No matter how much you love driving cars, it is all fun and games until you get stuck in slow-moving traffic. The drivers get envious of motorcyclists because the latter can squeeze through the gaps and keep moving forward. While you are struggling with the bumper-to-bumper traffic, swearing at the heavy clutch of your car. It seems like Hyundai understands this problem well and this is the reason why they introduced iMT or intelligent manual transmission in the Venue. We got to drive the Hyundai Venue Sport iMT to find how this new transmission changes the whole driving experience.
How does iMT work?
With this new IMT system, the driver can shift gears without the need to mechanically operate the clutch pedal. So how does the iMT work?
When the driver touches the Intention Sensor placed on the shift lever, the Transmission Control Unit receives a signal that the driver wishes to change gears. This engages the hydraulic actuator to actuate the clutch. This is managed by a Concentric Slave Cylinder (CSC) through a Clutch Tube. The CSC uses the pressure generated by the actuator to control the clutch and pressure plate which engages and disengages the clutch. There were a couple of questions which need to be answered in order to eliminate all the doubts there are regarding the iMT.
The biggest advantage
It is a widely accepted fact that operating a clutch in heavy traffic on a daily basis poses many health problems and has a direct impact on the driver’s legs and spinal cord.
The iMT by eliminating the clutch pedal altogether addresses this issue and makes the driving experience a lot more effortless. Sure, there are conventional automatic gearboxes available for the same purpose but they rob the fun away of driving a manual. iMT combines the best of both worlds.
Is it as quick as manual?
While it is definitely quicker than say, a conventional automatic gearbox but when you compare it to a proper manual gearbox, there is a mild delay. It is because the whole system and electronics take a short while to detect whether the driver is demanding a gear change or not.
It also happens because the whole system has to rev-match the engine in order to shift a gear. The shove that you experience when you downshift, is not that prominent because iMT irons it out and makes it a smooth affair.
What if you engage a higher gear at slow speeds?
We slotted the Venue in 5th gear at speeds as low as 15 km/h just to see how the car responds. A proper manual gearbox would have probably stalled if the clutch isn’t operated in an appropriate manner but this is another department where the iMT shines. The MID displays a warning to shift down a gear until you reach the proper gear, without stalling.
It will also prove to be a boon for new drivers who are still figuring out a way to operate the clutch and drive a car without stalling it.
Can it pull from standstill in 2nd gear?
Yes, it can! Though the acceleration isn’t as crisp as when you pull it from standstill in 1st gear but it still manages to go forward anyway. But if you try to pull from a standstill from 3rd gear, the same gear shift warning appears on the MID. Slot a gear down and you are good to go.
Modern automatic transmissions are returning the same fuel efficiency as their manual counterparts so where does the iMT stand? On the top. It is claimed to be more fuel-efficient than the manual. While the ARAI certified fuel economy of the Venue is rated at 18.2 KMPL, iMT’s fuel economy is rated at 23.4 KMPL! It happens because the iMT masks all the errors related to clutch and results in a rather frugal drive.
What if you half-press the gear lever or step on the accelerator?
It shows some resistance if you are stepping on the accelerator but if you keep your foot off the accelerator pedal while shifting the gears, it is a smooth affair and the system works flawlessly.
The iMT gearbox is exclusively available with the 1.0-litre T-GDI turbo-petrol. The Venue iMT costs INR 9.90 lakh for the SX trim and INR 11.09 lakh for the SX(O). Additionally, the Korean carmaker has also launched new Sport Trim for the Hyundai Venue, which comes with both petrol and diesel options and is priced between INR 10.20 lakh and INR 11.58 lakh (ex-showroom, India). We got to drive the Sport trim with iMT. Hyundai Venue Sport is available with the new Titan Grey with Phantom Black Roof and Polar White with Phantom Black Roof dual-tone colour options.
What does the Sport trim offer?
As the name suggests, the Sport trim features some extra goodies as compared to the other trims available in the Venue.
The list of exterior features on this one includes a dual-tone colour scheme, Sport badging, red brake calipers, Glossy Black Front Grille with Red Insert, Dark Grey Roof Rail with Red Insert, Red Inserts on the Wheel Arches and Body Side Molding, etc. The cabin isn’t left unattended either as the Sport trim receives Dark Grey Upholstery, Sporty Metal Pedals, Red Stitching/ Piping on Upholstery, Door Trim, TGS, D-cut steering, etc.
If you are looking for an easy car to live which is effortless in its approach but conventional automatic transmissions are a bit too boring for you, the Venue iMT can be given a serious thought. And in the Sport trim, it is even more appealing! Hyundai has certainly focused on the driving experience of the Venue with the compact SUV becoming more involved than before and not to forget, effortless.