Hyundai Venue iMT Test Drive Review
We drive the Hyundai Venue iMT which has a clutch-less manual transmission.
Car Tested: Hyundai Venue SX(O) Sport iMT; Road Test No. 1208; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs 11.60 – 13.21 lakhs
With the Venue iMT, Hyundai is providing consumers a hassle-free manual gearbox which is also cheaper than a proper automatic
The Hyundai Venue was first launched in 2019 and the compact SUV is available with 3 engine options – 1.2-litre petrol, 1.0-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel (1.4 earlier). The turbocharged petrol engine comes with a 6-speed MT or a 7-speed DCT but now Hyundai is also offering a 6-speed iMT with the Venue 1.0 Turbo. iMT stands for intelligent Manual Transmission and since we’re already familiar with this compact SUV, we’ll focus on the iMT here.
Exteriors – Hyundai has also launched the Sport variant which is available in SX and SX(O) trims. We’re driving the SX(O) Sport iMT. The Sport trim gets new colour options – grey with black and white with black. There are red accents on the body which denote that this is the Sport variant. You also get red brake callipers and a Sport badge on the vehicle. Apart from these cosmetic enhancements, this variant is similar to the other standard variants of the Venue.
Interiors – On the inside, the layout and equipment list is similar to the regular Venue but the Sport trim gets the steering wheel from the Creta. It also gets red inserts in the cabin at various places like the AC vents, centre console buttons, etc. along with red stitching on the steering and seats. The Venue gets good quality materials on the inside and it is a pretty loaded vehicle with features like 6 airbags, sunroof, wireless charging, 8-inch infotainment system and so on.
The iMT replaces the regular clutch pedal with a hydraulic actuator which works with the concentric slave cylinder to operate the clutch
The iMT is a clutch-free manual transmission. It is a 6-speed manual unit and gets three components – intention sensor, hydraulic actuator and transmission control unit. When the driver changes the gear, the TCU sends a signal to engage the hydraulic actuator which works with the concentric slave cylinder to operate the clutch, thus offering a 2-pedal experience. After the shift is done, the clutch closes and the drive is engaged.
Performance – The engine doesn’t start if the vehicle is in gear and it has to be in neutral. Because there’s no clutch pedal, you simply have to slot the car in 1st gear and release the brake pedal to start moving. There’s a creep mode too. Gearshifts are quite smooth and the jerk which you feel in AMTs is absent in this. You cannot stall the car and when you come to a halt, the system disengages the drive and if you are at standstill in higher gears, there’s a warning alarm which flashes and you need to shift down to 1st or 2nd gear to start moving again.
Lift off the throttle while shifting gears and the iMT rewards you with extremely smooth shifts
While shifting gears, if you lift off the throttle, the shifts are really smooth and if you keep the pedal buried, there’s obviously a drop in inertia but still, the head toss movement isn’t as bad as AMT. The Venue also gets Hill Hold Assist so that you do not roll backwards when starting on a hill and there are sensors which detect the incline angle and apply the brakes. The clutch is engaged at the right time so that you start moving smoothly.
Driving an iMT car is a bit different than a conventional MT. The throttle modulation is slightly different here but you get used to it very quickly. Since most of the components are similar to MT cars, the fuel efficiency is also expected to be similar but a marginal drop can be expected because you tend to upshift a little late.
The iMT will be considered by people who don’t want to spend on an AT
The iMT is offered with the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine which makes 120 PS and 172 Nm. There are no changes to the performance and even with the iMT, you can easily redline the engine. The engine is peppy enough and the iMT variant is a good alternative to the MT since it offers the control of a manual gearbox sans the hassle of the clutch.
Verdict – It is indeed a very smart move by Hyundai to launch the Venue iMT. The iMT is undoubtedly way better than an AMT and offers a very good driving experience, making it a great alternative to conventional automatics which are priced higher. The Venue’s iMT variant is priced just Rs. 20,000/- more than the respective manual variant which is really sensible because the DCT costs around a lakh more and for people who don’t want to spend so much, an iMT is definitely worth it.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Hyundai i20 Active, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Honda WR-V, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Ford EcoSport
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