Hyundai Venue iMT driven: Fun to drive like a manual, convenient like an automatic [Video]

Over the years, Hyundai has introduced a slew of features in various segments in India. While listing all of them will take some time, I will tell you the ones that I clearly remember. Hyundai introduced the automatic headlamps, wireless charging, rear parking camera, automatic wipers, ventilated seats and the list goes on. Hyundai has introduced yet another all-new feature and this time, it is the industry-first Intelligent Manual Transmission or iMT. The new iMT is currently only available with the Hyundai Venue 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and we have spent a few hours with the car to find out how it is different from all other kinds of transmissions available in the market and answer a few questions that you may have about the new kind of transmission in the Indian market.

Hyundai Venue iMT: What is it?

Imagine any regular car with a manual transmission but there is no clutch pedal in it. Weird right? Well, that is the Hyundai Venue iMT. The car offers a regular H-pattern 6-speed manual transmission gear lever sticking out of the central console while there are only two pedals on the floor. Yes, you do not get any clutch with the iMT and I know that makes you think of a lot of questions. We will try to answer a few of them for you and if you have more questions, just leave them in the comment box and we will get back to you.

How do you drive the iMT?

If you have driven an automatic car before, this will be a pretty much familiar step for you. To start the Venue iMT, you have to put the gear lever in the neutral position, press the brake pedal and push the engine start button. The petrol engine comes to life without a sound or vibration. Now to move the car forward, you have put the gear lever in the first gear position and just like automatic cars, you have to release the brake slowly and the vehicle starts to move forward slowly. No jerks, no stalling, you get a smooth launch forward. To shift to the higher gear, simply lift off your foot from the accelerator and shift up. When you have to downshift, simply reduce the speed or do it while braking.

Driving in traffic:

The biggest concern of most car buyers is drivability in the traffic. We drove the car during the notorious peak hours in Delhi-NCR and the vehicle sailed through the sea of cars. There are no jerks at the slower speeds and driving in start-stop traffic is actually quite simple and easy because the Venue iMT crawls ahead just like the cars with automatic transmission. At most times, you do not even require to press the accelerator, the Venue iMT moves ahead slowly as soon as you release the brake.

Driving aggressively:

If you’re someone who drives aggressively and does not care about fuel efficiency much, is the Venue iMT right choice for you? Yes, you can. The Venue iMT even touches redline and you can upshift at that moment too. You can also drive around aggressively while not redlining all the time. We drove around for quite some time aggressively and the gear shifts are smooth even at 4-5k rpm.

Mileage?

We cannot tell you the exact fuel efficiency of the Venue iMT because the car was idling for a long time during our shoot. However, since the new transmission is not much different from the manual gearbox that Hyundai offers. So you drive around the iMT aggressively, you will get less efficiency while driving it sedately will give you higher efficiency. It is for certain that the Venue iMT offers more fuel efficiency than any conventional automatic transmission like DCT, CVT, Torque convertor and more.

How does the iMT feel to drive?

Since it is new technology and is not available with any other car in the market at present, you definitely will take some time to get used to the clutch-less manual shifts. I personally kept looking for the clutch every now and then or forgot to shift to the higher or lower gears. But spend a couple of hours driving around and that’s it. Since it is not very different from the manual transmission, you will not feel like you’re in an alien car.

Also, most people get tired in the stop-go traffic because of the use of the clutch pedal. If you do not have to use the clutch pedal and only shift the gears, the tiredness level decreases substantially, especially compared to a manual car.

You cannot stall the Venue iMT. As soon as the car detects that you are in the higher gear and need to downshift, you will get a warning message on the instrument cluster to downshift. Even while rolling the car from a standstill, you need to be in the first or second gear or you will see a Please Shift Down warning on the instrument cluster.

Who is it for?

Till now, we could categorise transmissions in two segments broadly – automatic and manual. People who wanted convenience chose the automatic transmission while people who want an engaging drive or simply higher fuel efficiency chose the manual. The iMT changes all of that because it beautifully mashes up the best of both worlds and offers something unique. The iMT transmission offers convenient clutch-less shifting while offering similar fuel efficiency, maintenance and affordability of a manual. So this would be perfect for people who drive through congested city roads daily and do not wish to pay for an automatic or lose the fuel efficiency advantage of manual cars.

Cost advantage

Hyundai has positioned the iMT-equipped variant quite smartly. There is not a single trim where you will find the DCT and IMT together. The base Venue iMT is available with the SX variant that is priced at Rs 9.99 lakhs, which makes it only Rs 20,000 more expensive than the manual variant. Comparing it with the least-expensive Venue DCT automatic variant, the iMT comes out to be about Rs 1 lakh cheaper, which is a lot of money. All the prices are of the variants based on the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Does it look any different?

Hyundai Venue IMT variants look exactly similar to the other variants apart from the new moniker. There is nothing different in terms of features or looks. We, however, drove the Sport variant of the Venue, which was recently launched. It offers a few sporty-looking elements like red accents on the grille, red-painted front brake calliper, red accents on the wheel arches and the roof rails. It sure turns a lot of heads on the roads as we found out while driving.

Should you buy it?

If you can of any disadvantages of the Venue iMT, do let us know in the comment section because we could not find any. The iMT is a new technology and the only drawback that I could think of is the life of the clutch. Since it will be operated automatically by the car and there will not be any kind of modulation possible. This might impact the life of the clutch by say 10% but it would not be a big of a deal for the amount of convenience that the new transmission offers. Yes, it is a new technology in cars but it is based on tried and tested manual transmission and there should not be any reliability issues.

The IMT is much smoother than AMT, the price difference from the manual transmission is not much and the car behaves extremely well in the start-stop traffic because you control the gears. This definitely can be a choice for many who do not want jerks of an AMT or low fuel efficiency with the high cost of a fully-fledged automatic.