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Old 31st August 2020, 11:00   #1
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Default Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Hyundai offers the widest range of engines & gearboxes in India - an earlier Team-BHP article lists them all. Among ATs alone, Hyundai has a wide variety of traditional torque-converters, smooth CVTs, high-tech DCTs and the least-jerky AMTs in India. Technologically-challenged Maruti-Suzuki can only dream about such a wide portfolio of drivetrains. As if that wasn't enough, Hyundai has added another gearbox to the line-up = this unique 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT). I got to drive the IMT for 4 hours and here are my quick & brief observations.

Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-1.jpg

MT gearlever, but...
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-12.jpg

...look ma, no clutch pedal! Sport variant gets aluminium pedals with rubber grips. Dead pedal is nicely positioned and very comfortable to use:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-19.jpg

• I cannot think of a single car that offers more gearbox options with one engine than the Venue. In its segment, the Venue also has the most number of engine + gearbox combinations.

• The IMT variants are priced between Rs. 9,90,990 - 11,25,900. Translated, the IMTs have a premium of just Rs. 15,990 - 23,500 over their equivalent manual variants. That makes them pretty good value for money. The price you pay is barely anything for freeing yourself from the hassle of pressing a clutch pedal continuously in traffic. On the other hand, the DCT variants cost between Rs. 1,14,000 - 1,62,000 more than their equivalent manual variants. The usual premium for the conventional torque-converter ATs is ~1 lakh across manufacturers.

• Your first & most obvious question will be "why don't I just pay another 20,000 rupees and get an AMT?". Good question which has a simple answer. If an AMT's jerkiness is at level 10 out of 10, the IMT is 2 out of 10. For most of us, the AMT's jerkiness & "head nod" are deal-breakers. It must be noted though that Hyundai's AMTs are smoother than Maruti & Tata AMTs because Hyundai uses electronic actuators.

• Who should buy an IMT? Anyone who is on a budget and hates operating the clutch pedal in traffic. Also an ideal option for AMT-haters (due to jerkiness), convenience-seekers, newbie drivers & chauffeur-driven owners (no chauffeur ruining your clutch or giving you jerks).

• Who should NOT buy an IMT? Anyone who has the budget for superior torque-converter, dual clutch or CVT gearboxes. Pure enthusiasts who enjoy fast-shifting MTs & those who are very particular about how slickly their ATs operate. Sporty drivers who want sporty ATs.

• The IMT is not an automatic transmission. It is not even an automated manual transmission (AMT). It is simply a manual transmission without a clutch pedal. It involves shifting a gear lever manually to perform gear changes, like in a regular MT car, but there is no clutch pedal. Instead of your left leg, actuators control the clutch operation, while the driver just shifts the gears.

• To crank the engine, you have to keep the brake pedal pressed and hit the starter button. You have to also ensure that the gear lever is in neutral position. If either of these requirements is not met, the engine enters accessory or ignition-on modes.

• At idle, you can barely hear the engine, but you can feel a buzz on the gear lever if you touch it. On the move too, there is a slight buzz on the gear lever and pedals, but overall, the refinement is impressive.

• Standing still, the engine revs till 5,000 rpm.

• The car can set off in 1st, 2nd or reverse gears. It won't move off in any other gear. The MID will prompt you to shift down if you try to do so in a higher gear. A series of continuous warning beeps will also be heard. The engine does not stall, no matter what you do. Just like in an MT, we will recommend starting off in 1st in the IMT, for a healthy clutch life (2nd gear starts entail some clutch slipping).

• In the city, the IMT is wonderful to use once you get used to it. The left foot is idle and the lesser effort required in driving means you won’t get tired (especially in city traffic). That said, the IMT has a learning curve & required adjustment period because all of us have driven MTs & ATs before, but never a clutch pedal-less MT. It will take your brain a couple of km & time to get familiar with this 2-pedal MT. I got used to driving the IMT in 10 minutes itself, but in certain situations, I did find myself getting confused even after 90 minutes of driving. New owners, give it 2 - 3 days to fully understand the unique arrangement.

• The car can set off even without accelerator input in 1st or 2nd gears. The Venue IMT crawls at 7 km/h and 14 km/h respectively in 1st and 2nd. This crawling is a big boon in bumper-to-bumper traffic as you can effectively drive with just 1 pedal (i.e. the brake).

• Gear shifts are slightly notchy, but the gates are well-defined and the gearbox is sure-slotting.

• The speed of upshifts is normal, but nowhere as fast as a quick-shifting BHPian can manage. In the same breath, we will add that the upshift speed is comparable to what your non-petrolhead spouses, siblings & friends deliver.

• No clutch pedal to press makes your work easier. There is no stalling problem and no jerk felt as the driver does not have to release a clutch. In fact, we will say that the IMT is smoother than some inexperienced or rash MT drivers.

• There is no jerkiness like the AMT gearbox while gears are changed. It's much smoother in comparison. We have to again add that if an AMT is 10/10 in jerkiness levels, the IMT is a "2".

• Conventional automatics and AMTs change gears on their own if the revvs are too high or low. In the IMT, that is not the case. Only the driver can change gears. If the revs drop too low, the clutch will engage to prevent stalling. If the revs are too high, the IMT will maintain max rpm (like in an MT).

• You need not take your foot off the accelerator while changing gears. That said, if you do lift off, the transition (to the next gear) is slightly smoother. We anyway take our foot off the accelerator while shifting gears in an MT, so this will be a good habit to develop.

• Turbo lag, if any, is masked well by the transmission. Power delivery is linear and driveability is very good.

• The MID will warn you (along with continuous beeps) if the revs are too low and ask you to shift down. It will also warn you if you shift up too early (under ~1,000 rpm). This is to prevent any lugging of the engine.

• If you shift up too early, the engine will not complain or knock. But, there is just no power coming through. On one instance, the car pulled from under 1,000 rpm in 3rd gear, but progress was too slow. What if you mischievously shift from 1st to 6th at 10 km/h? No power = the clutch will not engage (for the sake of driveability & clutch life).

• If you need to close gaps in traffic, you will need to shift down and keep the engine in its power band (or close to the power band).

• In case you stop at a signal in anything above 2nd gear, the MID warns you (again, with continuous beeping), requesting you to downshift.

• The car can comfortably cruise at 40 km/h in 3rd gear with the engine spinning at ~1,750 rpm.

• The lack of a clutch pedal will initially confuse the best of us. You put it in one gear and keep going...sometimes forgetting it is not an automatic and that you have to shift gears! The increasing engine sound reminds you to shift up. There is a learning curve; some drivers will adapt to it faster than others.

• The dead pedal is wonderfully positioned & the ergonomics are spot on. All these points make the car very easy and smooth to drive in the city (particularly in stop-go traffic).

• On the highway, the IMT is an excellent cruiser. Mid-range performance is strong and most of the time, there is enough power and torque to make good progress.

• Further to the previous point, Hyundai has wisely introduced the IMT with a powerful petrol engine. In our opinion, they should soon introduce the IMT with the diesel too. The tractable diesel will be well-suited to the IMT. Diesel ATs are usually the most expensive combination, so a Diesel IMT might be a popular choice.

• Because you can’t use higher gears at low rpms (without the system warning you like crazy & the terribly slow progress, if at all), you'll inevitably be in the right gear most of the time. This way, you are always in the power band (or close to it), and there will be no problem of turbo lag.

• The engine revs till ~6,600 rpm after which, the rpm limiter kicks in abruptly. This can sometimes catch you out in the middle of an overtaking maneuver & you will have to quickly upshift. If you don't, the engine will maintain max revs. In case you were curious, the Venue IMT will touch 50 km/h in 1st gear and 90 km/h in 2nd.

• In 6th gear, the car sees 100 km/h @ ~ 2,250 rpm and 120 km/h @ ~2,750 rpm.

• It is only when you get aggressive with the car that a proper manual and clutch pedal are missed. The actuator disengages in a more relaxed, calmer manner than a manually-operated clutch. This also means that the 0 - 100 acceleration isn't as fast as an MT. If you are a hard-driving enthusiast who likes to zoom on the open road, a pure 3-pedal MT or fast AT are the recommended choices.

• A driver can downshift at any time. The IMT matches the engine revvs on downshifting.

• A healthy amount of engine braking is available and this gives the driver a feel of good control.

• On a slope, put the car in 1st gear, release the brake and it will instantly move forward without any rollback. It works identically in reverse gear as well. Why? Because the Venue SX(O) that I drove has the "hill hold" feature. I am very apprehensive about how an IMT without hill-hold will handle slopes - this is a situation that AMTs also suck at. If you buy an IMT without hill-hold, we are pretty sure you will have to use the handbrake judiciously (just like in an AMT). Not doing so will stress out the clutch.

• In summary, we have to say that Hyundai has introduced a properly-engineered IMT, and not a half-baked one. This is a well thought-out gearbox option. We had also seen the same with their AMT which used electronic actuators & was the smoothest in the market (Maruti, Tata & others use hydraulic actuators in their jerky AMTs).

• Admittedly, we were unsure about the point of this kind of gearbox when we heard about Hyundai offering it. After driving the IMT, we aren't anymore. It's a good option for the cost-conscious customer.

• Long-term reliability & maintenance are big unknowns. We will wait for BHPian ownership reports to pass the final verdict on that. The flawed AMT has had many complaints (related Team-BHP search).

• This is surely an experiment; Hyundai as well as other car brands are closely watching the market's response. If enough customers bite, you can be sure that more cars will get the IMT. VW popularized dual-clutch ATs in India, Maruti did the same with AMTs and now, its Hyundai’s turn with the IMT. We are happy to see this kind of a cost-effective innovation in our price-sensitive market. We think that the IMT has potential in the <10 lakh price segment, but certainly not over it.

Titan Grey colour is new. Since this is the Sport variant, it gets a black roof:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-2.jpg

The Sport variant gets a red '+' mark on the grille...
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-3.jpg

...and red brake calipers in the front!
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-4.jpg

Glossy black roof and rear spoiler. Notice the red highlights on the side:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-8.jpg

iMT badge on the right fender:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-11.jpg

Leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel is taken from the new Creta. It has the right thickness and is lovely to hold. I am not a fan of this 4-spoke design though:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-13.jpg

MID shows you the gear engaged, along with the recommended gear to shift to:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-22.jpg

A clear warning, accompanied by continuous beeps if the revvs are too low in the higher gears. Or if you try starting off in any gear higher than 2nd:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-21.jpg

6-speed MT lever is shared with other Hyundai cars. Reverse is located up, to the extreme left:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-18.jpg

Sport variant gets black leather + fabric upholstery with red & white accents:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-16.jpg

1.0L turbo-petrol with 118 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 172 Nm (@ 1,500 - 4,000 rpm) on tap:
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-20.jpg
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Old 31st August 2020, 11:02   #2
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

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Old 31st August 2020, 11:36   #3
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
I got used to driving the IMT in 10 minutes itself, but in certain situations, I did find myself getting confused even after 90 minutes of driving. New owners, give it 2 - 3 days to fully understand the unique arrangement.
Great review!

But to come to think of it, how are prospective customers expected to take a decision only after a few kms of test drive when even you were perplexed after more than an hour of driving.
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Old 31st August 2020, 11:44   #4
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Its great to see Hyundai giving so many options on a good car. Surprised that they didnt try it on cheaper cars in their stable. I think this option is a great way of learning for people to feel the speed vs rpm vs gearing mapping.

We need to wait to see clutch reliability long term. Hope fully it will be good and in that case can help cab drivers who have to drive in our traffic for long duration. The cost increment is not the big and is an advantage. I hope this transmission really works great and they can provide it on their cheaper hatchbacks.
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Old 31st August 2020, 11:54   #5
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Great review!!! Crisp and to the point as always.

One thing which I am still not very sure about is in case of stop and go traffic if we keep the car in gear and just use the brake to use the creep function will it affect the clutch life as the clutch will be kept engaged continuously.

If not this is great a middle ground for people wanting to keep their left leg happy while enjoying the feeling of shifting gears at their own wish.

Last edited by sv97 : 31st August 2020 at 11:56.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:00   #6
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

After driving Dzire ZXi+AGS for close to 3 years i have to disagree with the way AMT is made out to be a horrible gear shifting option have!

iMT is just the manual mode which is already available in AMT cars! on highways i always use the manual mode and as a driver i am in complete control of the up shifts and can downshift when required. There is no jerkiness nor much of delay before the gear engages!

In AMT you get an added advantage of automatic downshift in manual mode if the RPM drops low for a particular gear! this is not available in iMT and the driver has to downshift or up shift manually all the time!

In AMT mode, if you let the controller to manage your gears yes you will have jerky behaviors as there will be continuous gear changes depending on the road gradient. But if you want to have a smooth experience of gear shift without the jerkiness, all you need to do is just lift your foot off the A pedal for a second and there will be up shift without any jerk (just like in iMT as suggested by OP of this thread). the gear shift usually happen around 2200 RPM

My car doesn't come with hill hold feature and the place where i live has sufficient inclines which could have used this feature. But i am happy that the AMT in my car is able to stop at an incline (from a side road to main road) where i can engage the break and will move once i release break and put slight pressure on the A pedal.

I have even used my idle left leg on the break and right leg on accelerator pedal to achieve smooth movement from a stand still position on an incline.

Coming to the big question: mileage. In bangalore where i always use AMT mode the mileage hovers around 14 kmpl and on highways due to my heavy use of A pedal i get between 16 - 18 kmpl. Tried to drive at 80 kmph once and i could see the overall mileage improve to around 20kmpl but it was difficult for me to maintain that speed

Last edited by ant_vas : 31st August 2020 at 12:02.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:01   #7
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

I guess the iMT is spreading like wildfire and finding acceptance much quicker than AMT's.

But, why is no one ever recommending manual mode in AMT? Doesn't it make more sense esp. in cases where the car is driven by multiple drivers. Those not interested in shifting gears can use the auto, and those who want more control can use the manual mode in AMT.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:02   #8
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Unpopular opinion but I don't think this will find many takers. I believe there are two kinds of people, it's either AT or MT. This "iMT" is trying to be both. Why would an AT guy go through the effort of shifting gears and why would a MT guy want to shift without the clutch?
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:07   #9
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Very interesting concept but might take some time for an older timer to get used to. It has the manual stick and clutch less operation of an automatic.

I drive both an automatic as well as a manual and at times stall my manual car by forgetting to use clutch OR unable to upshift if i dont press the clutch(of course this is only for initial minute or so until the brain adjusts to manual car).

This car however is confusing because it is an automatic but it still expects you to up/down shift. Not an expert here so i will leave that to the experts on the stress/impact on the clutch plates in various driving conditions(city traffic, hills and twisties etc)
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:08   #10
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Great coverage, the amount of points you have covered just for a new gear box is extraordinary. Speaks volumes about why teambhp is the best.

Great innovation from Hyundai, had they brought this gear box last year, I would have surely opted for IMT. I am sure, considering the convenience, many manufacturers are going to follow suit.

Below is the snap of white sports variant. Source Venue owners group FB page
Attached Thumbnails
Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-f15f58e1a28a4a128d400bacb457bf26.jpeg  

Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal-c2b4291e02734cf88545d3d9f78881c4.jpeg  

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Old 31st August 2020, 12:10   #11
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

MT > PADDLE SHIFTERS > TIPTRONIC/MANUMATIC AT > iMT > NON MANUAL OVERRIDE AT

I had been waiting for this review for an eternity and VOILA!

Thank you Aditya for your comprehensive review on this!
I had been keeping a tab on the YouTube reviews as well, but Team-BHP IS Team-BHP!

Coming from conventional SHIFTSTICK’s, I’d say the most the enjoyable thing was playing with the clutch to alter the engine braking!

Poor brakes were never an issue in an MT because all you needed was a couple of shift downs while pressing the brake and giving in ZERO clutch input! I really don’t know how an iMT would go about in such a situation.

Also, while dealing with a Turbo Lag, we could tap the clutch a bit and release it slowly with a slightly more throttle input, instead of pressing it completely and shifting down and then upshifting again like a Newbie!

So, for enthusiasts like us, this doesn’t really seem to be the kind of experience we’d enjoy. Because of my bad knee, I prefer an AT with atleast Tiptronics, while Paddle Shifters are an obvious welcome.

If my knee gets better, I’d be happy to have a full MT in my garage for the weekend drives, after which I’m sure most of the cars would have switched over to AT’s by 2030, thanks to Hybrids.

But for a non enthusiastic, it makes sense as you’d be buying a CSUV VENUE iMT for the price of a smaller Hyundai Aura AT / Honda Jazz V CVT.

Last edited by dr.aviansh : 31st August 2020 at 12:37.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:21   #12
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by ant_vas View Post
After driving Dzire ZXi+AGS for close to 3 years i have to disagree with the way AMT is made out to be a horrible gear shifting option have!
Absolutely. I when people comment on AMT without even having experienced one for a long duration of time.

True, the initial AMT from Maruti - i think it was the Celerio, had horrible head nods.

But the modern AMTs from TATA, Hyundai and Maruti itself have come a long way since the days of Celerio.

I have been driving Tigor AMT since past 3 years and have never noticed head nods except when i am driving really hard and am in Sports mode.

For me, the iMT is neither here nor there. I would anyday pick an AMT over iMT.

And as you said, if one wants to drive an AMT the way iMTs are driven, there is always the option of Manual mode on the AMT. So.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:34   #13
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

How about engine brake in AMT cars?

i have used the car in steep declines and the controller won't up shift while RPM might increase. Have tried this multiple times and i feel the car was in complete control.

Try the same declines in Neutral or with CVT like Jazz, i bet you would be scared for your life!
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:38   #14
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by ant_vas View Post
In AMT you get an added advantage of automatic downshift in manual mode if the RPM drops low for a particular gear! this is not available in iMT and the driver has to downshift or up shift manually all the time!
I also feel that there should've been auto downshift. It will be a matter of time to get used to. While hearing good music people may tend to forget downshifts/upshifts. Definitely part timer drivers like hired drivers will get confused and by then a handling prowess comes trip will get over.
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Old 31st August 2020, 12:38   #15
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Default Re: Hyundai Venue iMT Review : Intelligent Manual Transmission without a clutch pedal

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Originally Posted by DCEite View Post
Absolutely. I when people comment on AMT without even having experienced one for a long duration of time.



For me, the iMT is neither here nor there. I would anyday pick an AMT over iMT.
Your first line asks people to not do what you yourself are doing later in your post - judging without experiencing it for a long duration

What I understood as the basic difference between AMT and iMT is -

(1) response time: in AMT, the clutch "as well as" gears are operated through actuators basis algorithms, while in iMT, it's only clutch and that too is activated through the initial action of the gear lever (no complex algorithm).

(2) iMT does revv-matching

Last edited by Nav-i-gator : 31st August 2020 at 12:39.
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