The 6-speed iMT is identical to its conventional manual counterpart in terms of basic architecture
Kia India has just stepped into the electric vehicle space with EV6, a radically styled electric compact crossover. We can surely see more mainstream volume-oriented EVs from Hyundai’s sister brand in the coming years. Meanwhile, Kia is reportedly working on optimizing its brisk selling conventional IC-engine lineup in the country.
Kia Discontinuing Diesel Manual?
Rushlane has learnt that the diesel manual variants of Kia Seltos, Sonet and Carens could be discontinued in the coming months. Diesel enthusiasts will have to be content with the iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) which is essentially a manual transmission with an automated clutch operation.
Currently, only the Seltos offers the 6-speed iMT option with the 1.5-liter diesel motor in addition to a 6-speed manual and automatic variants. The Sonet and Carens diesel variants settle for only the conventional MT and AT.
The move to discontinue manual transmission in favour of iMT across Kia India’s diesel range could be attributed to a customer preference. It would also give Kia an opportunity to reduce complexity of its variants lineup which usually pays dividends when it comes to production planning, sourcing, and CO2 management.
Hyundai and Kia’s iMT aims to strike a balance between a conventional manual gearbox and an AMT by allowing the driver to retain complete control over the shifting part while taking care of clutching and de-clutching automatically. The two pedal driving with the use of a gear lever may take a bit of getting used to but it reduces driving effort significantly, especially in bumper-to-bumper traffic our cities suffer from. And it can do all this while maintaining the same efficiency as a regular MT.
Increased popularity among customers
Clutchless driving is getting more and more popular in India in recent years but a full-fledged automatic or even an AMT for that matter come with a significant additional cost. The iMT, thanks to its relative simplicity, also comes with a cost advantage.
By offering the iMT as standard across its diesel range, Kia could be aiming to strengthen the appeal of its portfolio. We also expect to see reduction in the number of variant lineups across the model range. This should happen sometime later this year. Given the chip shortage has more or less been sorted, we don’t expect Kia to run into supply chain issues for this gearbox.
Given that the emission norms across the world, including India, are getting more and more stringent every year, the diesel passenger cars are nearing their end. We have already seen several models in India across different OEMs ditching the oil burners when the country switched to BS-VI norms and this trend will only get stronger in the near future. So, the upcoming Kia iMT models could be the last of diesel models the brand will offer in India.