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

Automatic Types

Automatic transmissions are gaining popularity in India, especially in the last decade when AMTs were introduced in the market. Even many affordable cars now offer advanced dual-clutch transmission too. But if you’re in the market and looking to buy an automatic car, you might get overwhelmed with the information. In fact, new cars like the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos offer three out of four automatic transmissions explained below. Here is something that will explain the four major automatic transmissions that are available in the market and which one should you buy.

Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

Who should buy? People looking for high fuel efficiency and low maintenance

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

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 a semi-automatic transmission. The AMT is a low-cost transmission which is based on the manual transmission itself with a few additional equipments. These transmissions share most of the hardware with a 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 sports 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.

Continuous Variable Transmissions (CVT)

Who should buy? If you’re looking refinement

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

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 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 rubber band 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 Transmission (DCT)

Who should buy? People who are looking for high-performance automatics

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

Dual Clutch Transmission is one of the most advanced transmissions available in the market. The dual-clutch transmissions have a 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? Reliable and smooth shifts

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

The torque converters are the oldest kind of automatic transmissions that were once widely used in all the vehicles. Such transmission systems use a 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 transmission loss and low fuel efficiency but modern transmissions have done a better job to keep the transmission loss at the minimal. 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 time, they have become quite reliable.