The Hyundai Venue is headed for the Indian market this month with the iMT intelligent manual transmission, Autocar India reports. The compact SUV is set to pair the two-pedal manual gearbox with a 120 hp 1.0 litre direct-injection turbo petrol engine when it makes its debut, and Hyundai promises ‘first-in-industry’ gearbox technology when it is launched, it said.

Currently available with either a conventional six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the Hyundai Venue will feature the iMT not as a replacement of either existing choice, but to join the line-up as an additional option, according to the report.

In India, the Venue gets the manual in S, SX and SX(O) trim levels while the dual-clutch automatic is available in S and SX+ trim levels. The forthcoming iMT transmission option is expected to slot in between the manual and dual-clutch automatic-equipped versions of the Venue, says Autocar India. The Kia Sonet with its own iMT is expected to follow shortly after the Venue’s debut this year.

This enables a two-pedal setup for the driver, while clutch operation is via electro-hydraulic actuation. Clutch actuation is through an ‘intention sensor’ within the gear lever that signals the transmission control unit (TCU) that the driver is about to change gears. The TCU then signals the hydraulic actuator to disengage and re-engage the clutch in order for the driver to complete the gearchange.

This differs slightly from sister company Kia’s version of the iMT, which retains the third pedal (picture above). This is essentially clutch-by-wire instead of a conventional, mechanical linkage, and this lets the Idle Stop & Go start-stop system tell the transmission control unit to de-couple the clutch, and allow coasting to a halt while the transmission is still in gear.

The Kia iMT has been introduced with the 2020 Rio and Hyundai i30 facelift, and will feature in future mild-hybrid petrol and diesel models. The iMT also differs from automated manual transmissions (AMTs) of the past, which are governed by software for both clutch operation and gear selection, as opposed to clutch operation only in the iMT.

This means that AMTs can and do shift gears automatically while the iMT is closer to a true manual in leaving gear selection entirely with the driver, as it employs the traditional H-gate lever shift pattern. For example, the AMT-equipped Proton Savvy employs a sequential shift pattern.

While Hyundai claims a first-in-industry application of the gearbox with a mass-production model such as the Venue, it isn’t the absolute first automated H-gate manual to come to market. Ferrari brought out a ‘clutchless’ version of the Mondial in 1991, as did Ruf for the BTR in 1992, and these also employed the conventional H-gate shift pattern. A more mainstream application of the time was the Saab 900 Sensonic, in 1993.

GALLERY: 2020 Hyundai Venue