There are two types of car owners, one who simply love their cars and cherish the experience of owning them comprehensively and the others are the one for whom cars are a mere mode of transportation or a status symbol at best. For the latter, driving is not an exciting affair and all they want is convenience while they make their daily runs. The one thing that bothers these kinds the most is the working through the gears in city traffic.
While the hotshots had their executive sedans with slick automatic transmission, there was no such option for the economy segment until the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) showed up. The Indian car market got introduced to the AMT technology for the first time with the Maruti Celerio. Since then it has become an industry standard for cars below the Rs.12 Lakh mark. Various manufacturers have opted to use AMT for their diverse lineup, offering the much-needed convenience in urban commuting.
But now certain manufacturers in India have got their hands on a new transmission tech which has begun to perform its duties in their latest cars. It is called Intelligent Manual Transmission or iMT. Hyundai Venue became the first car in India to have iMT transmission just recently.
On the arrival of the iMT now, it seems like it’s going to pose a threat to the sales of AMT equipped cars. So today we decided to pit AMT and iMT against each other to find out which one has the edge over the other. It’s iMT vs AMT today!
Ease of Use
The idea behind equipping cars with AMT or iMT is to relieve the driver from the hassle of constantly working through the gears. Which one does a better job in that? We’ll come to that, but first, let’s get the basics clear.
An AMT is not a proper automatic transmission, consider it as an automated version of the conventional manual transmission. In AMT, the sensors and the actuators operate the clutch and choose the right gear for you on its own.
iMT transmissions, on the other hand, uses sensors and actuators to operate the clutch only and it comes with a regular stick shift from which the driver can select the gears like in a regular MT car but without the need to depress the clutch.
As far as ease of use is concerned, it is subjective as to till what extent do you want your control on the shifts. An AMT in layman terms does the job for you while an iMT allows you to work the gears without the exhaustive clutch depressing. An AMT transmission is also popular for it’s ‘jerky’ attributes. The shifts on an AMT are a bit abrupt which can be a bit annoying while driving. There is no such problem with an iMT as all the shifting is at your disposal. An iMT also makes for seamless shifts, for which a manual transmission needs the precision of the driver. Hence, in the iMT vs AMT comparison, this tips the scale a bit in favour of the iMT.
Maintenance & Service
Well, iMT is fairly new tech for India, so a comprehensive maintenance and service cost report for it would make sense after it’s gone through the test of time in our country. However, one thing is certain that the iMT is less sophisticated than an AMT unit since the gear shifting in the iMT is done almost in the traditional way. Hence due to fewer complexities, the iMT will be much cheaper as far as maintenance is concerned.
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Most of the automatic transmissions in the sub-15 lakh segment (likes of the Honda CVT) have a reputation of being lethargic. Similarly, the AMT abrupt, head tossing and a bit laggy characteristics aren’t what you call performance-oriented. Getting a quick move on or doing those casual 0-100 tests can never be as exciting as with a manual gearbox.
Now, this is where the iMT brings the best of both the worlds. If you need to crank out a feisty rush from your car, you need to be hands-on. An iMT transmission lets you do that without making your left leg sour from depressing the clutch every now and then. Now the iMT may not be as engaging as a proper manual but the convenience on offer more than makes up for the slight loss of thrill.
Another popular attribute of a proper automatic is its drinking habit. An automatic transmission has always been less fuel-efficient than a manual. Though an AMT is not like the other auto box(s) around, still the gear shifted process is automated in an AMT and that can hinder fuel efficiency.
With an iMT on the other hand, like with an MT, bringing out good efficiency numbers is totally on the driver’s discretion. Smart hypermiling techniques will work for enhancing fuel efficiency on an iMT the same way it does for with an MT.
The most important factor in iMT vs AMT considering its India! For determining whether buying an iMT will be bang for your buck or not, we’re gonna take the example of the Hyundai Venue. Being the first and currently the only car on sale in India to have an iMT transmission, it is the most relevant example for the case.
We are going to do a price comparison between two variants of the Venue, one having the manual and DCT transmission as options while the other having manual and iMT transmission options. There isn’t any variant on the Venue which has all three transmission options.
Manual Transmission DCT Transmission Hyundai Venue (S Turbo variant) Rs. 8.46 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) Rs. 9.6 Lakhs
Manual Transmission iMT Transmission Hyundai Venue (SX variant) Rs. 9.79 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) Rs. 9.99 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi)
As you can see for the given variants, the price difference between the Manual and the iMT drastically less than the difference between the Manual and the DCT, which is quite steep.
But this is a comparison between iMT and AMT you say? Well, unfortunately, there is no AMT option for the Venue. So in order to gain a bit of perspective to determine cost-effectiveness, pitting the iMT against the only proper automatic on offer for the Venue was the best way.
By the looks of it, it clearly seems that an iMT will be much more cost-effective than any other AT option since it’s just marginally expensive than an MT. If all you want from an automatic transmission is the ease of driving, then iMT is a much reasonable option.
Here’s our comparison of the iMT and AMT transmissions. What are your thoughts on the latest transmission tech and also on the comparison -iMT vs AMT? Let us know in the comments below!