Kia Sonet diesel AT at 1000 kms: Observations & 1st service experience

Coming from the humble 1st gen Creta (currently on 225/55/R17 wheels), I find the Sonet's suspension a bit stiff to my liking.

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Sonet HTX D AT, 1000 kms ownership experience and 1st service update:

The 1 month / 1000 kms + ownership has been pretty good and overall I'm am satisfied with the car. I shall jot down a few pointers with regards to my ownership so far.

Please note that I shall draw some comparisons with my secondary ride , 1st gen Creta P MT and also my earlier ride, 2nd gen Swift ZDi. I know it might sound like comparing apples to oranges here; but these are just for referencing purpose:


  • The 1.5L CRDi is a gem of a motor. Absolutely silent at idle, one would be hard pressed to tell if this a diesel motor. Some of my friends / colleagues were taken a back when I mentioned that mine is a Diesel Sonet. But the same folks criticized about the engine noise inside when on the move I too completely agree to this, the car is dead silent on idle; however, as the revs start to climb it gets pretty audible inside the cabin.
  • The noise is kinda acceptable upto 2.3 - 2.5k rpm, but beyond that is gets very much intrusive. Don't get me wrong, I have owned diesel cars in the past and I know that diesel in general is a noisy engine, but Hyundai / Kia cars are know for the stupendous NVH which somehow I found to be lagging in the Sonet.
  • Apart from the noise part, this motor is just fab. The pull from the ~1800 rpm is clean and at times also gives you a push-in-the-seat kinda feel. Again, it all depends on how the TC gearbox is shifting to the throttle inputs(I'll come to that later).

In general, there is no lag to speak of and the gearbox does help to mask this effect. The pull any gear especially between 2nd to even 5th is clean and there is no hint of any resistance as such. Only in the 6th gear there is a bit of time taken to pull if the speeds are dropped say below 60-65 kmph.

Driving Modes:

  • NORMAL : This is a default mode when the car is started no matter in which mode the car was turned off. This is a very balanced mode and I use it almost 90% of the time. I find this to satisfy almost all your driving needs and patterns. I don't have a thorough idea as to how much BHP / Torque is generated by the engine in this mode, but I read somewhere that this kinda limits the Power to ~100 bhp. I don't' have any idea how that's done.
  • ECO: As the name suggests, this one's for the mileage conscious folks and I'm not much keen of using this. In the entire ownership of 1 month, I have used used it once to only check how it performs. The gearbox shifts pretty quick in this mode and the speed build-up is linear. apart from this ther is nothing much to speak of here.
  • SPORT: Ahh! Now we're talking!! The BEST mode of all. Needless to say as the name suggest, pure enthu-orientated mode there. The moment you switch to SPORT mode especially while keeping the A pedal pressed, there is a slightly push to the car and the rpm pumps up by a few notches. The engine growls a bit more and the A pedal gets extremely sensitive. there is absolutely zero lag to the throttle inputs in this mode. Pedal to throttle matching is perfect in here and the cars just keeps pulling as your continue throttling it. Some say that even the steering weighs up a bit; but personally I didn't quite feel that. May I shall pay some more attention next time.

Having said all of this, this mode is purely for the open roads. Period. you really needs those pen highways for this. try this mode in the city with some traffic and it's gets jerky. The car keeps shifting gears to keep the engine on the boil and that after some point gets a bit annoying. Hence, keep the sport mode for those highway runs and see yourself grinning!


  • Coming to the next big thing of this car, the flawless TC unit. As I mentioned earlier, the TC unit does a good job of asking the low-end turbo lag and makes the start ups pretty smooth in majority of the traffic conditions.
  • This is our very first automatic car and hence probably it comes with a small learning curve. By this I don't intend to discourage any perspective AT buyers, but there is sometime needed to get used to the shifting manners of the TC unit, especially if one has been driving a manual for all these years.
  • I find the gearbox to be holding the 2nd and sometimes even the 3rd gear a bit too long for my liking. I had initially thought that this is tuned intentionally to minimize the DPF clogging, but BHPian shrk_18 cleared this doubt saying that this is an inherent nature of a TC unit. I don't quite like this behavior coz the revs keep building up even upto 3k rpm at times and that only increase the engine noise which I mentioned about earlier.
  • I hardly find myself needing to use the paddle shifters because the gearbox is never in the wrong gear, I really mean this. There will be just about 1-2% cases where I thought that the car was in a higher gear; but apart from that, this one just nails it, everytime.
  • The only gripe I have is that the instrument cluster doesn't show the current 'drive' gear. It just shows as 'D' unlike in the DCT wherein it shows the current gear selection. I know it doesn't impact much, but it just feels good to have that information. However, in Manual mode it does show the current gear.
  • Also, majority of the times I find it a bit hard to shift the car out of 'P'. So much so that the car even jerks a bit sometimes. I enquired about this with the service guys and they mentioned that this a normal TC behavior. I however follow the steps mentioned in the manual before parking i.e. Brakes --> Shift to 'P' --> Hand brake --> Ignition off.

Ride and Handling:

  • Coming from the humble 1st gen Creta (currently on 225/55/R17 wheels), I find the Sonet's suspension a bit stiff to my liking; my Dad too has a similar complaint. It's not unbearable to say, but a slightly softer tune would have been great IMHO.
  • Take those speed breakers or bumps with a slightly higher speed than and you will feel that the car just drops with a 'thud' noise. I even got this checked with service folks / WA and telegram Sonet groups and they all mentioned that this is how the suspension is.
  • One can feel the road underneath, especially when driving on slightly irregular / unfinished roads. This drawback is that it brings in unnecessary squeaks inside the cabin.
  • Handling in general is acceptable and nothing remarkable to speak of. The car holds the line and inspires confidence when driven under say 100 - 110 kmph. Beyond that , not so much.
  • I also had this issue with the steering alignment right from the day 1, which still isn't completely fixed to my satisfaction.

Air conditioning:

  • The AC in this car is a chiller! Primarily this is due to the vents being placed close to the occupants is what I feel. But overall too, I find that Ac does a good job of cooling the cabin.
  • A very annoying point that I would like to mention is that, during idling the compressor cut off is very much appreciable. I had noticed this in the DCT but thought that it is expected since that being a 3-cylinder 1 L unit; but a similar behavior with the 4-cylinder 1.5 L diesel unit kind got my hear scratching. Heck, even my humble Swift with 1.3L engine was calmer during the compressor switching.
  • I usually maintain the AC on AUTO between 24-25 C.

Music System:

  • The 8" Arkamys tuned music system has an acceptable sound quality and will satisfy the masses. I am not an audiophile and hence completely satisfied with the sound output. I usually stream music from gaana or amazon music maintaining the volume levels at 10 - 14.

  • The only annoyance is the erratic behavior of the system when playing music through BT. I have noticed that the music stops playing and at times even the phone gets disconnected in the middle of a playback. This looks mostly like a software glitch and can be fixed with an update. I am using iPhone 7 / 12 Pro.
  • Wireless Carplay is a boon and is working flawlessly so far; However, it drains the phone's battery at a much faster rate.
  • This system is devoid of SAT-NAV and hence one has to rely on Google Maps.

Fuel Efficiency:

The average displayed on the MID is somewhere between 18 - 19 kmpl. Max I have seen is 19.2 kmpl. Now this is the cumulative 'fuel economy' that is displayed and not pertaining to a specific trip.

  • For a trip of approx. 50 kms with 70% on highway, the max mileage displayed is 28 kmpl. I find these figures a bit optimistic and to good to be true for a engine of this size coupled with a TC AT.
  • Below is the tank-to-tank mileage derived from the fuelio app. For sure, there is a 1.5 - 2 kmpl difference between the actual and the MID displayed mileage figures. I presume the system will sort of calibrate after running for approx. 5k - 6k kms and may indicate the near-actual mileage in future.

Other points:

  • I find the overall quality of the Sonet a notch below when compared to my Creta. Let me mention that this is not only for the Kia Sonet; I have extensively checked the 2nd gen Creta and I find it similar in that too. Right from the plastics on the dash to those on the door, the windows switches; the seat belt thickness, everything feels a grade lower. The Koreans have surely gone in for profits since the launch of the 1st gen Creta.
  • 7 years and nearly 70k KMS on the odo, there is not a SINGLE rattle or a squeaks in my Creta *touchwood*. However, in the Sonet, I can already hear mild squeaks coming in from the AVN unit, the doors when playing music with slightly higher bass, centre console randomly, etc.
  • The overall quality of the plastics used say for the height adjuster / recline lever, power windows switches, etc. feels a bit lower than my Creta. The ones in the 1st gen Creta feel so polished, even today.

Loose height adjuster lever:

  • The HTX variant comes with the lighter interiors and with the introduction of 4 airbags, there is not way to put seat covers which bring another problem to the table. The white seats are P-A-I-N to maintain. I don't know how am I going to manage this. Surely they look good but are equally painful to maintain.

  • Brakes of this car are pretty good and do a good job of bringing the car to stop in time.
  • I find the front seats to be a size smaller for my liking. I am 6 feet tall with a average build and I find the side bolsters a bit intrusive. A slightly wider seat would have helped I feel. I am not quite able to find a 'comfortable' driving position yet.
  • I don't know the logical working of the TPMS system, but I need to 'set' a pressure of 37 psi at the fuel bunk to get a display of approx. 33-34 psi on the TPMS. Sometimes it even goes to 35 psi. These are all cold tire pressure readings. I am still experimenting on this and will confirm once I get to know the exact pressure that needs to be maintain t display 33 psi on the MID. for now, I am sticking to only on air filling station.
  • Not having rear wash wipe is annoying as hell!! I thing enough has been said on this. Kia, please wake up and get the basics right, please.

1st Service:

Completed 950 kms on the 20th of this month and following day got the 1st service done at ADC Kia, Goa.

This was just a general check-up and not a service per se. Had 2 issues to fix as below:

Steering alignment : As mentioned earlier the alignment was a bit off right from Day-1; got this checked during the 1st service. The SA got the calibration done, didn't help. Later did the alignment, took the trial and told me it was done. I didn't have time for another trial as I was already running late for the day and had to rush to office. While driving back, though it had improved it was still kinda off. I didn't have any more patience or time to get back and do this again.

Called the CRM the following day and narrated this to him. He requested to get the car again for a check. Went the following day, was assigned another SA. He took the TD and mentioned that the 'steering calibration' was a bit off. Came back, re-done the calibration. Again, minor improvement but not 100%. I gave up! I have said this before and I shall say it again, somehow the Koreans cannot get their steering systems right!

Alignment being carried out. Excuse the pic quality as I clicked it from the lounge:

Horn shrill : This issue is primarily seen when the horn is pressed for more than 1 sec. Though it is an intermittent issue, it still is annoying. However, the technicians there couldn't reproduce this issue and hence no solution for now. They requested to record a video next time this issue occurs.

Poor fitting of plastic cover near the windscreen: This issue too was there right from Day-1. When I brought this to the notice of the SA, he mentioned that there is no warranty on plastic / rubber parts!! I wonder if they weigh in the cost of this small piece of plastic and the experience that the customer takes back home?

They took a good 4 hours for this general check-up and to check on the 2 niggles that I mentioned, albeit without a proper fix.

The annoying part comes at the end when they come chasing you for the ratings!! I don't know how the heck this thing works, but for sure this is not so happy experience for the customers. Give then anything below 9/10 or 4/5 and you'll be killed with questions!

Since I didn't have much time and had to rush, I just gave them a 5* and closed the mater.

Overall, an average 1st service experience in my books.

ADC Kia, Goa workshop:

So, that was a small update on the 1k kms & 1st Service ownership experience. As I write this, the odo stands at 1600 kms.

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