10 things NOBODY tells you about AMTs: Automated manual transmissions

10 things NOBODY tells you about AMTs: Automated manual transmissions

Automatic transmission is the rage among car buyers now. This has been further boosted by the advent of affordable AMTs, which are now available under Rs. 5 Lakh price mark. Hassle free operation is among the chief reason why people are picking automatics over manuals. However, there are quite a few things you may need to to know regarding the auto trannies. So here are ten such things that no one tells you about the AMT automatic transmission.

Expect much less

tata nexon hyprdrive amt images

If you are coming from a proper automatic transmission car and the using an AMT gearbox, you might feel as if you have downgraded. The reason for this is that the AMTs do not function like other automatic, say CVT cars. They have a rather different feel and may even feel sluggish to some, leaving them disheartened. That said, if an AMT vehicle is your first go at an automatic transmission, it will leave you satisfied with its ease of usage.

It is a clutch-less manual transmission

AMT stands for Automated Manual Transmission, which means that it is not exactly a fully automatic gearbox. Rather, an AMT transmission system has the same basic working and mechanical parts as in manual gearbox. The difference lies in the use of clutch pedal. While manual gearbox require you to use clutch regularly, AMT does that for you itself. They automatically apply the clutch, thus barring your feet of some work.

Affordable to buy and maintain

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Simply put, AMT’s are manual gearboxes with some automatic transmission functioning. As they are not much complicated, many affordable hatchbacks are now equipped with an AMT gearbox. It only gets a few additional features instead of an all-new transmission that keeps the cost low. Compared to the maintenance of a manual gearbox, the AMT incur less cost in the long run.

And returns good fuel efficiency

Conventional automatic transmission generally have a negative effect on the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Barring a few excellent boxes, almost all automatics suffer from this issue. However, the AMT being part manual does not reduce the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. Almost all the examples of AMT vehicles return the same fuel efficiency as their manual counterparts. Many people have this misconception regarding AMTs but that’s not true.

But a few traits of manual transmission remain

Everything has its own perks and losses and while the AMT powered cars deliver the same efficiency, they has some shortcomings too. AMTs miss out on features like parking mode, hill hold and hill descent. If you own or are planning to own an AMT equipped car, make it a habit to use handbrakes. This is because in an AMT car, one should always pull the handbrake when the car has been parked and also during countering hill slopes.

You can shift gears and take control

Almost all the AMT equipped cars get usual stick which can be used whenever there is a need to take matters in your hands. The Renault Kwid is an exception to this, as it features a knob-based AMT gear-selector. However, such take-things-in-your-hands option is not offered on many conventional automatic transmissions that are offered with affordable cars on the Indian market. There is no denying the fact that having the choice of upshifting and downshifting upon will lends more control over the vehicle.

Modern AMTs are much more advanced

Renault also sells an AWD equipped Duster

Technology is being developed every day at astonishing speed. Technology is not just your smartphone or PC but everywhere, and cars are also evolving at a very fast pace. Modern cars with AMT transmission are coming with cutting edge features such as hill hold. The Tata Nexon and Renault Duster are a good example of this. Not only this makes the vehicles less tiring to drive but also helps the driver to relax while stopping on the hill inclines.

No need for accelerator inputs in traffic

This is another boon for people who hate driving in traffic. Almost AMT equipped cars sold in our country now come with a ‘creep’ function. As the name suggests, this allows the car to move slowly in the traffic without any accelerator inputs. This is especially beneficial in heavy traffic situations where manual cars often turn off in first gear. The creep function comes with every automatic transmission car out there.

Engine braking is absent!

Engine braking is a good technique to use and prevents unnecessary usage of brakes. It is especially useful while coming down a hill or bringing the vehicle to stop over a shorter distance. However, the AMT transmission means that one can’t control the clutch at will, therefore making engine braking impossible. Engine braking means keeping the vehicle in lower gears while going down a slope or plain surface which eventually reduces the vehicle speed. This however is not possible in the case of an AMT transmission car.

Overtaking needs planning

Hyundai Santro6

If you are fan of this motto ‘One gear down and we leave the world behind’, you might find the AMT to be a bit boring. That’s because AMTs are a bit sluggish, no matter how advanced they are. AMTs may let you to manually shift the gears, but they can’t match the speeds of manual or other advanced automatic transmissions. Therefore, overtaking can be a major pain in AMT equipped cars. Pressing the accelerator will make the gear go down but not instantly.