I was very excited when I heard that Hyundai had introduced a brand new gearbox for the Hyundai Venue 1.0 Turbo engine. They had named it the iMT or the Intelligent Manual Transmission, which is essentially changing gears yourself but not using the clutch pedal at all. I was thus intrigued to experience this myself. So I went and did. Before I begin, I want to say a massive thanks to Mira Hyundai in Warje, Pune for giving me a car to drive. Now, let’s see what the fuss is about.
How does this differ to a conventional manual gearbox (MT)?
Before we see that, let me tell you the changes to the outside compared to the Venue 1.0 MT. Well, there aren’t that many. The iMT logo on the front right fender is the only giveaway that this is the iMT version. On the inside, the lack of a clutch and a smaller brake pedal and a D-cut steering wheel are the differences on the inside. Other than these, the car remains the same everywhere. The car looks really great inside and out and has a feature-rich cabin too.
Coming to the question, the only difference between this and a conventional manual gearbox is that in the iMT, a pair of hydraulic actuators control the movement of the clutch, instead of the driver pressing the clutch, in order to change gear. This is really handy in the city. Due to the actuators, the price of the car does rise a little compared to its manual twin, but not by much.
In what ways does this differ to an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)?
Many of you may be wondering what kind of question is that, in that this name could be another acronym for the AMT gearbox. That is not at all true. In the AMT gearbox, the basics are of a manual gearbox in terms of its design, but the movement of the clutch and the gears are done by hydraulic actuators. As mentioned before, only the clutch movement is controlled by the actuators. Because of this, the maintenance cost is lower compared to an AMT and a little higher compared to a conventional manual gearbox. That’s the only difference, really.
Any difference in the driving experience?
To be honest, not really. In my short drive, I was initially very apprehensive to press the clutch to change gear. But as I got on through the drive, I got used to the no-clutch-pressing. I also tried to see whether it could creep as I normally would by doing half-clutch in a manual car. And it did that too. That was absolutely fantastic. The gear changes are slick too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try whether it could hold its place on a hill, as I had very limited space to test it. But with the time I had with the car, I enjoyed the driving experience.
What is the price you pay extra for the gearbox?
You might think a lot, but not much actually. This gearbox is only offered on the 1.0 litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. With the conventional manual, the car in SX(O) trim costs ₹10.9 lakh (ex-showroom Pune). With the iMT, the same variant costs ₹23,500 more. If you ask me, that extra cash is worth every single penny.
What’s my verdict?
If my friend or colleague asked me which variant of the Venue to buy other than the DCT as that’s too expensive or the manual as the car will mostly be for city use, go for the iMT without a shadow of a doubt.