Kia has introduced a turbocharged engine option for its Sonet crossover which promises to bring better performance and improved fuel consumption over the naturally-aspirated models.
In addition to the new power source, Kia has added an enhanced top-of-the-line EX+ trim level into the range which gives the new flagship Sonet an asking price of R389,995.
With this budget, car buyers also have an attractive alternative in the form of the range-topping Renault Duster Intens.
This Renault is known for its fuel efficiency and has found much favour among South Africans in recent years partly because of it.
We pin these crossovers against one another to find out what R400,000 gets you in 2022.
Stylish vs rugged
The Kia Sonet is a stylish crossover with an up-to-date design and a focus on features, whereas Renault’s Duster gives off a more rugged appeal and is better geared towards practicality.
Neither are short of equipment and inside the cabin, each model brings a leather multifunction steering wheel, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control, multiple USB ports, and an 8-inch media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto playing through a six-speaker layout.
The Sonet further spoils its owner with artificial leather seats with red contrast stitching, automatic headlight control, voice recognition, a drive mode selector, and a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster.
However, its competitor brings to the table keyless entry and start in addition to LED daytime running lights, along with patterned fabric upholstery.
Both crossovers continue to impress with safety and assistance features offering hill-start assist, rear parking sensors, front fog lamps, and four airbags on the Renault, while the Kia gets six.
On top of this, the Duster sees a 360-degree camera system, blind-spot monitoring, as well as emergency brake assistance, whereas the Kia only comes with a rear-view camera.
The more rugged Renault benefits from larger dimensions, too, bringing home a 478-litre boot versus the Kia’s 392 litres, as well as a higher ground clearance of 210mm compared to 190mm.
Petrol vs diesel
The turbocharged powertrains of the Kia and Renault are rather different from one another, and the results are stark.
In the Sonet, a 1.0-litre, turbo-petrol unit produces 88kW and 172Nm and directs drive to the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch auto-box.
This allows a combined fuel consumption of 6.0l/100km, a 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.3 seconds, a decent 185km/h top speed, and a maximum towing capacity of 800kg.
However, the Duster’s 1.5-litre, turbo-diesel makes clear the advantages of this fuel type with a torquey output of 80kW and 250Nm and a lower average fuel usage of 4.8l/100km.
With the more substantial pulling power and a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission under the hood, this crossover is also able to tow a heavier 1,200kg – although it gets to 100km/h in a slightly slower 11.9 seconds and only manages to do up to 169km/h.
The new Kia Sonet 1.0T EX+ has a South African starting price of R389,995.
Along with this, you get a 5-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, a 4-year/60,000km service plan, and 5-year/unlimited-kilometre roadside assistance.
The range-topping Renault Duster 1.5dCi Intens has a South African starting price of R394,900.
This is accompanied by a 5-year/150,000km warranty and a 3-year/45,000km service plan.
Kia Sonet EX+
Renault Duster Intens