Indian consumers are fast accepting cars with an automatic transmission and the main factor for this new trend is the new affordable AMT or automated manual transmission set-up. Manufactures are increasingly offering this as an option, even in entry level hatchbacks and the reason why there are three AMT models on offer under Rs 5 lakh.
All these three cars, the Datsun redi-GO, Maruti Alto K10 and Renault KWID are powered by petrol engines and come with a 1.0-litre petrol motor. All three cars get an automated version of the 5-speed manual gearbox. Among the three, the K10 is the most popular, followed by the KWID and then the redi-GO. Do note that we aren’t considering the Tata Nano AMT here as production has ceased and dealers are simply selling the left over stock.
Lets have a deeper look into each model and what makes it worthy of a purchase. We have listed the three cars in order of their pricing:
Automatic Cars Under 5 Lakh: Datsun redi-GO AMT
Price: Rs 4.38 – 4.53 lakh (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: 1st Year Insurance + 1 Gram Gold Coin (800 cc) / 2 Gram Gold Coin (1 Litre) + Rs 10K Exchange Benefits + 3 Year Road Side Assistance (October)
India’s most affordable automatic car comes from Datsun and is available in two versions of T(O) and S. At an on road price of about Rs 4 lakh (considering the discounts), the redi-GO AMT offers shattering value for money considering the features it comes equipped this. This includes power steering, air-con with heater, drive computer, audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, driver side airbag, front power windows, keyless entry etc.
The redi-GO looks pretty nice for a small car and with generous dimensions, manages to stand out in the crowd of hatchbacks on the road. It even gets slim DRLs or day time running lights up front! While the manual version comes with both 800cc and 1000cc engines, the AMT gets the latter. Its good for 68 PS of power and 91 Nm of torque and has a rated fuel economy of 22.5 kmpl. We like the way this AMT set-up works and this combined with a light steering and high seating makes this a very sorted urban car. It gets a creep function which allows the car to move ahead by releasing the brake – very useful for slow moving traffic. As expected, you can also take over the automated shifts by shifting the lever to the left while in D mode.
On the inside, the redi-GO gets an all black color theme that is broken well by silver inserts at places. Practical points include open space above the glove box, under the air-con and multiple cup holders. That said, all four doors do not offer any storage space at all. However Datsun claims the redi-GO has the roomiest interiors for the segment. Overall, the redi-GO is a very good automatic urban car that can handle the occasional highway duties too.
- Most affordable automatic
- Modern interiors
- Easy urban car (tall seating, good visibility, light steering)
- Peppy and fuel efficient
- High speed manners
- Interior fit and finish
- Limited network, poor resale value
- Cost cutting evident (single front wiper, non retractable belts)
Latest update: Limited edition model launched in Sep 2018
Automatic Cars Under 5 Lakh: Maruti Alto K10
Price: Rs 4.65 lakh (on-road, without discounts)
Discounts: Upto Rs 20,000 cash and upto Rs 35,000 exchange bonus
Maruti’s most affordable automatic car is the Alto K10. This current generation K10 got a major facelift in 2014 and even four years down the line, looks fresh and appealing for this price. Not as tall as the KWID or the redi-GO, but in smaller towns, the K10 is quite popular. The AMT version gets the same 1.0-litre three cylinder engine as the MT one. This one puts out 67 PS of power and 90 Nm of torque, more or less similar to that of the other two cars in the same price band. However, it feels a tad smoother at idle and on the move. The AMT too seems to have been calibrated better here in the K10, making it perform the best here. Fuel economy too is similar to the other cars.
The cabin of the Alto K10 is a weak point. It isn’t as modern as the rivals and the AMT gear lever takes up a lot of space which means this version comes without cup holders up front – storage space is lacking here.
In terms of space, the Alto K10 cannot match up to the rivals either. Likewise, the AMT is available in one version only and this comes without features like front fog lamps, keyless entry, body coloured outside mirrors and even side moulding. ABS too is missing. This is one area where the rivals score higher points. The only point going in favour of the Alto K10 is Maruti’s widespread network and long term peace of mind factor.
- Peppy and efficient
- Peace of mind, resale value
- AMT works better than rivals
- Best high speed manners here
- Cabin design is outdated
- No storage space due to AMT lever console
- Limited cabin design
- Missing features (fog lamps, keyless entry etc)
Sales : Alto K10 (not available separately, is always combined with Alto 800)
Latest update: Alto K10 Plus launched in March 2017
Automatic Cars Under 5 Lakh: Renault KWID
Price: Rs 4.85 – Rs 5.16 lakh (on-road without discounts)
Discounts: 50% Off on 1st Year Insurance + Rs 15000 Exchange Bonus + 4 Year Warranty on Select Model (October)
The KWID is the most expensive automatic hatchback here but it also the one that offers the best bang for your buck. Lets stat with the design first ; the SUV inspired theme works well and gives this car best road presence among the lot. It is wider and longer than the redi-GO and the Alto K10 and this along with the longest wheelbase means cabin space is generous. Talking of which, the KWID’s interior is a level up as compared to the other two cars and we aren’t just talking about the design but features on offer. A touch screen infotainment system, a full LCD speedometer console and even a rear arm-rest have never been heard of before in a car in this segment.
Its a little known fact that the redi-GO and KWID share the same engines, both the smaller 800cc and the larger 1000cc. The latter is the one that powers the AMT model and like the redi-GO, offers more than ample performance. The KWID is the only AMT car in India that does away with a conventional gear lever but makes use a rotary knob to shift between D (Drive), N (Neutral) and R (Reverse). While this frees up cabin space, it does not allow the drive to change gears manually. A highlight about the KWID is its ride quality which is better than the redi-GO and the Alto K10. All factors combined, though the KWID is the most expensive car here, it is worth the extra monthly EMI
- SUV inspired design works well
- Feature loaded (touch screen, LCD speedo etc)
- Best ride quality of the lot
- Peppy and efficient
- Rotary AMT knob removes manual override
- Most expensive here
- Small tank (28 litres), largest turning radius
- Most expensive here!
August : 5541
Latest Update: 2018 edition with added features