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

We were impressed by the smooth gear shifts and ride quality of the Sonet 7DCT. It was agreed that spending another 80k for this variant was worth it and overall it did look VFM.

BHPian Sudhindra recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi all,

I have booked a Kia Sonet HTX 7DCT on 27th June and the tentative waiting period is 40 weeks. Went for turbo petrol as now our monthly average does not cross beyond 1000Kms and also that I have been driving diesels since last 15 years. For Office commute, I use my bike.

To brief, I currently own a Fiat Punto Evo 1.3MJD 2016 model remapped. Having owned Fiats since 2009, the Punto has served me well so far with its brilliant handling, driving dynamics and solid build. All was well till beginning of this year when there were clutch issues, front suspension(strut mounts) and needed replacement. None of the Fiat ASC here had the parts available on time and was cheated by a multi brand service center, but maintains Fiat spares. It began to worsen, when one after another, several other parts begin to fail gradually. Spare parts unavailability, ASC who charge unnecessarily, delay in delivery of OEM spares when ordered online (sometimes with bad packaging and like used part) as such were bothering us. I deliberated and arrived at the following reasons to change the car for good:

  • That now its the right time to sell our Punto go before it becomes too late as there is no resale value.(we had never considered selling at the time of purchase). Now, It can cover the down payment atleast.
  • The nearest Fiat ASC`s is a good 25kms away from my home and both are lousy.(Earlier with TATA and FIAT co-existence, it was somewhat better and nearby to my home)
  • My wife somewhat used to struggle driving punto inside City limits because of clutch reach and Punto steering being heavy.
  • Age factor, I am in my late 30s and off-late feeling tired after driving Punto (not a good ergonomic car though) and also started developing knee and back pains.

However, my wife not willing to let the Punto go, and suggested that we take a look at any mid sized automatic hatch/sedan for city purpose and keep the Punto for highway use. Parking is not a concern as we have ample space available.

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

  • The nearest ASC should be less than 10Kms from home. Service, spares & fuss free ownership are the top most priority.
  • Should not be a discontinued car.
  • Should be a proper automatic such as CVT, TC, DCT/ DSG.
  • Should have sold in good numbers.
  • In case of a used car, the budget should not exceed 7 lakhs. In case of a new car, around 10 lakhs & that we have to sell off the Punto.
  • Should be good in performance, safety & build quality.
  • Should be petrol. EV can be considered as well.

Option 1- Used car:

Zeroed in on Honda stables i.e. City/Jazz. Either, but we didn’t find any good examples of CVT/AT in Honda or the ones that were good were beyond our budget. My wife is suggested the Polo TSI and Skoda Rapid and she even found a couple of good ones, I rejected them since its discontinued and did not want to go through the pain again. We gradually started deviating from the conditions set and were randomly looking at all cars ranging from Tatas, Hyundais all the way to Innova, XUV 500 etc. both online as well as at used car dealerships. Eventually we began to lose interest in our search.

Option 2- New car:

I began to spend time in going through various new car reviews in Team BHP and understand what is happening with new car markets and keenly followed when the news about new Citroen C3 started making rounds. Just like that we went to one of the nearby Citroen showrooms to enquire, but the dealership said that the C3 will be available for display only from 1st July. Finally when the initial review and tech specs were revealed, non-availability of automatic in C3 and unknown dealership experience was enough to strike this car off the list. For some reasons known or unknown, we were never interested in cars from Maruti, Tata (except EV), Mahindra stables.

Dealership centers for most of the major car brands are nearby my home within 5 kms of distance except FCA. I took help of Team BHP to go through the review of several cars and the Kia Sonet caught my interest. I regularly pass by the  Kia Showroom and had never bothered to look at their products before. I compared the Sonet vs other similar cars and found that the Sonet 1.0 7DCT HTX ticked all the boxes provided I increase my budget from 10 lakhs to 15 lakhs. Kept Tata Nexon EV(base model) as an option as well( just for Tax savings benefits). Presented these two options to my wife and she got thrilled at my renewed interest. Next the question was what to do with Punto as the budget is increased approximately by 5 lakhs for both, the Sonet ant Tata EV and also that we have to go for a car loan. It was decided to have a look at the Kia Sonet first and then take a call.

Test Drive on 26th June:

On the way home after buying groceries, out of the blue we just thought of having a look at the Kia dealership, wherein there were several customers either for enquiries or delivery. We were dressed in our casual daily wear, nonetheless we entered inside and were greeted well by SA and were made comfortable. Meanwhile, my wife checked the display cars and was bowled over by the interiors, fit & finish and she immediately said yes without even taking a TD. Though we found the rear bench space is limited in comparison to the Punto, its not a deal breaker. Otherwise, everything else seemed good. The SA briefed about the pricing, booking process, waiting period etc in detail. I informed SA regarding about my interest in Sonet 7DCT, but he focused more on the benefits of iMT and even before we could asked, a TD of the iMT GTX was arranged. The SA drove the TD car first to demonstrate the ease of driving and then I took my turn. I found the power delivery was very good but left me confused at times. Having driven manual transmission for a long period of time (almost 15 years) and my TD was focused mostly on changing gears. My wife took a TD as well & she struggled even more to sort gears. The iMT gave us a mixed feeling and we returned back home stating that we will take a call. Later that day, we discussed in detail and came to a conclusion not to go with partial auto box like iMT as it still requires changing gears manually. We informed the same to SA and he agreed to our observation and that a TD for 7DCT shall be arranged.

The Tata Nexon EV was discarded due to range limitations. Our home town is approx. 350kms and it will not be suitable for us.

Booking experience on 27th June:

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 by the smooth gear shifts and ride quality. It was agreed that spending another 80k for this variant was worth it and overall it did look VFM. Decided to sell the Punto in exchange or sell for a good value once the SA confirms the availability.

Did not bother to check the Tata Nexon EV as their ASC is not that improved.

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

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