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Transmission Compared: DCT vs CVT

In this day and age, automatic transmissions are part and parcel of the automotive industry for the amount of convenience they provide in the otherwise inconvenience-loaded and hectic lifestyles. In India, dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and continuous variable transmission (CVT) are the two fairly popular automatic transmissions for the smooth and pocket-friendly ride experience they provide. Since both transmissions are pretty decisive of the ride quality and the economic nature of your car, let’s learn what distinguishes them and how much.

What is a DCT Automatic?

As the name suggests, the dual-clutch transmission functions with two clutches that are operated automatically. Both sensor-based clutches are respectively linked to two cylindrical shafts which are placed concentrically (one encases another) and are independent of each other. The inside shaft extends out of the length of the outside one and has some gears mounted on it, as does the outside shaft. One shaft has even gears and the odd ones are on another one. The gears mounted on these shafts remained meshed with loosely-mounted gears (independent) on the output shaft which provides rotation to the wheels.

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As the output shaft runs on a selected gear ratio, the sensors predict the next gear ratio calibrating the speed, engine speed, and acceleration or retardation. For example, if the car is running in 3rd gear, the sensor-linked computer will predict the next-needed gear that could be either 4th or 2nd.on the subsequent shaft. If the car accelerates the computer will automatically disengage the clutch connected to the shaft with odd-numbered gears (3rd) and engage the clutch connected to the shaft with even-numbered gears, on which it had already kept the 4th gear preselected.

What is a CVT Automatic?

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Instead of the gearbox, the continuous variable transmission consists of a set of two cone-pulleys through which a metallic belt runs. One pulley is connected to the engine and another to the differential that rotates the wheels. This pulley arrangement can be described as two opposed conical plates, conically-inward with a belt running over their joining. In both the pulleys, one conical plate is stationary and the opposite one is axially movable. The movable conical plate moves closer or farther from the opposite one to increase or decrease the diametrical rotation of the metallic belt. Since both pulleys have the moveable conical plate, the diameter of both can be continuously changed and the vehicle can run on a variety of diameter ratios between the driving and driven pulley, this is how the transmission got named ‘Continuous variable transmission’. The whole system is managed by a transmission engine control unit which hydraulically controls the motion of the movable conical pulleys and provides the vehicle an infinite number of gear ratios (diameter ratios).

Which one should you choose, DCT or CVT?


Among all the types of transmissions, CVT produces the best mileage since the continuous running of the belt among the pulleys never lets even the slightest interruption of power flow to the wheels. Especially, if you use your vehicle mostly on the urban road network, CVT automatic is the best one to go for in terms of mileage output. On the other hand, DCT automatic is also substantially good for fuel economy, given it works on minimizing the gap between the gear changes.

Servicing, maintenance, and replacement

The CVT automatic is relatively less susceptible to failures and expensive maintenance since the major portion of its design is easily comprehensible (two pulleys and one belt). The service cost of CVT is relatively cheap. In case of replacement, CVT parts are although costly but relatively cheaper than DCT automatic.

Driving experience

This is where the DCT automatic surpasses CVT automatic. In CVT automatic, since the transmission is based on pulley and belt system and pulley is the one that transmits power, there is a distinct lack of response in power flow. The CVT automatic tends to cause a rubber-band effect and takes away the thrill of power that driving enthusiasts would prefer. On the other hand, in dual-clutch transmission, even though the selection of gears is automatic, the gears mesh the same way as they do in manual transmission which provides much spirited and high-octane performance. This is why DCT automatics can be easily found in sports cars.

Overall cost-benefit

Due to complex infrastructure and design, DCTs are usually costlier than CVTs, although it also depends on the car. Both transmissions are found in the higher variants of the vehicles. CVTs are relatively more reliable than DCTs in terms of fuel efficiency and durability.

Basing it upon the performance and affordability, here are the best DCT and CVT cars in India.

Best DCT cars in India

Skoda Kushaq
Skoda Kushaq is one of the best DCT cars in India.





Skoda Kushaq

1.5L turbocharged petrol engine

17.88 km/l

₹10.49 – 17.59 lakhs

Hyundai i20

1L turbocharged petrol engine

20 km/l

₹6.91 – 11.40 lakhs

1.4L turbocharged petrol engine

17 km/l

₹10.16 – 17.87 lakhs

Best CVT cars in India

Honda City
Honda City is one of the best CVT cars in India.





Honda City

1.5L petrol engine

18.4 km/l

₹11.16 – 15.11 lakhs

Nissan Magnite

1L turbocharged petrol engine

17.7 km/l

₹5.71 – 10.15 lakhs

1.2L petrol engine

20 km/l

₹5.99 – 9.45 lakhs

Due to the rising demand for automatic transmission, many cars with DCT or CVT transmissions are available in India, and many are anticipated to be rolled out soon. If you are among the ones who are confused between DCT and CVT, we hope this blog will help you make an informed choice.

FAQs about Transmission Compared: DCT vs CVT

Q. Among DCT and CVT which one gives better mileage?

A. Continuous variable transmission (CVT) gives better mileage than Dual-clutch transmission (DCT), especially on city roads.

Q. Which are the most affordable CVT transmission cars in India?

A. The most affordable CVT cars in India are Datsun Go, Datsun Go+, Honda Amaze, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Nissan Magnite, Toyota Glanza, Hyundai i20, Renault Kiger, and Honda Jazz.

Q. Among CVT and DCT transmission, which one is more costly?

A. DCT automatic transmission is more costly than CVT transmission.

Q. Which is better suitable for long drives CVT or DCT?

A. On long drives, CVT automatic will give you better mileage and a sufficiently smooth ride experience. However, DCTs can offer high-spirited performance and considerably good mileage.

Q. How many clutches are in CVT transmission?

A. Continuous variable transmission does not have any clutch, clutch pedal, and gears.

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