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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition is a new addition to the lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of GMC

Truck drivers are no stranger to the challenges of towing. With updates to the GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty pickup trucks for 2021, the premium division of General Motors is adding a suite of customer-focused technologies to the make trailering easier.

"Trailering is essential for pickup truck customers. More than half of our Sierra customers use their trucks to primarily tow equipment for outdoor adventures," said GMC Marketing Director Rich Latek. "We continually listen to customer feedback, which tells us they want class-leading safety, technology and comfort to tow what they need, whether it's a boat, an RV or a trailer hauling off-road toys."

2021 GMC Sierra: Jack-Knife Alert

Photo courtesy of GMC

New or enhanced trailering tech available on both 2021 GMC Sierra light-duty and heavy-duty models includes:

  • Trailer Length Indicator - New for 2021, when enabled and driving forward with the turn signal activated, the center console screen displays a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer and shows when other vehicles are present and may interfere with a lane-change maneuver.
  • Jack-Knife Alert - New for 2021, Jack-Knife Alert tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle. If the front of the trailer approaches the rear of the vehicle, an alert is displayed when there may be a potential jack-knife situation.
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator: Rear Trailer View has been enhanced to include guidelines that assist when backing a trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator to show the relationship between the truck and compatible trailer. Rear Trailer View requires the customer-installed available GM auxiliary accessory camera.
  • Rear Side View enhancement - When driving forward on the 2020 GMC Sierra, Rear Side View provides a split view of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer that is automatically biased based on the trailer's angle. In the 2021 GMC Sierra, drivers will have access to this view while driving in reverse, making it easier to see surrounding vehicles and objects while positioning a trailer.
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement - New Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which can be helpful for aligning and hooking up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.

Select trailering features require a conventional-hitched box or camping trailer and additional setup may be required. Customers can see their dealers for full details.

Additionally, GMC is expanding the availability of their MultiPro Tailgate to Sierra 1500 SLE and Elevation trim models, which will also be offered in a number of new paint colors. The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 will be available with 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires and off-road high-clearance step.

GMC is also reducing the price of its available 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine by $1,500 for 2021 making it just $995 above the the Sierra 1500's 5.3L V-8 with Dynamic Fuel Management.

The 2021 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty Denali gets new standard equipment including HD Surround Visionn and Bed Video camera technology. The new Sierra HD Denali Black Diamond Edition will have several unique features, including exclusive 20-inch high-gloss black wheels and new power-retractable assist steps. Similar to the Sierra 1500, the Sierra Heavy Duty AT4 will now have available 18-inch Mud Terrain tires and an available off-road high clearance step accessory.

Other additions to Sierra HD include the MultiPro Tailgate standard on the SLE grade and three new available paint color options.

The 2021 GMC Sierra goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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