Replaced my Skoda Rapid TDI with a Kia Sonet IMT: Initial impressions
My requirement was an proper automatic transmission (CVT, TC) or an IMT. AMT was not preferred.
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I was in the market for a new car to replace my 11 yr run Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI.
While I was happy with my Rapid in terms of FE, stability, space etc, the continuous clutch engagement and disengagement was taking a toll on my left leg in city driving. My to and fro to work in moderate to heavy traffic used to tire me a lot. The clutch had run for 70k kms in about 11 years had become hard, the hydraulic power steering started feeling heavy.
My requirement was an proper automatic transmission (CVT, TC) or an IMT. AMT was not preferred due to the many issues I read about on this forum about Maruti, Tata and Mahindra vehicles. DCT due to doubts on long term reliability was also not considered.
I had driven Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger and Kia Sonet. Had asked Maruti for a test drive of the Brezza AT, but they took too much time to get the TD vehicle from some far off showroom and my timings did not match. Further the dealer informed me that there was a 4-5 month waiting period on the AT, and feature to feature was not comparable to other similar cars. I was looking forward to first time owning a Maruti car for the famed service experience and high resale, but well that couldn’t happen this time.
My experience with driving a family Nissan Magnite was good. I loved the CVT, suspension setup and space. But a bit of concern that Nissan has only one car selling in India. Not sure of their future plans and doubts on their business continuity, which made me look at other options.
The Renault badge twin Kiger ticked all the boxes of the Magnite above, but was pricier. I lifted the bonnet and while placing it back, heard some rattles inside. The driver side left hand hand rest and placement of the seat belt bracket also didn’t seem ergonomic. Having rattles in a 7k driven test car was not encouraging so decided to drop it.
Nexon and XUV300 was not in consideration since they had AMT gearboxes and there were many service issues reported on this forum. While space and built are better in class and both are Indian brands, the reputation of their A.S.S. made me look elsewhere.
I had a pleasant experience with Kia. Called their JP Nagar showroom and they had an IMT test drive vehicle. Went there on time, liked the experience and the staff were very courteous and patient. I liked the IMT primarily because it gave the flexibility of using gears without the clutch. Enquired about delivery schedules and they promised delivery in 2-3 weeks. White and Black was readily available, but at that time I was looking for Red or Grey.
We visited the Yeshwantpur showroom and saw the cars in various colours face to face and finalised on white. I got delivery in 2.5 weeks post my booking. Since I had a white Rapid for 11 years I was looking at a different colour option but in comparison with other colours, we liked the white Sonet the best.
For selling my Rapid, enquired with the aggregators: Spinny, OLX Auto, Cars 24 and finalised on Spinny as they gave the highest quote. Even tried exchanging with KIA, but was offered a lower price and due to time constraints, didn’t want to go scouting for individual buyers.
I have been driving the Sonet for 3 days, so here are my initial drive impressions:
- Smooth gear shifts and light steering.
- Imposing SUVish stance
- Loads of features. ABS, EBD, 4 air bags, BA, VSM, HAC, ESC as safety features. Further Alloy wheels, integrated touch screen infotainment, automatic folding ORVMs, LED headlamps and tail lights, keyless entry, sunroof etc which were not in my 2012 Rapid.
- Android Auto and Bluetooth works great.
- Brakes are sharp and reassuring.
Can be better:
- Fuel economy is about 8.5-9 n city commute (should improve over time).
- 1st gear needs additional throttle and tends to lag. I was used to a more torquey 1.6L diesel (to get used to this).
- Body roll present at some points (CSUV behaviour).
- Suspension setup is stiff over bad roads. Would have loved it to be plusher. (past sedan experience).
All in all, I am happy with the Kia Sonet HTX IMT and looking forward to share more experiences on this forum.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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