Snapshot: According to CarToq sources, Indian utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra is readying up a new variant of the dud selling Quanto compact SUV to be showcased at the upcoming 2014 Indian Auto Expo. The new variant of the Quanto is likely to feature an automated manual transmission, a feature that is turning out to be the flavour of the season with multiple car makers such as Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Tata Motors mulling this route for their future cars.
Mahindra, it seems is pulling all stops to make the listless selling Quanto a better performer at the hustings. While Mahindra added “Yoga Seats” to the Quanto a couple of weeks ago, the latest feature addition to the Quanto will be an automated manual transmission (AMT), also known as the semi-automatic gearbox in motoring circles.
The AMT or semi-automatic gearbox has been a staple feature of many heavy commercial vehicles including city buses and long haul inter-state trucks. The gearbox eliminates the manual clutch, making gear shifting a much more comfortable exercise.
Also, an AMT is lighter than conventional torque converters (automatic gearboxes), apart from being more cost effective and less complicated to build. The lightness of the AMT vis-a-vis a fully automatic gearbox is a crucial aspect, more so since the Quanto with a manual gearbox already weighs a portly 1.6 tons.
Apart from the semi-automatic gearbox, the Quanto is likely to retain the 1.5 liter, twin turbocharger equipped, triple cylinder turbo diesel engine that outputs 98.6 Bhp of peak power and 240 Nm of peak torque. This turbo diesel engine currently drives the rear wheels of the Quanto through a 5 speed manual gearbox.
The rear wheel drive layout is likely to be retained on the AMT equipped variant of the Quanto as well. The market acceptance of the automated manual transmission will be closely watched by Mahindra, who could possibly use this feature on many more upcoming utility vehicles if the semi-automatic gearbox acquits itself well on the Quanto. In that sense, the Quanto equipped with the AMT seems like a dress rehearsal of sorts.