Automatic cars are fast getting more popular in the market. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the car buyers’ increased purchasing power, while the other is the technology getting more affordable over time. Yet another factor is the ever-increasing traffic that has pushed many to tilt their car purchase decision towards an automatic. Whatever the reason might be, an automatic car buyer is today spoilt for choice as there are at least as many as 5 different types of automatic cars in India. In this little guide we have here today, we will tell you the pros and cons of the various automatic gearbox-equipped cars that are sold in the country.
This is the most common type of automatic transmission available in cars. The torque converter units are the ones that are responsible for making automatic transmission cars the success they are today. The torque converter units are also fairly reliable and offer a silent as well as near jerk-free performance. Also, as there is no mechanical link in such transmissions, there is reduced wear and tear. Instead, they carry a fluid coupling connected with an impeller, which, in turn, is linked to the drive shaft through a turbine whose role is to turn the driving shaft. With this, once the impeller gets in motion, a centrifugal force is generated through the fluid onto the turbine, which, in turn, rotates the other shaft. Unlike in a manual transmission, a torque converter unit doesn’t have any fixed gear ratio, and hence, the transmission of power is smooth, albeit with some lag. Also, like we said, these transmissions are the most reliable and make sense for anyone looking for great long-term reliability. Some of the popular cars that use this transmission include the diesel variants of the Hyundai Creta as well as the Tata Safari.
We’re sure you are reading about this type of transmission for the first time ever, but it’s basically the same as the Tiptronic transmission that got quite popular about two decades ago. They change gears like a regular torque converter automatic transmission, but they do offer a feature that enables the driver to manually change gears by overriding the electronics. Basically, the ‘Tiptronic’ brand has been trademarked by Porsche, but it’s definitely used by many other companies (or at least used to be offered by them). We’ve seen these transmissions on a range of cars from Mitsubishi, VW, Audi, BMW, and others.
Also Read – What Does RPM Mean in Cars?
A Continues Variable Transmission or a CVT is a common type of automatic transmission that you can find on many cars, including almost all cars from Honda. It uses conical pulleys that work in tandem with V belts to vary the rotational speed of the two pulleys. These pulleys rotate in parallel to each other and even have an option to increase or reduce their respective circumferences. So, basically, this transmission can change the gear ratio without actually having any physical get. This is why they are even said ‘stepped’ and not geared. A typical CVT might have n numbers of steps, which is unlike a regular transmission that has n number of speeds. There is no clutch involved as one of the two shafts is directly connected with the engine while the other is connected to the wheel. The CVTs offer a smooth but rather boring performance as there is no abrupt gear change, but you do suffer an inherent rubber band effect where the engine speed rises without a corresponding change in the car’s speed.
Also Read: Pros and Cons of Electric Cars
Hence, it would be only right to say that the CVTs are best suited to those looking for a smooth intra-city ride as these units are extremely refined but lack the punch offered by a manual or even a torque converter automatic transmission. Some of the common cars that use these transmissions include the Maruti Baleno, Honda City, Hyundai Creta 1.5 Petrol, MG Hector, and more.
The first mass-market offering to offer Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) was the Celerio. Soon, many cars, including the ultra-affordable Tata Nano, started offering an optional AMT as this transmission offered the best of both worlds – The affordability of a manual transmission along with the convenience of an automatic. Basically, in an AMT, there is a hydraulic actuator system mounted inside the engine, which operates both. The actuators of the AMT system are linked to the ECU of the car, which gives it the input, and the output goes to the gears and clutch.
The gear shift pattern is pre-programmed from the factory, and that data is stored by the ECU. So whenever the RPM climbs to a certain level, the ECU automatically controls the actuators to operate both the clutch and gearbox in synchronization. This functions exactly like an automatic gearbox as there is no clutch pedal, and in some cases, there isn’t even a gear lever inside the cabin (as seen in the Renault Kwid). Although in most cases, there is a gear lever with the three drive modes, R (Reverse), N (Neutral), and D (Drive). There is also an option of shifting into manual mode just parallel to the Drive mode. Today, cars that come with AMTs include Tata Nexon, Maruti Swift, Maruti WagonR, Hyundai Santro, Tata Tiago, and more.
Also Read- Vehicle Scrapping Policy In India Explained
Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) or Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) is found in the most sophisticated of all the types of automatic cars listed here. As the name suggests, the DCT carries two clutches, but before we go on to explain how it works, allow us to tell you that the only difference between a DCT and a DSG is that the former uses a wet clutch while the latter has a dry clutch.
So, as we said, these transmissions have two clutches. These are individually linked with two gear mechanisms. One of these is used to work on odd-numbered gear ratios (1st, 3rd, 5th, and so on), while the other is linked with even gear ratios (2nd, 4th, 6th, and so on). So, how these transmissions offer a rapid shift is that as soon as you’re engaged in a particular gear, the second clutch is already engaged with the next gear, and based on the throttle input, it gets activated. This is also the reason for the upshifts being much faster in such transmissions than the downshifts. Also, in a dry clutch setup, there is some clutch noise. These transmissions are mostly offered on high-performance cars. In the mass market, they can be bought on the performance-focused variants of the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, and VW Polo.
So, are you planning to purchase an automatic car? If so, we, at Cars24, can not only offer you a range of used hatchback and sedan cars to choose from but can also take care of all the necessary paperwork, including the RC transfer, absolutely free of cost. Not only this, but you can even put our used car value calculator to use in order to find out the accurate resale value of any used car in India.