Hyundai Venue was launched in direct competition to the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, and it has received a good response from our Market because of its premium cabin, features, lower price tag, and turbocharged petrol engine which is offered with a Dual-Clutch automatic transmission. However, we know that the DCT transmissions are costly and increase the cost of the vehicle also. One way to beat this is to use an AMT transmission, but they are just not as good as any of the other transmissions.
So, the solution was to come up with a new type of transmission, and that happened, but it was the Hyundai’s sibling Kia who introduced us to the iMT or intelligent Manual Transmission. The iMT was announced with the Kia Sonet at the Auto Expo 2020 back in February. But surprisingly, it is Hyundai that is first launching the intelligent Manual Transmission with the Venue.
Is iMT an automatic transmission?
The iMT cannot be classified as an automatic transmission because you still need to slot in gears, but various sensors and actuators automatically control the clutch engagement. So, it kind of sits in the middle of the manual and automatic gearbox where you need to change the gears yourself, but you don’t have to engage the clutch.
How does iMT work?
The intelligent Manual Transmission comes with a Transmission Gear Shift(TGS) Lever with an intention sensor, Transmission Control Unit, and Hydraulic Actuator. These elements work together and help the iMT to work. The iMT features clutch by wire technology, which eliminates the need to have a clutch pedal. Remember, there is still a conventional clutch and transmission in the drive train. The gear selector has a sensor built into it, which detects the intention of the driver to change the gear and sends a signal to engage the clutch automatically. This allows for a seamless transition from one gear to the other.
The convenience of two-pedal driving
Even if you have to shift the gears yourself, you still get the convenience of two-pedal driving. Because of the clutch by wire technology, there is no need for the clutch pedal, which also opens up space in the driver’s footwell. The driver would just have to focus on the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal, which means that the driver does not need to keep the clutch pedal pressed or modulate it continuously when stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
Not a significant drop in fuel efficiency
The intelligent Manual Transmission should not affect much on fuel efficiency because it still uses a conventional gearbox and clutch. Usually, cars with automatic transmission have less mileage than their manual counterparts. However, because it is just the clutch that is being automatically operated means that the fuel efficiency should not take a significant hit.
Even cheaper than AMT
The intelligent Manual Transmission will be even cheaper than the AMT, and AMT is already the cheapest automatic transmission when compared to the dual-clutch, torque converter, and CVTs. This is because the AMT contains more mechanical parts as it has to change the gears itself and engage clutch also whereas in the intelligent Manual Transmission comes with actuators that are controlled electronics that can engage the clutch and disengage it. Also, there will be fewer mechanical parts, which means that it might require less maintenance. Thus, reducing the cost of maintenance and servicing. Usually, an AMT variant costs around Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 more than the manual counterpart. However, with the iMT, we are expecting that difference to be around from Rs. 25,000 to Rs 35,000. Whereas the CVT and DCT gearboxes cost well over one lakh when compared to their manual counterparts.
Better than AMT
Almost every AMT suffers from jerkiness or “head-nod,” which ruins the driving experience for some people. The main issue with the AMTs is that sometimes they can’t choose the gear that they want to go for, and even if they do select the gear, there is some lag in changing the gear. This is where iMT comes in. Unlike AMTs, in iMT, the gears are not changed by the computer, the driver himself does it. So, theoretically, there should be less lag when it comes to changing gears.
When will be the iMT available?
The intelligent Manual Transmission will first come to the Hyundai Venue. It will be sold along with the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, which comes with the 1.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine. The iMT will also be paired with the 1.0-liter engine, but it will cost significantly less than the DCT transmission. The iMT variant will be priced higher than the manual variant, but still, it will be a lot less costly than the DCT variants. The current difference between the manual transmission and DCT gearbox is around Rs. 1.15 lakhs. We expect the iMT variants of the Hyundai Venue to be launched in late July 2020.
The Kia Sonet will also be sharing the same mechanicals and parts with the Hyundai Venue. Surprisingly, Hyundai is first launching this technology because Kia first announced it. Cartoq expects the technology to attract attention, perhaps leading to other carmakers developing their version of iMT.