Home / Reviews / First Drive / Hyundai Venue iMT Petrol – First Drive Review

 

Driving the new Hyundai Venue iMT turbo-petrol SX(O) variant was an unusual experience but it did leave us pretty impressed with the convenience it brings to the table.
hyundai venue imt turbo-petrol review car india

What’s an iMT?
This is such a unique experience. We’re driving the Hyundai Venue equipped with the innovative iMT or intelligent manual transmission. Just to set things straight, this is not an automatic nor an AMT. It’s actually a manual transmission without a clutch pedal and one actually has to work the gear lever while shifting. So instead of the conventional clutch system, the Venue iMT comes with actuators that manage the clutch operation and the driver simply slots the gear. We’ve done a detailed article on – How the new Hyundai iMT Works already.

Why do we need it?
Automatics are the need of the hours, especially in the urban environment. And iMTs are not just very different from CVTs, dual-clutch transmissions and AMTs but also more affordable. Traditionally, the automatic versions demand a premium of close to Rs 1 lakh over the manual gearbox variants. You can get the Venue iMT by paying between Rs 15,000 to Rs 23,000 over the manual version. This makes it a great option for those who’re on a budget and looking for a hassle-free city commuter. The other big advantage this unique six-speed intelligent manual transmission has over AMT or automated manual transmission, apart from saving you some money, is that the new system offers smoother shifts. AMTs are infamous for the whiplash, albeit mild, the occupants feel at every gear change. In comparison, the jerk-free gear shifts of the Venue iMT make the entire driving experience more likeable. On hindsight, in AMTs and other automatics, the driver doesn’t need to shifts gears. Whereas, iMT requires manual gear changes but with any clutch action.

Living with the iMT
When you get into the Venue iMT you’re greeted by a familiar-looking cabin as the manual version, the only difference is the missing clutch pedal. Just two things to keep in mind while cranking up the Venue iMT – foot on the brake pedal and gear lever in the neutral position. Thumb the push-button start and the120 hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol comes to life. Thankfully, at stand-still, the car can only be slotted in to first, second or reverse and if you try to engage any other gear the MID gives out a warning alert. Simply slot the gear lever to first and the Venue begins to crawl at about 7 km/h making it perfect for driving in traffic. The good news is that the car never stalls which should be a big relief for newbies. And the fact that you don’t have to use your left leg as it sits comfortably on the dead-pedal.

The gears action is also smooth and precise, which is perfect for beginners and experienced alike. The driver’s display indicates you when to shift up and if you don’t then it holds the revs at the redline like a manual car. In case, the car is in a higher gear at very low RPMs the iMT engages the clutch and won’t let the car stall. Instead, the MID beeps and prompts the driver to shift down. You get the MID alerts even when you shift up too early or come to a halt in anything above second gear.
Another good feature is that you can change gears without getting off the accelerator, though we advise you against it to keep your engine healthy. Yes, you can also downshift whenever you like and the Hyundai Venue iMT matches the engine revs seamlessly. Moreover, it offers plenty of engine braking like a manual car which gives drivers a pretty reassuring feeling.

What’s not to like?
Some petrol-heads might complain that the Hyundai Venue iMT isn’t as quick in putting down the as manual cars. So, you can’t launch it like manual cars by slipping the clutch and won’t be participating in street signal drag races. And till you get used to the idea of iMTs, you’ll often find the car engaged in a particular gear as you keep revving it confusing it to an automatic. It’s only when you start to wonder why isn’t the AT shifting up, you’ll realise your mistake and slot to the next gear. It is an unusual driving experience and might take some time getting used to. Most importantly, it makes for a really convenient drive.

Conclusion
In typical Hyundai fashion, the Venue iMT is a well-engineered system and seems to be built for a purpose. Even when the Korean car-maker introduced AMT, their system was far more smooth and refined compared to the competition. Even after driving the car for hours, there’s barely any sign of fatigue because you don’t have to bother about the clutch at all. No jerks, no plunging ahead, hopefully, no knee transplant. The Venue iMT gets an attractive price, ranging between Rs 9.99 lakh and 11.08 lakh(ex-showroom). This makes it a good option for people who are not comfortable with regular manuals and for those who prefer to be chauffeur-driven. Because the seamless clutch actions it delivers makes the driver look like a pro.

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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