5 types of automatic cars – IMT, CVT, AMT, DCT & Torque Converter: Which one should you buy?

Even though the manual transmission is the favourite choice of the Indian automobile market, with the advancement in technology, there are many more types of transmission available in the market. In fact, the market is slowly shifting towards the automatic transmission, especially after the introduction of AMT, which is an inexpensive two-pedal gearbox. Recently, Hyundai and Kia also started offering iMT or Intelligent Manual Transmission, which again is a two-pedal set-up but is different from AMT and all other automatic transmissions available. Going to buy a new vehicle can pretty sure make you confused between which one to buy. Well, here are a few different types of transmissions other than a manual gearbox.

Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

If you’re looking for high fuel efficiency and convenience of an automatic at an affordable cost

Maruti Ignis Facelift 1

The AMT has attracted a lot of customers in recent times, especially because of its affordable price tag. An AMT is a modified version of a manual transmission and the basic mechanism remains the same. However, with the help of a few sensors, actuators and programming, the transmission shifts automatically by engaging the clutch. Since most of the hardware remains similar to a manual transmission, they do not cost much.

In the automatic mode, the AMT works with the help of a servo motor. The AMT are available with petrol as well as diesel engine options. The only downside of the AMT is that it is not very smooth. Also, the drivers have to learn to drive in a certain way to reduce the jerks. AMT is a proven technology and is also available in high-end vehicles like Abarth 595. It is very fuel-efficient and is low on maintenance. In India, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Ignis, Hyundai Santro, Mahindra TUV300 and more other vehicles offer AMT.

Continous Variable Transmission (CVT)

Perfect for the buyers looking for a smooth drive

CVT has become much more advanced than they were a few years ago. With the help of pulleys and a belt, CVT offers an infinite number of gear ratios, which can fit any kind of situation and speed. The CVT is also an extremely quiet gearbox and is mostly available with the automatic scooters like Honda Activa. However, there are many cars that offer the CVT too. The only downside of the CVT is the rubberband effect when the vehicle is pushed. Whenever the pedal is pressed against the metal, the CVT has a rubber band effect that kills the joy of driving. Honda offers stepped CVT that can be controlled through pedal shifters in cars like City. CVT is also available with cars like Nissan Micra and upcoming Magnite. Also, Hyundai and Kia offer CVT with various models.

Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

Perfect for people looking for performance automatic car

Dual-clutch type transmissions are one of the most advanced versions of gearboxes. The DCT are exceptionally smooth and uses two different clutches to make the gearshifts quick and smooth. The twin-clutch set-up is used for the alternate gears and when one clutch is engaged, the second one keeps itself ready. As soon as the vehicle speeds up, the first clutch disengages and the second one engages making a quick and smooth shift. There are two types of DCT available – wet and dry and manufacturer uses both of them based on the requirements and engine output.

While technology is used in high-performance cars, it is quite expensive. There are many cars with DCT like the Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, and in the past, Volkswagen used to offer the same with the Polo GT TSI.

Torque Converters

Buyers looking for a reliable and smooth gear shifts

Torque converters are the oldest automatic transmission available in the Indian market. The transmission uses a planetary gear system with turbine and impeller. The impeller uses a fluid that gets pushed to the corners due to the centrifugal force that generates when the vehicle moves. The torque convertors do find their use in many affordable as well as expensive vehicles in the Indian market. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford Endeavour, Mahindra XUV500 all use the same Torque Converter transmission. Because of their simple set-up, these are the most reliable types of automatic transmission available in the market.

Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT)

Fuel efficiency, convenience and easy maintenance

Clutchless manual transmission or semi-automatic transmissions are a new kind that was introduced in the market by Hyundai and Kia earlier this year. It is just like a stick shift manual transmission but without a clutch. The iMT comes with actuators that sense the pressure on the gear stick and engages the clutch. This transmission is very affordable to maintain as it is basically as manual transmission without a clutch pedal. Currently, Hyundai i20, Venue and Kia Sonet offer the iMT in India.