Buying an automatic car used to be more a matter of prestige than convenience. Automatic Transmission was synonymous with big price tagged cars, a technology that was enjoyed more by the chauffeurs of such cars than their suave masters. Thanks to the ever-evolving field of mechanics, the situations have changed for good. Today, one can freely opt for an automatic in a car as humble as the Tata Nano, or for that matter, the beloved family car of India- Maruti Suzuki Alto, and while on cards automatic does mean freedom from shifting gears and the third peddle, these cars are diverse in every way that they bring about this effect.
Every automatic transmission works on a set of mechanisms that finally give them different fuel efficiency figures, the smoothness in gearshifts and the kind of driving experience they provide. We steer you out of indecipherable acronyms and help you make an informed choice while looking for an automatic transmission in your next vehicle…
Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
Pretty much as the name suggests, an Automated Manual Transmission is not really an automatic or a clutch-less system after all. Its much rather a manual gearbox that facilitates gear shifting without the ado of pressing the clutch. A hydraulic actuator system and an electronic control unit, work in conjunction to simply engage and disengage the clutch while shifting the gears. That’s pretty much it- simple, cheap and efficient- and you have the reason why it’s making so much noise in the budget segment of cars.
Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Coming from Automated Manual Transmission, the Continuously Variable Transmission unit is a giant leap towards a completely automatic system. While regular transmission units have a fixed number of gear-speed ratios that need to be worked up to keep accelerating, the CVT system consists of a single unique gear that can change through a continuous range of effective gear ratios, responding only to the throttle response. A new set of gear-speed ratio keeps your ride pliant to the kind of response you anticipate while going down on the pedal. Though not the best kind of automatic transmission available in the market, it is the one that is more widely acclaimed, with a similar technology popular amongst the new age automatic two wheelers such as the Honda Activa.
Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) Transmission
DSGs are what you get when you opt for a Volkswagen or a car from the same bandwagon (pun intended!). DSGs are more evolved CVTs that additionally boasts of dual clutches over the traditional single clutch systems of the CVTs. Using a pair of clutches means that as one clutch disengages a gear, the other one engages the next at the same time, effectively eliminating the time spent in neutral between changing gears. Dual clutches also make it more fuel efficient than their manual counterparts, something not many automatics can boast off. Volkswagen DSGs are well planned out units and since the same tech is used over a variety of engine options for different cars, the level of refinement attained in real world performances are second to none.