of seconds the vents start to blow warm air. I mean it’s really WARM. I don’t quite get this, how can it immediately switch to warm air? I have tried all the permutation & combinations i.e. fresh air / re-circulated air modes, with outside temperatures ranging from 20 – 26 C, Auto AC & manual AC, everything! But this nature is persistent every time. This however is not the case in my other cars, and they keep blowing the cooler air for a good amount of time. Idk if this is for all the Sonets or Kia cars; maybe others can share their experiences.
  • After driving this car for 2-3 days, the space inside feels OK. It’s only when the Creta comes into the picture is when things start feeling claustrophobic in the Sonet. Seems like the theory of relativity is at play here. But in isolation, the Sonet feels adequate in terms of space. My parents who're under 5'10" in height didn't complain about the space either.
  • The front seats are supportive, however, as I mentioned before a bit of width and under-thigh support would have been great (I am 6 ft. tall). I can’t quite comment about the rear seats though as I haven’t experienced them over long distances.
  • The car returned a mileage of 18 kmpl (AC for 90% of the time) for the round trip as displayed on the MID. However, I am guessing it’ll be approx. 16 kmpl at best by tank-to-tank as the MID is optimistic by a good 2 kmpl.
  • The mileage drops considerably in traffic and with the AC running. I have seen figures like 11 – 12 kmpl in stop-go traffic.
  • The car however shows a healthy DTE range of approx. 950 kms on a full tank.
  • The lighting of this car isn't anything to write home about and I wish they had given a better set-up. The halogen fogs are completely useless and have no role to play. I am planning to switch to LEDs soon. I have seen a few reviews offering better illumination.
  • The LED headlights aren't great either on the highways and definitely fall short in terms of basic performance. Needless to talk about them in the rain or fog.

Though overall the car is doing well, 2 issues are persistent:

  • Difficulty in shifting OUT of P intermittently. I have tried everything suggested by our members here, but none of the shifting patterns seems to be helping.
  • Horn Shrill, which is there from day 1 and has now gotten a bit more frequent. I have recorded the video again and will get this checked during my next service.

I could hear a few squeaks from the area around the infotainment system when the car went over a few bad roads. For now, the occasional door pad rattle and some rattling noise from the boot is observed. I hope this doesn't aggravate further.

Another observation is that in stop-go traffic whenever the car is halted for more than say 5 secs or so, it kinda goes into neutral. So what happens is, when you release the brakes there is a lag of a split second before the car starts to creep forward. I think this was also highlighted by one of our members here. I can confirm this is true and does happen when the car is at a halt on the foot brake in 'D'. However, anything lesser than 5 secs, and there is no lag to say and the car swiftly creeps forward. Not sure if this is an inherent nature of the TC.

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