Kia Sonet, the next big product from the South Korean brand, has made its global premiere today ahead. The car would be launched for customers in the coming months. While India becomes the Sonet’s first market of the launch where it will feature no electrification, the global market that will receive the Sonet in a phased fashion is expected to welcome the EcoDynamics+ petrol engine with the mild-hybrid system and an advanced version of the intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). The Sonet is confirmed for two global regions – the Asia Pacific and the Middle East – with several more expected to follow for the ‘global’ compact SUV that will be manufactured and shipped out of India.
Kia Sonet in India
Being a sub-4-metre SUV, the Sonet will compete with the Hyundai Venue, Maruti Vitara Brezza and the Mahindra XUV300 in the upper end of the compact SUV segment. In India the engine line-up to be copy+pasted from the Venue: 1.0-litre turbo-petrol, 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel. The Smartstream 1.2-liter four-cylinder, the 1.0 T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) and the 1.5-liter CRDi diesel engine come with a choice of five transmissions, including five- and six-speed manuals, a seven-speed DCT, six-speed automatic, and Kia’s new six-speed Smartstream intelligent manual transmission (iMT)
EcoDynamics+ & iMT
As in the new Kia Rio, we assume Kia Motors would roll out its new EcoDynamics+ powertrain that combines the ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi engine with a 48V MHEV system on the Sonet for some global markets. The system features a 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery that assists in the engine’s torque output and Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit that extends engine ‘off time’. The MHSG recuperates the energy from the crankshaft when the car decelerates and recharges the battery.
Globally, the EcoDynamics+ powertrain comes in two versions – 100 PS and 120 PS and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 10.7 per cent. The 48V system also features a Drive Mode Select system with Eco, Sport and Normal modes. The mild-hybrid powertrain is equipped with a new intelligent Manual Transmission with a clutch-by-wire system to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. This technology is a future-proofing attempt of the Hyundai Motor Group’s petrol and diesel engines in regions where governments are tightening fleet emission targets.
The iMT features a clutch that is controlled electronically instead of a mechanical linkage. Unlike the Kia’s Idle Stop & Go start-stop system, the new iMT switches off the engine earlier and improves the overall fuel efficiency. Readers will note that Hyundai has already introduced the iMT with the Venue, but that comes in a regular IC engine and is not an electrified unit that enjoys added efficiency (3% reduction in CO2 emission). The combination of the EcoDynamics+ and the ‘electrified’ iMT is a more expensive technology and understandably is not part of the Sonet’s Indian business plan.
Kia Sonet Features
The Sonet is richly equipped with features including a 10.25-inch HD touchscreen system with navigation and live traffic, 4.2-inch instrument cluster, Air Purifier that has virus protection, Bose 7-speaker audio with sub-woofer, ventilated front seats, LED Sound Mood Lighting, OTA map updates, multi-drive models and wireless mobile phone charger. In the aspect of safety, the Sonet has it well covered with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) and BA (brake assist).