Kia Sonet is the latest entrant to the subcompact UV category and will rival the likes of Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon and Hyundai Venue to name a few
Kia Motors recently launched its sub-4 metre compact crossover– Sonet this month after a huge buzz it generated ever since its concept was introduced at the AutoExpo 2020 earlier this year. While it did manage to please most of the audiences, it did leave a small loophole in its lineup of multiple variant offerings.
The Sonet gets three sets of powertrains and four gearbox options with a total of five engine-gearbox combinations. However, unlike its Korean cousin Hyundai Venue; with which it shares its platform and powertrain options, it doesn’t get a conventional manual gearbox with the more spirited 1.0-litre GDi turbo petrol engine.
Venue gets a conventional 6-speed manual alongside the 7-speed DCT and the recently added 6-speed iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) as transmission options for the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit. On the contrary, the Sonet only offers the DCT and iMT gearboxes with the 1.0-litre petrol engine. This reduces the number of options on the powertrain which has apparently witnessed the greatest demand.
iMT to Replace MT
The iMT is still a very new technology which takes some time to getting used to. It has been developed to provide the convenience of an automatic with an auto clutch, although one still has to slot in the gears manually with a traditional H-pattern stick shift. This gearbox is essentially a manual gearbox with actuators performing the role of engaging or disengaging a clutch.
While it is definitely more engaging than a conventional automatic it still doesn’t provide that level of engagement where more control rests on the driver. Kia believes that the iMT is the manual gearbox for the future and hence it decided to choose it over a regular manual gearbox. For the Korean manufacturer, the thrill of a turbocharged engine and the convenience and affordability of an iMT makes it a perfect combination.
Sonet Turbo Petrol MT
However, Kia hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a traditional manual gearbox with the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. Currently, the most affordable turbo petrol variant of the Sonet is the HTK+ iMT trim which costs Rs 9.49 lakh. This undercuts the Venue SX turbo petrol iMT by Rs 50,000. However, Venue turbo petrol is available at a more affordable S trim with a 6-speed manual at Rs 8.51 lakh which is nearly a lakh cheaper than Sonet HTK+ iMT. All prices mentioned are ex-showroom.
Subjected to public opinion and consumer demand, Kia is open to the thought of introducing a manual transmission to the turbo petrol engine in the future. This will increase the number of options to the Sonet’s lineup and will emerge as a stronger competitor in its segment. Pricing of Sonet turbo petrol MT variant is likely to be lower than that of Hyundai Venue turbo petrol, that is lower than Rs 8.5 lakhs, ex-sh.
Kia Sonet has been recently launched at an introductory and rather competitive starting price of Rs 6.71 lakh (ex-showroom). However, the company is yet to announce the prices of the GTX+ petrol and diesel automatic variants which will be revealed at the end of this month.