Kia Motors reecntly launched the most awaited compact-SUV of the year, Sonetin India. The company has set the introductory price of Rs 6.71 lakh for the base variant. The Sonet is available in two trims, the Tech Line and the GT Line. The best part is that Kia has made the Sonet available in multiple engines and gearbox combinations to serve the needs of every type of customer. The most performance oriented variant is the one with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine.
However, this turbo petrol version misses out on something which is must for every enthusiast, a manual gearbox option. Still, this compact SUV has already received an overwhelming response from buyers, by registering new records with 6500 plus pre-booking and also the bookings for the Sonet are said to have crossed the 25,000 units mark.
Manual gearbox on the cards?
As per the reports, the Kia Sonet might also get the 6-speed manual gearbox working in conjunction with its 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor. Curently, this engine is capable of producing 118 bhp of power and 172 Nm of torque. The company currently offers a DCT automatic variant and the alternative to that is iMT(Intelligent Manual Transmission). However, unlike the Venue – which offers the iMT as an alternative to a manual gearbox – the Sonet does not offer the same choice, with the iMT being the only transmission option for the turbo-petrol engine that lets you row through the gears with a traditional H-pattern gear shifter.
The iMT, Kia says, will be the transmission of the future. It integrates the fun of shifting using a gear stick with the convenience of a clutchless automatic. But several enthusiasts will disagree with a firm no because the stick shift is most of the time preferred with a clutch. Kia is claiming that they might think of introducing a proper manual transmission with the Sonet, if there is enough demand.
Interestingly, Hyundai Motors recently announced that its planning to drop the manual option from the 2021 Venue line-up, due to poor demand in the USA. That’s not suprising, as the manual gearbox is dying a slow death across the world. The possible reason behind the “lack of demand” for the manual gearbox option, could also be the comfort and convenience of a automatic car, in the busy city traffic.
Considering the fact that Hyundai already offers the option for the Venue’s turbo variant, the Kia Sonet could also get the same 6-speed manual gearbox, if market demands for the same. If Kia does bring in a manual option for the Sonet 1.0 Turbo, we expect it to cost almost Rs 20,000 less than the equivalent Sonet iMT variant.