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Hyundai India launched the iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) on their compact SUV, the Venue earlier this year. The Venue iMT is the first car in the country with the clutchless manual transmission. Besides the introduction of the new gearbox, the company also introduced the all-new 'Sport Trim' Variant with the Venue iMT. We got our hands on the compact SUV for a day and here's what we have to say about it.
So why the introduction of an iMT gearbox? The answer is simple, the iMT gearbox will cater to the needs of the people who want the comfort of driving an automatic, but at the same time also want the feel of a manual transmission. The Venue iMT features a six-speed manual transmission, but without a clutch. Also, the new ‘sport trim' variant on the Hyundai Venue now features cosmetic changes on the outside as well as on the inside.
Design & Styling
Starting from the front, there is only one way to distinguish the sport trim from the regular variants and that is the red badging on the left-hand side of the blacked-out grille. The headlight unit is placed on the front bumper and features a halogen projector setup for the high and low beam along with a reflector for the cornering lights. Surrounding the cluster are the LED DRLs, that are extremely bright and right below the headlight unit sits the projector fog lights that are also halogen. The turn indicators are placed on top of the headlight unit.
Moving to the side profile, now, here the Venue sport trim gets red accents on the wheel arches, the running board and on the roof rails. From the side, these red accents will help identify the sport trim from the regular one. It also features a 'SPORT' badge only on the right side between the C and D pillars. Now, the door handles of the cars were the only thing that was finished in chrome, except the badges.
It also gets red callipers for the front disc brakes and the dual-tone 16-inch alloy wheels look really awesome and go well with the overall size of the compact SUV. The tyre profile on the car was 215/60/R16 and the amount of grip those MRFs offered was amazing.
Coming to the rear profile of the car, it gets the SX variant badging on the left, the ‘VENUE' badging right in the centre and since it is powered by a turbo petrol engine, you get the ‘TURBO' badge on the right side of the boot. It also gets a rear parking camera along with sensors, but not only that, it also features adaptive guidelines that will allow you to park in tight spaces without any hassle.
Interiors & Features
Step inside and you will be welcomed with a pretty spacious cabin. To make the cabin look even bigger, the compact SUV gets a sunroof. Now on the inside also, the Sport trim gets some red accents present on the AC vents and around the climate control dials. To further enhance the sportiness of the car, there is red stitching on the seats and around the steering wheel.
Speaking of the steering wheel, it is wrapped in leather and feels extremely comfortable to hold. It also has a flat bottom giving it a sporty look. There are steering mounted controls on either side. On the right, you have the controls for the infotainment system and on the left, you have the controls for the MID screen and the cruise control.
Speaking about the comfort, the Venue Sport trim features dual-tone colour seats. The front seats are manually adjustable but are extremely comfortable. They offer well under-thigh support and side bolstering that keeps the driver in place while taking tight turns.
Coming to the second row, there is enough place to accommodate three people and if two people are sitting at the back, then the centre armrest can be deployed that also has cup holders. Now, the AC on the Venue is extremely effective and since there are rear AC vents, the cabin cools down extremely fast.
The Venue offers a 350-litre boot space, that is neither too big nor too small. It can easily accommodate luggage for four people. Need more space? The rear seat has a 60:40 split and depending on the amount of luggage you want to put, either of the sides can be folded down.
The compact SUV gets analogue dials for the tachometer and the speedometer. Placed in between them is a 4.5 inch LCD MID screen that provides a lot of information about the car such as trip metre, a digital speedometer, distance to empty, clock and many more.
The Venue also gets a seven-inch infotainment system that is placed almost vertically and does not reflect the glare from the sun, making it easy to read. It also gets AndroidAuto and AppleCarplay and an eight-speaker setup that sounds mesmerising. The touch is very responsive and does not lag. Right below the infotainment system, there are the climate control dials and the centre one has a digital readout for the temperature settings.
Powertrain & Handling
Powering the Venue iMT is a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol BS6 engine. The unit produces 120bhp of power and 170Nm of peak torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed iMT gearbox that combines the performance from a manual transmission with the ease of a 2-pedal transmission. So how exactly does this work? The six-speed iMT unit features an electro-mechanically actuated clutch.
Whenever you are about to shift a gear or as soon as you move the gear lever around 10 per cent, you will feet the clutch opening-up, that is when the actuator tells the system that you are ready to shift up or down. Between the shifts, there will be a slight drop in power, that can be felt, but it is actually negligible. Now because of that, the head wobbling effect while shifting gears has completely gone.
The gearbox does not have any lag and the shifts are seamless. We noticed one thing, that when you are on the gas (have not lifted your foot off the accelerator pedal) and shift up/down, only that time the gearbox feels slightly heavy, but there is no problem in shifting. This happens because the gearbox is still under some stress. On the other hand, if you shift like a traditional manual gearbox (lifting your foot off the gas every time you press the clutch) the shifts on the iMT are very smooth.
However, as a traditional manual gearbox can sometimes stall the car, the Venue iMT cannot be stalled. If you are at a stoplight and try a rolling start from a higher gear, it won't happen. There will be a message on the MID screen that will read out 'Please Select A Lower Gear'. So yes, it won't stall ever. The Venue also features hill start, which is helpful when you have stopped on a slope and there is traffic behind, as the car will not roll back.
Suspension on the Venue iMT sport trim is slightly on the stiffer side, making it a good handling car in the twisties. The potholes and the speed bumps will be felt, but not that much. The 215 section tyres offer plenty of grip and the bites from the brakes are excellent. You also have ABS and switchable traction control to watch your back.
The car does not have a lot of body roll, thanks to the suspension setup, which is a good thing. The feedback from the steering wheel is excellent, especially at high speeds. The car also gets good insulation and NVH levels as there is very less noise coming inside the cabin from the engine or the outside world.
The Venue iMT comes in three variants and the prices for the base variant starts at Rs 9.99 lakh and goes all the way up to the 11.58 lakh for the all-new sport trim variant. All prices mentioned above are ex-showroom India. The Venue goes up against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon and the Kia Sonet in the Indian market..
The Hyundai Venue is one of the most popular compact SUVs present in the market currently. The car got an overwhelming response at the time of launch and now with the introduction of the new iMT Sport Trim, it will definitely grab a lot of attention. The introduction of the iMT gearbox is a very smart move by Hyundai and there's no question that this is an excellent option to consider.
However, the price difference between the Venue manual and the iMT variant is just Rs 25,000. The compact SUV offers space, drives well and is powerful and having said so, the Venue should make a perfect compact SUV for the people who are looking to buy their first midsize car.