Thanks to advancements in technologies, cars these days offer a lot more than they did and that evolution will continue. However, what’s surprising is how some cars in the mass-market segment are offering features which were only seen on expensive, high-end vehicles, not so long ago.
One of the latest introductions in India and what is also now a bestseller in its class, the Kia Sonet offers drive modes which allow the driver to manipulate the engine’s power delivery characteristics according to his or her preferences. Variants of the Sonet which are equipped with an automatic transmission offer this convenience. In addition to this, the Sonet is the only vehicle in its class to also offer traction modes which ensure the wheels have an ideal grip on the surface while tackling tricky situations. What are these modes and how do they work?
Behind the wheel of the Sonet, there are three selectable modes to choose from – Eco, Normal and Sport. Upon selection of any of these modes, the Sonet’s ECU regulates the flow of fuel to the engine to manage throttle response accordingly. These modes also control the behaviour of the transmission in terms of minimum and maximum engine speed allowed in each gear and the engine speed at which gear changes happen.
As the name suggests, Eco mode maximises fuel economy by ensuring the engine performs in the most efficient manner possible. In Normal mode, the motor behaves in a neutral manner, performing in an ideal tune to offer the best of economy and performance. On the other hand, Sport mode makes the fuel injection system squirt more fuel inside the engine’s combustion chamber to offer quick responses from the throttle when the driver is in the mood for some fun.
Each one of us has a unique style of driving. Some like to drive at a steady pace to maximise fuel economy, some wish to enjoy the maximum performance which the engine has to offer, while some want the best of both worlds. These drive modes ensure that a single-engine can run different tunes and offer variable performance, according to driving conditions and the driver’s preferred style of driving.
Although a compact SUV, the Kia Sonet is still an SUV and likes to stay true to its roots. Based on the fact that owners will want to enjoy the Sonet’s capabilities, it offers three traction modes – Snow, Mud and Sand. Now, these don’t mean that the Sonet is ready to compete with proper SUVs which are purpose-built for hardcore off-roading. But these modes ensure that ideal traction is available to the wheels when the vehicle encounters tricky conditions.
These modes work in a way where the Sonet’s traction control system constantly monitors slippage. Upon detection of wheel spin on any of the front two wheels, the system manipulates delivery of power to make the wheels find the most traction available. It also summons systems related to the Sonet’s brakes for assistance and together, this ultra fast monitoring assists the car to find a safe way out of tricky situations.
Where the drive modes allow a car to perform variably in order to match the driver’s preferences and style, the traction control modes expand the safety envelope of modern electronics. Goes without saying, together, these systems enhance the vehicle’s capabilities and allow it to perform as desired while keeping the occupants safe.