Automatic transmissions are rapidly going mainstream in India and no longer are they limited for select few luxury cars that cost a bomb. More and more affordable cars in India now come with an automatic gearbox. A major reason as to why automatic gearboxes are getting so popular is the ease of driving they offer in jam packed traffic of major cities in India. A true car lover may still go for a manual transmission as it offers more control but the average car user is fast switching to automatic gearbox due to the extreme ease of use of auto transmission. However, what confuses the average buyer when going for automatic transmission equipped car is the type of automatic transmission on offer. Therefore, today we have compiled a list that will help you choose the proper auto gearbox while purchasing car. There are 4 major kinds of auto gearboxes being offered in India. Let’s take a look at each of them and determine the best one for each kind of customer.
Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
Who Should Opt for It: Entry Level Customers Looking for Mileage
AMT is the most affordable automatic gearbox offered mostly on cars under Rs. 10 lakh segment in the country. From small hatchbacks to sub-4 meter compact SUVs, one can find the option of an AMT in almost every entry level segment. AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) is the same as a manual gearbox and has almost the same working profile. However, the difference here is that AMT has no clutch operation and shifts gears for you, but the underlying mechanism is entirely same as a manual gearbox with some added operational features.
As we have already stated the deep connection of AMTs and manual gearboxes, their relative simplicity and ease of manufacturing makes them more affordable to make and hence buy. The simplicity of AMTs make them more fuel efficient and affordable to maintain as compared to conventional automatic gearbox options. As far as negatives are concerned, AMTs are very jerky and do not offer the optimum driving experience that one hopes of an automatic gearbox.
Continuous Variable Transmissions (CVT)
Who Should Opt for It: Customers looking for refinement
A segment above the AMT is the option of CVT. Unlike the AMTs, CVT has no gears at all and instead uses discs for linear conversion of torque. This lack of gears and continuous torque conversion leads to a smoother experience as compared to AMTs. CVTs are more noise and vibration free and also offer a refined driving experience. Prominent examples of CVT equipped cars include Nissan Micra, Maruti Baleno, Honda City, and Honda Jazz among others. A minor downside of the CVT gearbox is the rubber-band effect during driving that is caused due to lag in changing gears.
Dual Clutch Transmissions (DCT)
Who Should Opt for It: Customers looking for quick shifts and performance
DCT (Dual Clutch Transmissions) are also called as DSG some times and are the pinnacle of automatic gearbox technology. The quick shift and performance oriented nature of DCT gearboxes sees them being installed on high-end cars. As is evident from the name, DCT has a second clutch that is employed to anticipate the gear the driver will need next and keep it ready for use. This drastically reduces shift times. Among the cars present in the Indian market that offer DCTs are Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, Skoda Rapid, Ford Figo and others. The only downside of the performance-oriented DCT is the mileage, which is not as great as one gets with the AMTs, or CVTs for that matter.
Who Should Opt for It: Customers who have run out of choice
Torque converter gearboxes are the oldest kind of transmissions that are still being offered on cars today. This is no more a popular choice in the market but still is offered on cars like the XUV500 and Tata Hexa. Torque converter gearboxes have a planetary design gear system with turbine and impeller. The impeller is filled with a fluid that turns the turbine through centrifugal force. However, the complex mechanism involved leads to a lot of energy loss that reduces the mileage considerably.