Modern cars are getting smarter with each new generation. And that is true today than ever before. In fact, carmakers are innovating to keep up with the changing demands of consumers. Kia, with the Sonet, did exactly that. In the crowded subcompact SUV space, Kia Motors India, made sure that the Sonet had what it takes to set itself apart. It made it an intelligent car, a smart car in fact and it has been one of the best-selling subcompact SUV in India and that's no surprise given the benchmarks it sets for all other subcompact SUVs – be it on performance, comfort or features.
Along with the Kia UVO connectivity technology and the host of features on the Sonet, the SUV focusses on driving comfort and good performance too! And that is where Kia's IMT technology comes in. IMT is short for intelligent manual transmission. It eliminates the need for a clutch pedal. Imagine you are driving a car with a manual gearbox. Usually when you change gears, you press the clutch pedal with your left foot, take your right foot off the accelerator and shift the gears with your hand.
In a car with IMT technology, there is no clutch pedal. So, your left foot is relaxed while driving. When you do feel the need to change gears, just slot the gear knob into the desired position and shift up or down like you normally would.
Of course, it doesn't mean that the clutch is done away with completely. There is a clutch but it is operated electronically with the help of a variety of sensors, and not by a clutch pedal that needs to be pressed every time one wants to change gears. That's clever, isn't it?
There is no clutch pedal on the Sonet IMT
The system sensing your hand on the gearshift, activates the clutch in microseconds, so that by the time you actually up or downshift, the gear can engage smoothly. This way you also feel no lag or delay while driving the vehicle.
And what's more, if you are in a higher gear, and forget to downshift – the car will not stall, even if you bring it to a standstill. Instead an alarm or warning alert goes off, with the display asking you to downshift or bring the gearbox to neutral. As you are getting used to it, it is good to have a failsafe system like that.
The technology is a great blend of control and comfort. The enthusiast in you will still have that joy and feel of shifting gears at will, while the fatigue of driving in bad traffic will become more practical and comfortable
The IMT is only offered with the 1-litre turbo petrol engine
So, an IMT offers the best of both worlds! It is comfortable, practical and hey – before we forget – most importantly, it is fuel efficient too! Claimed mileage on the Sonet IMT is 18.2 kilometres per litre. And yes, this variant comes with the modern and fun 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine that's great to drive. And it's getting popular – evident from the fact that close to 25 per cent of bookings for the Kia Sonet till November 2020 have been for the IMT variant!