The Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser will soon be the two latest additions to the hugely popular sub-four-metre SUV segment. It may have begun with the now-discontinued Premier Rio back in 2009, but it was the Ford EcoSport in 2013 that popularised it. Fast forward seven years and, come September 2020, there will be a total of seven contenders in this fiercely competitive segment.
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza was launched back in March 2016 and has been significantly updated recently, Tata’s Nexon has been available from September 2017 and has also been refreshed at the beginning of 2020, while the Mahindra XUV300 (February 2019) and Hyundai Venue (May 2019) are more recent entrants.
We try to answer how well the Sonet and Urban Cruiser will fare against their rivals, on paper.
KiaSonet has the highest ground clearance and the largest boot
Toyota Urban Cruiser sits in the middle in terms of size and near the bottom on power
Sonet most efficient manual compact SUV, while Urban Cruiser and Vitara Brezza are the most frugal automatics
How do the Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser compare on size?
|Kia Sonet vs Urban Cruiser vs rivals: Dimensions|
|Sonet||Urban Cruiser||Venue||Vitara Brezza||Nexon||XUV300||EcoSport|
|Boot||392 litres||328 litres||350 litres||328 litres||350 litres||257 litres||352 litres|
Despite sharing its underpinnings with Hyundai’s Venue, the Kia Sonet is larger overall than its cousin. It is also class-leading on three aspects – the Sonet has the largest boot by a 40-litre margin, it has the highest ground clearance (edging out the Tata Nexon by 2mm) and its height is equal to the Ford EcoSport’s. In terms of width and wheelbase, the Sonet sits in the middle of the pack. The Mahindra XUV300 is the widest sub-4m SUV and has the longest wheelbase too, which bodes well for the interior room on offer. The Mahindra is the only model here to get 17-inch alloy wheels; the rest have 16-inch wheels. However, the XUV300 does have the smallest boot by quite a large margin. Tata’s Nexon is 2mm shorter in the wheelbase than all its rivals, while the Hyundai Venue has the lowest height and ground clearance figures.
As the Toyota Urban Cruiser and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza are badge-engineered models, they have identical figures – they aren’t the largest or the smallest of the lot, though the 328-litre boot is on the smaller side in this segment.
How do the Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser compare on power and mileage?
|Kia Sonet vs Urban Cruiser vs rivals: Petrol powertrains|
|Sonet||Urban Cruiser||Venue||Vitara Brezza||Nexon||XUV300||EcoSport|
|Engine type||4 cyl, NA/3 cyl turbo||4 cyl, NA||4 cyl, NA/3 cyl, turbo||4 cyl, NA||3 cyl, turbo||3 cyl, turbo||3 cyl, NA|
|Manual gearbox||5-speed/6-speed iMT||5-speed||5-speed/6-speed & 6-speed iMT||5-speed||6-speed||6-speed||5-speed|
|Automatic gearbox||-/7-speed DCT||4-speed torque convertor||-/7-speed DCT||4-speed torque convertor||6-speed AMT||-||6-speed torque convertor|
|Mild-hybrid||No||AT only||No||AT only||No||No||No|
*NA = Naturally aspirated
The Toyota Urban Cruiser and Maruti Vitara Brezza are mechanically identical – they both have some of the lowest output figures among the seven compact SUVs and are the only ones that get a mild-hybrid system, albeit with just the automatic transmission option. The Sonet and Venue 1.2 petrols have the lowest figures, though their respective turbo-petrol versions are among the most powerful. The Ford EcoSport’s engine may not have forced induction but has the highest horsepower rating. Meanwhile, the XUV300’s unit develops the most torque. With the facelift, the Nexon petrol also got a small boost in power – it now equals the Sonet and the Venue. However, its torque figure has remained the same.
Of the petrols, besides the XUV300, all have an automatic option. Hyundai offers a total of four gearbox options – one for the 1.2 petrol, and three with the 1.0 turbo-petrol, including the newly introduced ‘clutchless manual’ transmission (iMT). This unit is also available with the Sonet, though the Kia’s 1.0 turbo engine does not get a standard manual gearbox.
When it comes to ARAI fuel efficiency figures, the Kia Sonet in 1.2 petrol-manual form is the most fuel-efficient; it’s closely followed by the 1.0 turbo-petrol-manual Sonet. Despite sharing its powertrain with the Sonet, the Hyundai Venue’s mileage figures are lower. The Urban Cruiser and Vitara Brezza are the most fuel-efficient automatic compact SUVs, thanks to the mild-hybrid tech on offer. The XUV300 and Nexon petrols are on even footing while the Ford EcoSport sits at the bottom of the fuel economy table.
|Kia Sonet vs Urban Cruiser vs rivals: Diesel powertrains|
|Engine type||4 cyl, turbo||4 cyl, turbo||4 cyl, turbo||4 cyl, turbo||4 cyl, turbo|
|Power||100hp (115hp AT)||100hp||110hp||117hp||100hp|
|Torque||240Nm (250Nm AT)||240Nm||260Nm||300Nm||215Nm|
|Automatic gearbox||6-speed torque convertor||-||6-speed AMT||6-speed AMT||-|
Toyota and Maruti Suzuki don’t offer a diesel engine option with their respective sub-four-metre SUVs, which places them at a smaller disadvantage than you might think, as demand in this segment is skewed toward petrols.
In terms of output, the Mahindra XUV300 diesel is the most powerful, though it’s also the least efficient. What’s interesting is that the Sonet diesel-automatic is slightly more powerful than its manual counterpart and comes in second on horsepower, but the Nexon diesel has a bit more torque. The Venue diesel, which is only on offer in manual guise, and the Sonet manual are more powerful than the EcoSport.
As with the petrols, the Sonet diesel-manual’s mileage figure is 0.8kpl higher than the Venue’s, making it the most efficient diesel compact SUV. The Sonet diesel-auto uses a relatively inefficient torque converter unit, which results in a 19kpl ARAI rating. However, expect a more sophisticated drive experience than the Nexon diesel-AMT and XUV300 diesel-AMT, which may be relatively more frugal.
What are Kia Sonet and Toyota Urban Cruiser prices expected to be?
|Kia Sonet vs Urban Cruiser vs rivals: Price range|
|Sonet||Urban Cruiser*||Venue||Vitara Brezza*||Nexon||XUV300||EcoSport*|
|Petrol-MT||Rs 7-11 lakh (est)||Rs 8.5-10 lakh (est)||Rs 6.70-11.21 lakh||Rs 7.34-9.98 lakh||Rs 7.00-10.75 lakh||Rs 7.95-11.12 lakh||Rs 8.18-11.22 lakh|
|Petrol-AT||Rs 9.5-11.5 lakh (est)||Rs 9.5-11.4 lakh (est)||Rs 9.60-11.58 lakh||Rs 9.75-11.40 lakh||Rs 8.45-11.35 lakh||-||Rs 10.67-11.57 lakh|
|Diesel-MT||Rs 8-11.5 lakh (est)||-||Rs 8.10-11.53 lakh||-||Rs 8.45-12.10 lakh||Rs 8.70-11.90 lakh||Rs 8.68-11.72 lakh|
|Diesel-AT||Rs 9-12.5 lakh (est)||-||-||-||Rs 9.80-12.70 lakh||Rs 10.20-12.30 lakh||-|
|Standard warranty||3 years/unlimited kilometres (est)||3 years/1 lakh kilometres (est)||3 years/unlimited kilometres||2 years/40,000km||2 years/75,000km||2 years/unlimited kilometres||3 years/1 lakh kilometres|
Toyota is expected to have a similar pricing strategy for the Urban Cruiser to the one it used for the Glanza. The entry-level Urban Cruiser variant will be equivalent in features to the mid-spec Vitara Brezza and may even undercut it on price. Even the Urban Cruiser automatic is expected to be priced lower than the respective Maruti Vitara Brezza variants.
Kia Motors India is also looking to price the Sonet competitively – Sonet prices are expected to be around the same as the Hyundai Venue. This means that while Sonet petrol prices may be at par with segment rivals, the Sonet diesel will be comparatively well priced.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser will have the edge over the Maruti in terms of the standard warranty period, but both Korean brands are expected to better that.
We’ll have to wait until prices for both compact SUVs are revealed but on paper, the Kia Sonet seems to have what it takes to become the sales champion of the segment – a position that’s currently held by the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The Toyota Urban Cruiser also seems to have a lot to offer. Only time will tell if this holds true.
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