Snapshot: In the run up to the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, Maruti Suzuki has begun teasing the Celerio hatchback, which will feature India’s first automated manual transmission (AMT) in the passenger car segment. Maruti Suzuki has named the AMT feature as EZDrive, choosing to highlight the manual clutch-less feature of the transmission.
Automated manual transmission is a kind of gearbox that eliminates the manual clutch. Instead, the clutch is deployed automatically, with the engine/transmission’s electronic control unit (ECU) handling the engaging and disengaging of the clutch.
In India, AMTs have been around for quite a while now. However, this technology has been restricted to the commercial vehicle space with big trucks featuring AMTs. Therefore, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio hatchback, known globally as the all-new Suzuki Alto, will be the first car to feature AMT in India.
Maruti Suzuki has begun teasing the Celerio’s AMT under the EZDrive moniker. Without a manual clutch, driving in congested stop-go traffic conditions that Indian cities are notorious for, gets much easier. Also, the automated manual transmission unit is lighter than a conventional automatic gearbox, and more fuel efficient too.
Crucially, a car equipped with automated manual transmission will cost about 40,000-50,000 rupees more than a similar manual gearbox equipped car. On the other hand, a car with a full automatic transmission (torque converter or CVT) will cost about 80,000-100,000 rupees higher than a similar manual gearbox equipped car.
Therefore, the AMT adds convenience at a lower price tag, while having a host of other benefits such as giving the driver control of gear changing. The Maruti Suzuki Celerio’s AMT is said to be supplied by Italian autoparts giant Magneti Marelli, a part of the Fiat group.
The Maruti Suzuki Celerio, known as the all new global Suzuki Alto, will be powered by a 1 liter K-Series petrol engine that outputs 67 Bhp-90 Nm. The car is likely to replace the A-Star and the Estilo in the Indian car market. The Celerio will make its debut at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo.
The Celerio/new global Alto was showcased in the form of the Suzuki A-Wind concept at last year’s Bangkok Motor Show. The production version will have minimal changes in terms of exterior design while the interiors could get a more toned-down look.
Teaser images courtesy IndianAutosBlog