Automatic cars have become the prime choice for most drivers around the world and Indians too have joined the bandwagon. Convenience, clutch-free shifting, and easy drivability have led to people choosing automatic cars over the manual ones.
The automatic gearbox started out as simple gear changing mechanisms offering relatively lower fuel economy than the manuals of the yesteryears. Advancement in automotive technology and electronics has led to more efficient and precision automatic gearboxes in modern cars.
Are you looking to buy an automatic car in India? Confused with choices of automatic gearbox options available in the market? Before buying, here are the five types of automatic car gearboxes that you should know about – AMT, CVT, DCT, Torque Converter and IMT.
Also known as semi-automatic gear transmission, AMT cars are the most common automatic cars on Indian roads. Apart from being low cost, AMT cars are a basic upgrade of your manual gear cars with a few design tweaks. This automatic car type is ideal for buyers who want to combine high fuel efficiency with low cost of maintenance.
The AMT gearbox can be found in petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG vehicles, AMT is commonly available in both entry level-segment and mid-level cars, including the Maruti Swift, Alto, Brezza, Renault Duster, and the Tata Nexon to name a few.
If you are looking for an automatic car with a quieter transmission, then CVT vehicles should be your choice. CVT is also used in many automatic scooters (Activa, Dio) in India. Technically, CVT vehicles do not have any gears nor any clutches – thus are best suited for users looking for a smoother drive on their automatic cars.
Like AMT, CVT is available in the most popular cars in India, such as the Maruti Baleno, Honda Jazz, Honda City, and Nissan Micra.
Also known as the direct shift gearbox (or DSG), Dual-clutch transmission is easily among the market’s advanced automatic car technologies today. Primarily, DCT uses a twin-clutch system that is responsible for smooth gear shifts. Based on the engine torque, automatic cars use either dry clutches (for DCT) or wet clutches (for DSG).
Among the latest generation of vehicles, DCT offers faster and most accurate gear shifts and is quite reliable and efficient. Among its major limitations, DCT vehicles offer low fuel economy than manual. Also, if you feel the loss of power while driving in hills or critical overtakes in a highway, you can just downshift in a wink of an eye! Some of the cars with this gearbox configuration comes with paddle shifters which make driving even easier. You can find this technology in many popular vehicles, including Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, Volkswagen Polo, and Ford Figo.
Torque Converter technology is probably the innovation that pioneered the advent of automatic cars – hence it is quite common to find such automatic cars on Indian roads. The best part of torque converters is its almost silent and “free from niggles” gearbox. If you are looking for an automatic car for prolonged use and with a smooth gear shift, then you can opt for DCT cars – although you must put up with its low fuel efficiency.
Thanks to early advent, torque converters are available in many car variants including the Mahindra XUV, Tata Hexa, VW Polo, Skoda Rapid and Hyundai Verna.
Among the latest innovations in automatic cars, IMT offers a complete clutch-free manual transmission with no clutch pedal. IMT uses automatic sensors and actuators to perceive a gear change and to engage your clutch automatically. IMT is ideal for users looking for the complete convenience of an automatic car.
In short, if you are hate stepping on the clutch pedal multiple times in traffic or have the habit of driving with resting your foot on the clutch pedal but still enjoy driving using the H-pattern gear shifter, the IMT is definitely the way to go!
As of now, IMT is only available in the Hyundai & Kia cars – the Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue are the only cars with this gearbox configuration.