It is arduous to place a finger on precisely why driving a automotive with a manual transmission is a lot enjoyable. Is it the management you are feeling choosing your individual gears, that visceral connection shaped between human and machine? Is it the satisfaction of realizing you are doing extra work than 90 p.c of different drivers on the street? Is it the problem of gently feathering the clutch along with your left foot and modulating the throttle as you creep uphill in bumper-to-bumper visitors along with your proper, realizing one slip-up may stall your engine and invite ridicule and embarrassment? For the fanatic, perhaps—however for non-enthusiasts cautious of the work concerned, that final situation is probably most triggering. And Hyundai is aware of it.
The parents at Hyundai Motor India have provide you with an answer to the clutch-pedal downside dealing with hesitant would-be manual-transmission drivers: Eradicating the clutch pedal. Hyundai’s India department just lately introduced that the Venue subcompact SUV there’ll launch there with an accessible clever Guide Transmission (iMT), a system that makes use of a standard six-speed handbook shifter and transmission that simply so occurs to lack a 3rd pedal for the clutch.
To vary gears, seize the shift lever and slot it into the specified gear place as you usually would, besides with Hyundai’s system, that is all it’s essential to do. The iMT makes use of an “intention sensor,” which detects and predicts when you are going to shift. That sends a sign to the transmission management unit, which in flip primes a hydraulic actuator for participating and disengaging the clutch. The six-speed iMT is obtainable with the 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that is accessible in India. The iMT can even be an possibility on the Indian-market Kia Sonet.
This is not the primary two-pedal handbook transmission. Porsche toyed with the concept within the late 1960s, calling its system “Sportomatic.” Just like the iMT, the Sportomatic had a conventional shifter however solely 4 ahead gears. The clutch was vacuum-actuated (a microswitch on the shift lever initiated the clutching motion), and a torque converter was used instead of a flywheel to maintain the engine from stalling when the automotive was stopped. Volkswagen provided an identical system within the Beetle and Karmann Ghia known as Computerized Stickshift, or “Autostick.” Surprisingly, Sportomatic lasted till 1980, nevertheless it was by no means a well-liked possibility on the 911 and stays a value-killer amongst collectors. The important thing takeaway is that this: despite the fact that Porsche continued to tinker with automated manuals, it by no means revisited the Sportomatic’s clutchless stick shift idea.
So why, then, is Hyundai treading a equally bizarre path? In a launch, the automaker says the iMT will retain the “pleasure of driving” with out the effort of continually urgent the clutch pedal in visitors. Having commuted with handbook vehicles for years, we will say clutch foot fatigue is actual, nevertheless it comes with the territory. With out it, and all of the nuances of working a clutch pedal, are you actually driving a handbook? We’re skeptical however open to discovering out for ourselves. Sadly, that will in all probability require a visit to India as a Hyundai rep tells us there are at the moment no plans to deliver the iMT to the U.S.-market Venue.