Kia SA makes a sterling debut in the heavily populated budget crossover segment with its recently launched Sonet.
It's hard to believe that back in 2012, the Kia Cerato - a family sedan - was South Korea's best-selling brand in South Africa. Back then, sedans were still selling like hotcakes in SA. In the last decade much has changed, with SUVs and crossovers all but obliterating the sedan market.
This global trend for bigger, more capable vehicles has seen SUV sales rocket from 35 million in 2010 to over 200 million a decade later. On the USA's top 40 bestseller list, SUV sales tripled between 2010 to 2019 and crossovers now make up more than 40% of the American market for new cars.
Back in 2012, Kia SA had limited offerings in the SUV/crossover range. You could either buy a Sportage or a Sorento, but nothing in the more affordable crossover and compact crossover range. The Kia Soul, considered to be an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), was also around but it never really sold in significant volumes.
Traditional SUVs are usually built on a pickup truck or bakkie platform - for example, the Toyota Fortuner uses the Hilux platform and the...