5 Different Types of Automatic Cars In India

by Mohit Bhardwaj | 12/10/2019
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There are many types of automatic cars in India, but there's just one specifically for you, what is it? Here is all you need to know to check what fits you best.

Various types of automatic cars in India have often been through a jittery ride to cater the customer base they were targeted at. As automatic cars are seen as an expensive and less frugal option over their manual counterparts. But, there’s been a lot of research and development invested in this tech now, and the automatic cars have leapt forward all barriers to serve the drivers of all genres. Keeping the basic idea of reducing the need to operate a clutch and the stick, intact.

5 Different Types of Automatic Cars In India

The modern-day automatic cars are however a fixed affair. As the new-age automatic transmissions are frugal, clutter-free, and the shifts are lightning-fast. But, not all automatic cars serve all the purpose. As the engineering marvels work ideally only in theory without any mechanical losses, the outcomes are different in real-world conditions. Thus, forcing one to choose a gearbox design over the others in a crack to suffice the needs. This generates a void of confusion about which automatic transmission fits best for you and to ease this process out. We are going to break the beans for you, to help you choose the correct model for yourself from various types of automatic cars in India. 

Types of Automatic Cars - Torque Converter

Torque Converter unit

Among the most common types of automatic cars in India are vehicles with a torque converter unit. The torque convertors started the concept of automatic cars, as one of the first automatic gearboxes to be used in mass-market cars. The torque convertor unit is one of the most silent and niggle-free gearbox designs. Since it doesn’t do with any mechanical linkage. It does with a fluid coupling that has an impeller connected to the driving shaft, and a turbine on the driving shaft. When the impeller rotates, a centrifugal force acts on the fluid then the turbine on the other shaft starts rotating, and power transmission takes place. The torque convertor unit does not have any fixed gear ratios or steps. Thus, the power transmission is smooth but suffers from a mechanical lag. However, sitting at idle for long affects the transmission adversely.

For those of you looking to have a car with impressive reliability over prolonged use, torque convertor-equipped automatics cars can be the best choice. The car models like, Hyundai Verna, Mahindra XUV5OO and Tata Hexa are a few cars that use this transmission setup.

  • Pros – Silent and smooth power transmission
  • Cons – Poor fuel efficiency, Mechanical and slip losses

Types of Automatic Cars - Manumatic Transmission

Manumatic-Tiptronic Transmission

Sure, this is the first time you’d be reading this name. But this is just another name for Tiptronic transmission. It performs gear changes just like a regular automatic box (Here: Torque Convertor) but, comes with an added feature to offer the user leverage to override the transmission by manually changing the gears. This is done by just a press of a button, and then the user can take over the controls manually. The Tiptronic is the trademark name for this transmission setup by the Porsche. However, now it is used by all the companies under the Volkswagen umbrella, such as Audi and other manufactures like the BMW, Citroen, Acura, and others under different trademarks. In India, cars like Audi Q3 and Q7 have used this gearbox design.

  • Pros – Gets the function of manually plonk the gears over conventional automatic transmission
  • Cons – A torque convertor unit under the skin

Types of Automatic Cars - Continuous Variable Transmissions (CVT)

CVT Transmission

A CVT has no gears at all, instead, it uses conical pulleys in conjunction with V belts or toothed belts to differ the rotational speed of the two pulleys. The pulleys have their rotational axes parallel to each other and have the capability to increase or decrease its circumference. This is how; it achieves different gear ratios without using any physical gears and so they are said to be stepped, instead of geared. In theory, a CVT does not use any clutch, as one of the shaft is connected to the engine and the other one is connected to the wheel. While in a real-world CVT a centrifugal clutch and reduction gears are used on both the ends to suppress the mechanical shocks. The CVTs are said to be mundane as the steps do no change abruptly, and thus giving rise to the infamous ‘Rubber-Band’ effect.

The CVTs are best suited to those looking for a smooth ride, as CVTs stands out as the most refined transmission units ever designed. Cars like, Honda City, Honda Jazz, Datsun GO, Nissan Micra, and Maruti Suzuki Baleno do with CVT. And these can be a good option for those looking out to buy smooth and refined automatic cars that are on sale in the market.

Pros – Silent and smooth transmission, Refinement, Controlled NVH levels

Cons – Lethargic response, Rubber-Band effect

Types of Automatic Cars - Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

AMT Transmission

Brought into limelight by Maruti Suzuki in India, the AMT transmission is the most affordable version of any automatic transmission available with the cars now. The AMTs have made their way in almost every sub-4m car given that they are the cheapest alternative to a manual transmission. AMT is often referred to as semi-automatic transmission, as it works just like a conventional manual unit. In an AMT, there is a set of sensors and actuators working together to engage-disengage the clutch and shift the gears. The AMT unit has a very basic construction, but that hasn’t anywhere restricted its use to just small and lesser cars. The current generation AMT units are derived from Formula 1 car, and in the recent past, even BMW has used one with the M5 sports car.

With much on its side, AMT has come along with a few issues. The gear changes at higher RPM are jerky, and downshifts are always late and twitchy. The AMTs, however, are as efficient as manual transmission and that’s the reason they have been adopted this fast by the consumers. The AMT can be seen in automatic cars like Maruti Suzuki Swift, Tata Nexon, Renault Kwid, and more. The AMT gearboxes are best suited for people who need an automatic car with a fuel-efficiency, that is comparable to manual and the price difference between the both isn’t much.

  • Pros – Cost-effective, Fuel efficiency
  • Cons – Twitchy gear shifts

Types of Automatic Cars - Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT or DSG)

A DSG or DCT Gearbox

Vehicles equipped with Dual-clutch transmission or the direct shift gearbox is easily the most advanced of all types of automatic cars. This gearbox available on the earth. The DCT and DSG are often considered to be different; however, they are similar to each other. The only difference between the two is that a DCT uses a wet clutch, while the DSG do with a dry clutch. The way these gearboxes function is pretty same. As the name suggests, there are two clutches used. These clutches individually link two gear mechanisms to each other. One of which is used to engage 1st, 3rd, and 5th gear, the other one is used to engage the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th gear. Although this complexity isn’t a DCT’s idiosyncrasy, the super-fast and precise shift is. The earlier versions of the DCTs were not as efficient as the manual gearboxes, but the new-age systems are super reliable and efficient. The DSGs though suffer from clutch noise issues because of their dry clutch setup. The gearboxes are offered among the most precise set of wheels in every segment as they are expensive. But with time, mass-market cars such as Kia Seltos, Hyundai Venue, Volkswagen Polo GT, and the likes have also adopted these gearboxes. By now, we assume that it is pretty clear, only those who wish for sickeningly fast and ultra-precise shift should go for one of these transmissions.

  • Pros – Fast and precise shifts, Frugal
  • Cons – Reduced fuel efficiency
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