New Model News

2021 Kia Sonet debuts but its arrival in North America is uncertain

Up front, the Kia Sonet has Seltos-like looks.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sonet is the company's answer to the Hyundai Venue. It's a subcompact crossover that would slot below the Kia Seltos in Kia's North American lineup. That is, if it ever makes it here.

The Sonet is made in India and will be sold globally - the same as the Ford EcoSport. It's a completely new model for Kia, having been jointly designed in partnership by Kia Motors India and Kia's global R&D headquarters in South Korea.

The urban crossover incorporates Kia's signature tiger nose grille along with design lines reminiscent of its Seltos stablemate. Its LED daytime running lights and taillights are shaped like the electric pulse of a heart. At the back, the Sonet is rounder than the Seltos and there's a diffuser and skid plate.

2021 Kia Sonet The back of the Sonet features wraparound rear glass.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Buyers can get the Sonet in their choice of up to eight monotone and three dual-tone exterior colors.

Like with other models in the company's lineup, Kia intends to offer the Sonet in a sportier GT-Line trim level. These models have red accents in the cabin and a D-shaped steering wheel.

Kia is selling the Sonet with they buyer's choice of three engines: a 1.2-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder, and a 1.5-liter. The first two are gasoline engines and the other is a diesel power plant. Five manual and automatic transmission options are available. Kia offers a variety of drive and traction modes in automatic versions of the model. Remote start/stop technology is available no matter the powertrain or transmission.

One of the first clues that this model might not be destined for America lies here. The strongest of the three engines appears to be the turbo 1.0-liter. That's a similar size to what is in the Ford EcoSport base model. There, it's generally derided as being extremely underwhelming. But, the EcoSport is a size bigger than the Sonet. In the U.S., the similarly-sized Venue has a competent 1.6-liter four-cylinder - the same engine that's in the subcompact Kia Rio car.

2021 Kia Sonet The model features an interior that that youthful design.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The cabin of the model features a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation on the center of the dashboard. It has a smart air purifier that offers virus protection, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, ventilated driver and front-passenger seats, LED sound mood lighting (the Kia Soul also has this), remote start, voice commands, a 4.2-inch driver information screen, over-the-air updates, and a wireless charger with cooling functionality.

Automatic headlamps, fog lamps, and parking sensors are also available. There is no mention of a rearview camera. If the Sonet were to be sold in the U.S., a rearview camera would need to be installed as per a regulation that went into effect in 2018.

It also has "plenty" of leg-, head-, and shoulder room according to Kia, as well as a large trunk. Ventilated front seats are available - a first in the segment. There is no provision for heated seats - something that's generally a staple of North American model offerings.

Pricing for the model will vary by market. It is rolling out in India soon and will be available in global markets following that launch.

There is room below the Soul and Seltos at the bottom of the Kia lineup, but the competition is getting stiffer by the day as the market retracts. Even the Venue, which is heralded for its spaciousness, comfort, and grocery getting capability only moves around 1,600 models per month. That's about as many as the Hyundai Accent, more than the Kia Niro, but less than the Rio. Kia sold over 41,000 Soul and 18,000 Seltos models from January to July this year.

Will the Sonet come to the U.S.? Only Kia knows for sure and only time will tell.

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Updated compact car

Kia announces updates for 2022 Forte

Kia revised the Forte's styling for 2022.

Kia

While many automakers cut cars to focus on highly profitable trucks and SUVs, Kia has remained dedicated to cars and continues improving them year after year. The Forte was updated for 2022 with new tech, massaged styling, and revised advanced safety features.

The new Forte offers a revised front-end design, new bumpers, updated wheels, and updated headlights. Though the car's overall shape and style are familiar, the detail work around the grille, lower front fascia, and headlights adds a sharp, modern look to the car. The same is true for the car's rear end, as the new bumper, taillights, and trunk lid spoiler all add to the car's appeal but don't drastically differentiate it from its predecessor.

2022 Kia Forte The Forte can be had with a powerful turbocharged engine.Kia

Inside, the new Forte features a standard 4.2-inch color driver information display and an eight-inch touchscreen that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A massive 25-inch wide touchscreen system is standard for the GT and GT-Line trims that includes navigation and over-the-air map updates. The car can be optioned with SynTex synthetic leather upholstery and the available smart key system now includes remote start.

The Forte is still offered with two engine choices for 2022. They include a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 147 horsepower and returns 41 mpg on the highway. A continuously variable transmission is paired with the 2.0-liter engine. The upgraded engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four that produces 201 horsepower through either a seven-speed dual clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

2022 Kia Forte The Forte comes packed with standard tech and safety features.Kia

A host of advanced driver aids are standard: Forward collision-avoidance assist, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, lane keeping assist, and a driver attention warning system. The Forte is available with highway driving assist, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, safe exit warnings, blind spot collision avoidance assistance, forward collision alerts, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

2022 Kia Forte Synthetic leather is available in the Forte.Kia

The Monterrey, Mexico-built Forte should begin arriving on dealers' lots soon. Kia offers the car in four trims: FE, LXS, GT-Line, and GT. The mid-level EX trim was dropped for 2022.

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Safety and technology awards

Four Hyundai cars earn top marks for teen drivers

Best SUV for Teens $35 to $40k: 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid

Hyundai
Each year, U.S. News & World Report ranks vehicles in several categories. One relates to teen drivers and how well a vehicle performs in areas such as safety and available technology features. The 2021 rankings for Best New Cars for Teens were just released and one automaker hit it big. Four vehicles from Hyundai's 2021 lineup took top spots in various categories. They include:
  • Best Car for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid
  • Best SUV for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Kona
  • Best Car for Teens $25k to $30k: 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
  • Best SUV for Teens $35k to $40k: 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid


2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Best Car for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai Elantra HybridHyundai


All vehicles that earned awards in the 2021 survey are available with safety features that include forward collision warnings, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and lane keep assist. The vehicles also carry safety features and controls that allow parents to monitor their teen's behavior. Through the available smartphone app, parents can receive alerts when the vehicle goes over a set speed or if the teen leaves a set geographic area. The idea is that the functionality allows parents to coach their young drivers on their driving habits.


2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Best Car for Teens $25k to $30k 2021 Hyundai Ioniq HybridHyundai


To earn a spot on the U.S. News Best Cars for Teens rankings, a vehicle has to score well in several categories that include crash test scores and available advanced driver assistance features. The vehicle must also have scored well in the publication's rankings for its segment and price level.


2021 Hyundai Kona Best SUV for Teens $20k to $25k: 2021 Hyundai KonaHyundai

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