Kia Motors is a South Korean automotive manufacturer that has its headquarters located in Seoul. Kia low-budget cars in India are very popular due to their feature-rich offerings, sporty styling, good reliability and strong build quality.
Kia’s entry-level model is the Kia Sonet which starts at Rs.7.15 lakh. Kia Motors offers 5 low budget cars in India which are the Sonet, Carens, Seltos, Carnival and EV6.
Hyundai Motors has a minority stake in Kia and there are several Hyundai models that share platforms with Kia cars. For example, the Kia Sonet and the Hyundai Venue share underpinnings and many components. This allows Kia to cut costs and offer low-budget cars in India.
Kia Low Budget Cars in India
Kia Motors made its debut in India with the Kia Seltos, a mid-size SUV that shares its platform with the Hyundai Creta. The Seltos was launched in 2019 and at the time made a buzz by disrupting the mid-size SUV segment with first-in-class features, sporty styling, and premium interiors.
Kia’s manufacturing facility is located at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. Apart from the Seltos, Kia Motors offers a compact SUV, the Kia Sonet, a luxury MPV called the Kia Carnival and a fully electric car called the Kia EV6.
Kia’s low-budget car has the lowest on-road price of Rs. 7.15 lakh. The Sonet is available in a range of variants across three powertrain options.
It gets a 1.2 litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine that meshes with a 5-speed manual transmission (81 bhp / 115 Nm). Then there is a 1.0 litre, turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine, that gets the option of either a 6-speed iMT or a Dual Clutch Transmission Automatic (117 bhp/172 Nm). The last engine option is a 1.5-litre diesel paired to a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission (112 bhp / 250 Nm).
The Sonet has the signature Kia front grille with LED headlamps, fog lamps (projectors), LED rear tail lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and functional roof rails. It also gets a newly designed Sonet logo.
The interiors are offered with a dual tone colour, leather or leatherette upholstery, tyre pressure monitoring system, side airbags, a 4.2-inch instrument cluster, the option of Kia connect functions, reclining rear seats, and a rear-view mirror that integrates the Kia Connect button.
The seating capacity for the Kia Sonet is 5 passengers, including the driver. The main rivals for the Kia Sonet are the Hyundai Venue (which shares a platform), Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Tata Nexon, Toyota Urban Cruiser, Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger.
Also read: Renault Kiger Vs Nissan Magnite Vs Kia Sonet
The Kia Carens shares its engine options with the Kia Seltos which are the 1.5-litre petrol (113 bhp / 144 Nm), 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol (138 bhp / 242 Nm), and a 1.5-litre diesel power plant (113 bhp / 250 Nm). The 1.5-litre petrol gets a 6-speed manual transmission, the turbo petrol gets the option of either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission unit. The 1.5-litre diesel gets a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
The Kia Carens is a feature-rich SUV with dual-tone interiors, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster and plenty of storage spaces around the cabin.
There is a third row of seats for the Carens which makes it a seven-seater and the cabin gets ambient lighting, an air purifier, roof-mounted air conditioning vents for the second and third row of seats, ventilated front seats and an electric sunroof.
For safety, the Kia Carens gets 6 airbags, all-wheel disc brakes, a tyre pressure monitoring system and rear parking sensors. The Kia Carens faces competition from the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Maruti Suzuki XL6 as well as the Hyundai Creta.
Good things about the Kia Carens include a wide range of engine options and a usable third row while the exterior design could be better. The steering is also a bit lacking in feedback and would do better with some more response. Modern age features and high levels of practicality make the Kia Carens a winner in this segment.
The Seltos comes in a total of 19 trim options and two petrol units with one diesel engine. The 1.5 litre petrol (Smartstream) has 112 bhp @ 6,300 rpm / 144 Nm @ 4,500 rpm with transmission options a 6-speed manual, 6-speed iMT and IVT gearbox.
The other petrol engine is a 1.4 litre turbocharged unit (136 bhp @ 6,000 rpm / 242 Nm @ 1,500 – 3,200 rpm) mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission unit.
The 1.5 litre diesel engine (112 bhp @ 4,000 rpm / 250 Nm @ 1,500 – 2,750 rpm) with a 6-speed manual, iMT or an automatic torque converter gearbox.
The exterior has a sporty look with LED projector headlamps, LED DRLs and a wide Kia signature grille. The interiors offer either fabric or semi-leather seats, a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, reclining rear seats, side airbags, tyre pressure monitoring system and ABS with EBD braking system. The Seltos can accommodate 5 passengers in comfort and the cabin is quite spacious.
The Kia Seltos takes on the likes of the Hyundai Creta with which it shares the same platform. Advantages of the Seltos include pleasing exterior styling, top-notch quality of interior fit and finish, and a range of engine and powertrain options to suit every car buyer’s needs. Some of the cons of the Seltos include an inconsistent ride quality while the top-end versions get a little pricey.
The Seltos features a striking, sporty design that impresses with its sleek lines. It is loaded with features and is a good value-for-money mid-size SUV for the Indian car buyer.
The Kia Carnival is also called the Kia Sedona in global markets. The Kia Grand Carnival is available in 7-, 8- and 11-seater configurations. The Grand Carnival luxury MPV is powered by a 2,199 cc, diesel unit (CRDi) that produces a maximum power output of 202 bhp and peak torque of 441 Nm with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The average ex-showroom price of the Kia Grand Carnival is Rs.29.99 lakh.
Some of the pros of the Kia Grand Carnival include a stylish design that makes it look more like a large SUV than an extended MPV. The interiors are extremely roomy and spacious, and there is a large glass area to provide exceptional visibility for the driver and passengers.
Ride quality is above par for this large MPV, and it can soak up bumps quite easily either at low or high speeds. The Kia Grand Carnival comes across as a luxurious and premium people mover, with loads of leather in the cabin that comfort passengers.
The diesel 2.2-litre engine is also very powerful and makes driving pretty easy thanks to its large amounts of torque.
The disadvantage is that city driving can get a bit cumbersome due to its large size and external dimensions. The steering is overly-assisted and offers little feedback. The braking system could also be improved because it lacks linear feel and confidence.
The main rivals for the Kia Grand Carnival are the Toyota Innova, but the Kia offers more street presence, modern age features and a sporty design combined with luxurious interiors.
The flagship, all-electric car from Kia is the EV6 which is available in GT Line (Rear Wheel Drive) and All-Wheel Drive variants. Priced at Rs.59.95 lakh puts this car in the premium SUV segment. The styling is a cross between an oversized hatchback and an MPV.
The Kia EV6 gets a 77.4 kWh battery pack and the rear-wheel-drive version has 223 bhp / 350 Nm giving an acceleration time of 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds.
The All-Wheel Drive version has a power output of 320.5 bhp and 605 Nm of torque with a 0-100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds. There is an automatic gearbox shared between the two variants.
The exterior features a low-slung coupe-like roofline, 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, and a sporty, aggressive styling treatment. The front end gets wrap-around LED lights and an LED light bar across the boot lid.
The interior gets premium upholstery, a 12.3-inch curved touchscreen, ventilated front seats, ambient lighting, a rotary shift by wire dial for the transmission, an electric sunroof and an electric parking brake. 5 passengers can be accommodated in comfort in the EV6.
Rivals for the Kia EV6 include the BMW i4 electric car. The pricing is on the steeper side and the cabin would have done a lot better with fewer plastics and more premium materials.
The Kia EV6 does however have a futuristic design that has not been seen before on an EV. Performance and driving dynamics are also spectacular, while a range of 528 km is promising.
Since the EV6 comes to India as a CBU (Completely Built Unit) it comes to us at almost double its actual cost. It is an extremely impressive EV product from Kia that has the potential to lead the way in the electric vehicle segment.
Kia's main selling point is practical, well-equipped family cars that tick all the right boxes for mainstream car buyers’ requirements. If you are looking for a Kia low-budget car in India, then the Kia Sonet is the perfect compact SUV for you. If you are in the market for a mid-size SUV, then the Kia Seltos make for a very sensible purchase.
For fans of the seven-seater luxury vehicle, they can opt for the Kia Carnival which is a premium people mover that is affordable.
Kia also offers an all-electric vehicle called the Kia EV6 which is an impressive vehicle and there is no doubt that it will have other manufacturers playing catch up in the new age EV segment with this model.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why Kia cars are so cheap?
Ans. Kia cars may be inexpensive to purchase, but they are built of high-quality materials and are reliable enough to be daily driver vehicles. The Kia brand suffered from a negative reputation in the past, but since then they have proved that they can build excellent cars which are on par with their Japanese, European and American rivals.
Kia cars indeed make use of good quality materials, and their low cost of purchase is due to the low cost of labour in South Korea, unlike in the United States or Europe where the cost of labour is high.
Q2. Are Kia cars good?
Ans. Kia is a major low-budget brand from South Korea that shares many of its platforms with Hyundai models. Just like its sister brand Hyundai, Kia has made dramatic leaps in quality and reliability for its cars in recent times. Kia cars cost less than most other brands but they are just as appealing, come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and are popular with mainstream buyers.
Q3. Which Kia is the cheapest?
Ans. There are no Kia low-budget cars below 3 lakh or 5 lakh. The cheapest Kia car in India is the Kia Sonet which starts at a price of Rs.7.15 lakh ex-showroom. The Sonet is a Kia car below 8 lakhs. The second cheapest Kia car in India is the Kia Carens which has a price tag of Rs.9.59 lakh ex-showroom. The most popular Kia cars in India happen to be the Kia Sonet and the Kia Carens, which is most likely due to their affordable price tag, good build quality, a high number of features and value for money.
Q4. Which Kia is the most expensive?
Ans. The most expensive Kia car in India is the Kia EV6 which is available at a starting price of Rs. 59.95 lakh. It comes to India via the CBU (Completely Built Unit) route which explains its high price. It is Kia’s flagship EV product that comes with a smashing design, blistering performance, brilliant dynamics and handling with a range of 528 km under ideal conditions.