Have you heard about clutchless manual transmission? You can get to experience it soon as South Korean automotive manufacturer Kia gets ready to launch its new compact SUV that sits below the Seltos in India.
Aimed at repeating the success of the Seltos, Kia is set to bring the Sonet with a clutchless manual transmission. The technology, which was tested in two-wheelers such as TVS Jive and Hero Streak in India, does duty in several cars in the international market. However, the Sonet could be the first to get what Kia calls the new intelligent manual transmission (iMT) along with a one-litre petrol turbo engine. The tech has an auto rev-matching function that helps the driver to change gears without engaging the clutch. Besides, it will also have a 48V mild hybrid system.
The production model of the Kia Sonet concept that was displayed at the last New Delhi auto expo will make its global premiere by the middle of this year. According to sources, the vehicle could be launched soon after that. Though the Sonet will share its platform with the Hyundai Venue, Kia will carry out enough changes to differentiate it from the Venue.
The signature tiger-nose grille with a unique mesh pattern will offer it a bold stance. Instead of split headlamps, the Sonet will come with sleek LED headlamps with built-in LED daytime running lights. The LED light bar that links the taillamps, side claddings, dual-tone alloy wheels etc will provide a butch look. Just like the exterior, the inside too will be sporty.
The car will be equipped with a segment-first 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system (same as the Seltos), among others. The Sonet could be offered with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, 1.0-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be available.
The Sonet comes to a crowded market and will have to fight for market share along with Maruti Brezza, Tata Nexon, Ford Ecosport, Hyundai Venue and Mahindra XUV300. It is expected to be launched by August this year. The company plans to produce around 70,000 units of the Sonet in the first year given that the compact SUV segment is one of the hot and happening zones in India. The price tag for Kia Sonet could range from Rs 7 lakh to Rs 11.5 lakh.