4 types of automatic cars - CVT, AMT, DCT & Torque Converter: Who should buy what?

4 types of automatic cars – CVT, AMT, DCT & Torque Converter: Who should buy what?

Automatics are becoming extremely popular in the Indian car market. The introduction of affordable automatic cars has surged the demand drastically and now there are many different automatic transmission options to choose from. We explain all four kinds of automatics available in affordable cars sold in India. and who should choose what.

Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

Who should buy it? People looking for high fuel efficiency and affordability.

The AMT has recently become widely popular in the Indian market, especially after the introduction of the transmission in affordable cars. They are also known as semi-automatic transmission. The AMT is a low-cost transmission which is based on the manual transmission itself with a few additional equipment. These transmissions share most of the hardware with manual transmission, hence the cost of the transmission is low. AMTs are the cheapest automatic transmission currently available in the market.

The clutch of such transmissions work automatically and are operated by a servo motor, making them automatics. AMTs can be offered with both petrol and diesel engine options and the cost difference between the manual variants are not much. The AMTs are highly fuel efficient (similar to the manual models) and also offers affordable maintenance cost. The AMTs are not only available with low-cost cars but high-end sporty cars like Abarth 595 also use AMTs. The only downside is the jerky gear changes. Affordable cars like Tata Nano to Renault Duster, all offer AMTs in the Indian market.

Continous Variable Transmissions (CVT)

Who should buy? People looking for refined automatics

CVTs are one of the most refined automatic transmissions. The CVTs use steel pulleys and a belt that can generate infinite gear ratios. The CVTs do not have any gears and there are no any such gear changes but only the ratio change happens. This type of transmission is very quiet too and is widely used in the automatics scooters in India. However, CVTs can feel a bit elastic when you push the throttle all the way to create a rubberband effect. Affordable cars like Nissan Micra, Maruti Baleno use this type of transmission. CVTs can also get paddle shifters to give them a sporty look. In India, Honda cars like Jazz and City offer paddle shifters with their CVT.

Dual Clutch Transmissions

Who should buy? People who want high-performance automatics

Dual Clutch Transmission is one of the most advanced transmissions available in the market. The dual clutch transmissions have twin clutch system that offers lightning-quick shifts. The two clutches take on the odd and even gear numbers separately while the gear system itself is similar to the manual transmission. There are two types of dual clutch transmissions – wet and dry. Depending on the torque of the engine dry or wet systems are used.

Such transmissions are very quick to shift between the gears making them a common choice of high-end car manufacturers. Many affordable vehicles like VW Polo GT TSI, Ford Figo, VW Ameo, Skoda Rapid diesel etc are also available with the twin-clutch transmissions.

Torque converters

Who should buy? People who do not have any other choice

The torque converters are the oldest kind of automatic transmissions that were once widely used in all the vehicles. Such transmission systems use planetary gear system with a turbine and impeller. There is a fluid present in the impeller that gets pushed due to the centrifugal forces and moves the turbine. Torque converters are quite outdated and are not as widely used as other types of transmissions. Torque converters also face lot transmission loss and low fuel efficiency. Cars like Tata Hexa and Mahindra XUV 500 use such transmission but they are much refined and improved. Torque converters have been around for a long time now and over the time, they have become quite reliable.


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