Why I booked a Kia Sonet 7DCT petrol to replace my Punto EVO diesel

We were impressed with the smooth shifting and ride quality of the Sonet 7DCT. It was agreed that spending another $80,000 on this variant was worth it, and overall it looked VFM.

BHPian Sudhindra recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello everyone,

I reserved a Kia Sonet HTX 7DCT on June 27 and the provisional waiting period is 40 weeks. I opted for turbo petrol because now our monthly average does not exceed 1000 km and also that I have been driving diesels for 15 years. For trips to the office, I use my bicycle.

Long story short, I currently own a remapped Fiat Punto Evo 1.3MJD 2016 model. Having owned Fiats since 2009, the Punto has served me well so far with its brilliant handling, driving dynamics and solid build. Everything was fine until earlier this year when there were issues with the clutch, front suspension (strut mounts) and they needed to be replaced. None of the Fiat ASCs here had the parts available in time and were cheated out of a multi-brand service center, but retain Fiat spares. It started to get worse, when one after another several other parts began to gradually fail. Unavailability of spare parts, ASCs charging unnecessarily, late delivery of OEM spare parts when ordering online (sometimes with poor packaging and similar used part) as such bothered us. I deliberated and arrived at the following reasons to change the car for good:

  • Now is a good time to sell our Punto Go before it’s too late as there is no resale value (we never considered selling at the time of purchase). Now he can at least cover the down payment.
  • The nearest Fiat ASC is 25km from my house and both are lousy. (Previously, with the coexistence of TATA and FIAT, it was a little better and closer to my home)
  • My wife had a little trouble driving a punto inside the city limits due to the clutch reach and heavy steering of the Punto.
  • Age factor, I’m in my late thirties and feel tired after driving Punto (not a good ergonomic car) and also started to develop knee and back pain.

However, my wife didn’t want to let the Punto go and suggested we take a look at any mid-size automatic sedan/saloon for urban purposes and keep the Punto for highway use. Parking is not a problem as we have enough space available.

We considered both options, i.e. used cars and new ones, strictly under the following conditions:

  • The nearest ASC must be less than 10 km from your home. Hassle-free service, parts and ownership are the top priority.
  • Shouldn’t be an abandoned car.
  • Should be a suitable automatic such as CVT, TC, DCT/DSG.
  • Should have sold in good numbers.
  • In the case of a used car, the budget should not exceed 7 lakhs. In the case of a new car, around 10 lakhs and we have to sell the Punto.
  • Should be good in terms of performance, safety and build quality.
  • It should be gasoline. EV can also be considered.

Option 1- Used car:

Focused on Honda stables, i.e. City / Jazz. Either, but we couldn’t find any good CVT/AT examples from Honda or the good ones were beyond our budget. My wife was suggested the Polo TSI and the Skoda Rapid and she even found a few good ones, I’ve rejected them since they were discontinued and didn’t want to relive the pain again. We gradually started to deviate from the set terms and randomly reviewed all cars ranging from Tatas, Hyundais to Innova, XUV 500 etc. both online and at used car dealerships. Eventually, we began to lose interest in our research.

Option 2- New car:

I started spending time going through various new car reviews in the BHP team and understanding what is happening with the new car markets and followed carefully when the news about the new Citroen C3 started going around. Just like that, we went to one of the nearby Citroën showrooms to inquire, but the dealership said the C3 would only be available on display from July 1. Finally, when the initial review and tech specs were revealed, the non-availability of the automatic in C3 and unknown dealer experience was enough to scratch this car off the list. For known or unknown reasons, we have never been interested in cars from the Maruti, Tata (except EV), Mahindra stables.

Dealership centers for most major car brands are near my home less than 5km away except FCA. I took the help of the BHP team to review several cars and the Kia Sonet piqued my interest. I regularly pass by the Kia Showroom and had never bothered to look at their products before. I compared the Sonet to other similar cars and found that the Sonet 1.0 7DCT HTX ticked all the boxes provided I increased my budget from 10 lakhs to 15 lakhs. Also keep Tata Nexon EV (base model) as an option (only for tax benefits). I presented both of these options to my wife and she was thrilled with my renewed interest. Then the question was what to do with Punto as the budget is increased by around 5 lakhs for both, the Sonet and the Tata EV and also we have to go for a car loan. It was decided to take a look at the Kia Sonet first and then take a call.

Test drive on June 26:

On the way home from grocery shopping, out of the blue, we just thought to take a look at the Kia dealership, where there were several customers either for inquiries or for delivery . We were dressed in our everyday casual clothes, nevertheless we went inside and were welcomed by SA and made comfortable. Meanwhile my wife checked out the show cars and was blown away by the interiors, fit and finish and she immediately said yes without even taking a TD. While we found rear-seat space to be limited compared to the Punto, that’s not a deal breaker. Otherwise, everything else seemed good. AS was informed in detail about prices, booking process, waiting period etc. I informed SA of my interest in Sonet 7DCT, but he focused more on the benefits of the iMT and before we could even ask, a TD of the iMT GTX was arranged. The SA first drove the TD car to demonstrate the ease of driving, then I took my turn. I found the power delivery to be very good but left me confused at times. Having driven a manual transmission for a long time (nearly 15 years) and my TD was mostly about shifting. My wife also took a TD and she had even more trouble sorting the gears. The iMT gave us mixed feelings and we went home saying we would take a call. Later in the day we discussed in detail and came to the conclusion not to use a partial automatic like the iMT as it still requires manual shifting. We informed SA and he accepted our observation and that a TD for 7DCT will be organised.

The Tata Nexon EV has been discontinued due to range limitations. Our hometown is approx. 350kms and that will not suit us.

Booking experience on June 27:

We informed the SA to arrange a Sonet 7DCT and we reached the dealership at the stipulated time. TD was immediately arranged. We were impressed with the smooth shifting and ride quality. It was agreed that spending another $80,000 on this variant was worth it, and overall it looked VFM. Decided to sell the Punto in exchange or sell it for good value once the SA confirms availability.

Didn’t bother to check out the Tata Nexon EV as their ASC isn’t that much improved.

Without wasting time, pay the reservation amount and the SA has completed the reservation process. He told us that the waiting period is around 3-4 months and for the HTX AE version, it could be even earlier by 2 months. We are open to opting for both variants, whichever is available for delivery at the earliest.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more ideas and information.

Wiley C. Thompson