The ‘Intelligent Manual Transmission’ aims to provide the benefits of an automatic transmission with the engagement of a manual gearbox
A few months ago, at the 2020 Auto Expo, Kia announced the Sonet and with it, they also announced that it would be getting an ‘iMT’ gearbox, bridging the gap between automatic and manual transmissions. Now, Hyundai, its sister company, has jumped the gun and announced the same for the Venue. Moreover, since the Venue is already on the roads while the Sonet was a near-production concept, the Venue will be the first car in the country with a two-pedal manual-transmission.
Well, it’s complicated but let’s break it down. The gear lever is equipped with an ‘Intention Sensor’ which, as the name suggests, can sense when the driver wants to make a change. The ‘Transmission Control Unit’ (TCU), then sends a signal to a hydraulic actuator which creates hydraulic pressure. Still with us? Okay, then. This pressure is then sent to the concentric slave cylinder through the clutch tube, allowing control of the clutch and hence engaging or disengaging it, depending upon the situation.
Okay, engineering lesson over, how it should translate to everyday driving is simple. Think of it as a paddle shifter: when you pull on the paddle, it tells the gearbox to make the change. Similarly, you will have a traditional gearbox, but when you move the lever, for example, it knows that you want to change gears and operates the clutch for you. In theory, this should really be the best of both worlds, not requiring you to exercise your left leg in traffic or wishing that you had a manual gearbox when on a twisty road. We’ll soon see how it performs in the real world, though.
The six-speed iMT option will be available with the Venue’s 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which we have come to know and love. Hyundai has not announced the pricing for this iMT variant, but we expect it to be positioned between the conventional manual and DCT automatic variants of the 1-litre turbo-petrol engine. Prices for these variants start at Rs 8.46 lakh and Rs 9.6 lakh, respectively.