The Kia Rio will offer a manual gearbox paired to a hybrid powertrain in Europe
The new technology was unveiled on the redesigned Kia Rio back in May
The redesigned Kia Rio in Europe will feature an available hybrid powertrain, but the big news is that this hybrid engine will be available with a manual gearbox.
It’s not just any manual gearbox, either. The system uses a unique “clutch-by-wire” system that allows a computer the control the clutch in certain situations, but also gives the driver the same feeling as a traditional manual. You still control the clutch with your left foot and you still row through the gears.
In other words, there’s no physical connection like a cable or hydraulic system connected to the clutch. It is replaced by what Kia calls the Intelligent Manual Transmission. The IMT is electronically connected to the new Rio’s 48-volt electrical system.
The system can essentially activate the clutch in certain situations such as when the hybrid system kicks in or when the start/stop system is engaged. This wouldn’t be possible in a traditional manual where the clutch needs to be activated when the combustion engine shuts down or restarts.
More than just allowing a hybrid powertrain to pair with a manual, the IMT also promises to make the transition between the electric and gas engines and the operation of the start/stop system smoother. It will also reduce C02 emissions by 3 percent according to Kia.