new Hyundai iMT or Intelligent Manual Transmission now comes as an option with
the Venue compact SUV from Hyundai Motor India. The iMT is an industry first
and it is for the first time a passenger vehicle in India has come out with
such a transmission.
Hyundai Venue comes with three engine options: a 1.2 litre Kappa Petrol which
has again, only an option of a 5-speed manual transmission. Then we have the 1.0
litre Kappa Turbo GDi Petrol engine which has an option of a 6-speed manual
transmission, a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission or DCT and the new 6-speed Intelligent
Manual Transmission or iMT. The third engine option available is the 1.5 l U2
CRDi Diesel which only comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.
1.2 litre Kappa Petrol
* 5-speed manual transmission
1.0 litre Kappa Turbo GDi Petrol
* 6-speed manual transmission,
* 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission or DCT
* New 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission or iMT
1.5 l U2 CRDi Diesel
* 6-speed manual transmission
iMT has been provided only for 1 litre Kappa turbo petrol engine variants that
include SX and SX (O). Both these variants again have an additional variant
that goes by the name Dual Tone (Sport). Thus in total there are four variants
that come with this new iMT.
does a Dual Tone (Sport) differ from its counterpart? This Dual Tone (Sport)
variant has a few sporty elements that are clearly marked in red. It’s all over
the car, both inside as well as outside in tiny bits whether it is the dash of
red on the wheel arches, red brake calipers for the front discs, the plus sign
in red on the front grille, the red line running across the bottom of the door,
a dash of red on one side of the roof rails, etc. As you move inside, you get
to see the red bits on the air conditioner knobs, the air vents both in front
and rear, the seats, the steering wheel cover, the gear knob cover stitching,
door panel stitching, etc. Apart from the words ‘Turbo’ and the variant name
displayed at the rear of the vehicle, for the Sport variant you also get a neat
‘Sport’ name plate on the C-pillar.
Manual, Automatic & iMT
understand an iMT, you need to understand that there are two broad categories
of transmissions: Manual and Automatic. Manual transmissions are
either 4-speed or 5-speed or 6-speed and so forth. Similarly, automatic
transmissions also have different speed categories. In a manual transmission one has to change
gears manually and to do so one has to operate the clutch pedal on the floor.
Each time you need to change the gear, you need to depress the clutch pedal. In
an automatic, there is no clutch pedal and in order to shift to higher gears
and pick up speed all you need to do is to press the accelerator pedal after
shifting the gear lever to the ‘D’ or Drive mode. Automatic vehicles do not
have a clutch pedal. Many modern automatic transmissions also come with manual
mode wherein you can shift the lever from D mode and engage the + and – to downshift
or up shift the gears manually. Some automatic vehicles also have paddle shifts
on either side of the steering wheel where you can with your hands tug at the +
and – paddle shifts to change gears manually while driving. But in such cases
the manual intervention is limited and the moment you start making mistakes the
system overrides the manual function.
where does an iMT fit in? Here too there is no clutch. Does that make it an
automatic or a manual? Well, it has the best of both the worlds, because it
still has manual gear shifts and no clutch pedal. There is no ‘D’ or Drive mode
as we get in a fully automatic vehicle.
My take is that those who have
been driving manual transmission cars can get the hang of the iMT better. Why
do I say that? Because when you drive a car with manual gear, we understand the
art of changing our gears from one level to another, forward and backward at
different speeds and different rpm levels. A person trained only to drive an
automatic car may not get the hang of driving an iMT so easily though the car’s
electronics and indicators do help the driver drive to the best of his ability.
That is why it is called an intelligent manual transmission.
Driving an iMT Venue
what is it like driving a car with manual gears and no clutch? Since I have
driven both automatics and manuals, I was confident driving the iMT version.
The iMT version does away with the clutch pedal and hence the mistakes one
makes while changing gears while depressing the clutch pedal are totally
eliminated with the iMT. Issues like getting the clutch burned, or sloppy use
of clutch or even damaging the clutch while keeping it half depressed are not
at all there in this iMT model.
get an iMT Venue started you have to slot the gear in neutral or else it will
not start. Then onwards it is like driving a manual vehicle. Once you slot it
into first gear and do not press the accelerator, the car moves slowly or
crawls. This is ideal while driving in very slow moving traffic. Also, while
driving the Venue with iMT, you realise that as you shift from one gear to
another, there are no jerks, which one can experience while driving a vehicle
with the use of clutch. Moreover, the gear shifts are smooth.
from one gear to another, forward or backward is all done electronically
through signals that are sent to the actuators that in turn direct the clutch
to work its role. Hyundai’s iMT technology features a Transmission Gear Shift
(TGS) Lever with Intention Sensor, Hydraulic Actuator and Transmission Control
Unit (TCU). Now let me tell you also
about the intelligent nature of this transmission since Hyundai insists on
calling it an intelligent Manual transmission. Let me take you through some of
the issues regarding gear changes:
1. If you were to try starting the car in a gear position
other than Neutral, the MID screen displays the info asking you to move the
lever to Neutral. Remember, the car only starts if the gear is in neutral
2. Once you put it in the first gear and the car picks up
speed as you accelerate, the screen message asks you to move up to the next
gear. So that’s really cool. So it works both ways while up shifting and
downshifting, messages on the screen indicates to you when to change to higher
or lower gear, as the case may be. There is also no compromise for an
enthusiastic driver because even if one needs to rev up the engine in the first
or second gear and the rpm increases and the gear shift indicator flashes on
the TFT screen, the iMT does not automatically move to the higher gear, unlike
in some of the pure automatic cars.
situation worth understanding is when you move into higher gears and you have
to stop suddenly for some reason, you simply apply the brakes, the engine does
not shut off. But from that stationery position when your gear is on any level
above 2, you try to move the car by pressing the accelerator, you realise the
car does not move. SO applying the same principles of a manual transmission,
you have to slot it to a lower gear like one or two and then accelerate, the
car begins to move. Again the instructions to move to a lower gear are
displayed on the MID screen for you to see and execute. A warning beep sound is
also there to tell you that you are making a mistake.
4. What happens if a driver were to
engage 4 directly from level 1 while driving? Well in that case the intelligent
transmission intervenes and tries to either warn you with a beep sound or it
corrects the course if it is possible. Let me explain that clearly. Suppose the
car is in first gear and the driver presses the accelerator and the speed is
just about 10km per hour and he shifts to 4th gear, then the beep
sound warns him that its not possible for even the machine to shift to the 4th
gear at the low speed. Got it? Yes, but if the speed is perhaps around 40kmh
and one shifts from 2nd gear to say the 5th gear, the
engine does intelligently match the rpm levels by bringing it down and ensuring
that the car continues to run in the 5th gear. Similarly, from a higher
level if one were to shift to a lower level, and the speeds allow that, then
the iMT raises the rpm accordingly and lets the car move in the lower gear.
Impressed? Well, that in short is the intelligent Manual transmission which
through its warnings through beeps and instructions on the MID screen helps you
is the first auto company to introduce the iMT. The closest that one got to the
word ‘Manual’ without clutch was when companies introduced the AMT or Automated
Manual Transmission in its cars. But then again, AMT is a lot different from
the iMT, both in technology and in price. Talking of price, the SX (O) iMT is
only expensive than the manual variant by a mere Rs 23,500. But if you compare
the price difference between a DCT and a manual, the former is expensive by Rs
AVAILABLE iIMT VARIANTS
Price (Rs ex showroom Delhi)
SX Dual Tone (Sport)
SX (O) Dual Tone (Sport)
who could be the buyers of an iMT version of Venue? Obviously it would be for
those who want to get rid of the clutch but still don’t mind shifting gears. It
is like enjoying the best of both the worlds.
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