Snapshot – As its name suggests, the automated manual transmission (AMT) deals with automating the gearshifting process while retaining the manual gearbox. The automatic gearshifting is done by combining sensors, actuators and an ECU, which together serve to form an add-on part to the manual gearbox. So there, you have the fuel efficiency of a manual gearbox with the convenience of an automatic. For a technology that was honed at the racetracks of the world – yes, semi-automatic gearboxes are standard fixtures in Formula1 – life has come a full circle. India’s budget car segment hosts a range of automobiles that now offer the convenience of an automatic at sharp price points, riding on the AMT wave. Here are five such options for the budget car buyer.
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
The facelifted Alto K10 from Maruti Suzuki is India’s least priced car that features an automated manual transmission. Priced at 3.95 lakh rupees, the Alto K10 offers an AMT unit that it shares with its sibling, the Celerio. Propulsion is handled by means of a 1 liter petrol motor good for 67 Bhp-90 Nm. This revvy petrol engine coupled to the AMT makes for hassle free motoring in the city, bumper to bumper traffic notwithstanding. The fuel efficiency oriented semi-automatic transmission technology means that the AMT variant of the Alto K10 manages to deliver an ARAI certified 24.07 Kmpl mileage figure, definitely impressive by any standard.
Maruti Suzuki Celerio
The Celerio kickstarted the AMT trend in India, and the car has been a roaring success, inspiring its maker Maruti Suzuki to launch more such cars. The Celerio AMT shares its 1 liter-3 cylinder K-Series petrol motor (67 Bhp-90 Nm) with the Alto K10 and also its Magneti Marelli sourced automated manual transmission. In automated manual transmission trim, the Celerio delivers an impressive fuel efficiency figure of 23.1 Kmpl, which is just as good as what the manual transmission equipped variants offer. The Celerio AMT starts at 4.4 lakh rupees, and a safety kit equipped ZXi Automatic variant will soon be launched.
Tata Nano Active Twist
Tata Motors has already kickstarted promotional activities around the ‘GenX’ Nano, marketing speak for the facelifted hatchback, whose new variants will pack in a bunch of new features, prominent among which will be the F-TRONIC AMT option. Dubbed the Active Twist, the AMT equipped Nano will also feature a larger, 24 liter fuel tank. The 4 speed gearbox has been automated but the fuel efficiency rating is lower, going against the norm. The Nano AMT will manage 21.9 Kmpl, as against the 25.4 Kmpl ARAI certified number delivered by the manual gearbox equipped variants. The 624cc, twin cylinder petrol motor will continue to deliver 37 Bhp-51 Nm. An open-able hatchlid is another prominent feature addition on the facelifted car, which will also gain revamped interiors, restyled bumpers, and other styling bits. A sub-3 lakh rupee price tag is on the cards for this car.
Maruti Suzuki WagonR StingRay
The slow selling StingRay version of the WagonR hatchback will soon get a sting in its tail so to speak, as Maruti Suzuki is prepping up an AMT variant of this car. The StingRay, which uses the 1 liter K-Series petrol engine, will share the AMT unit with the likes of the Alto K10 and the Celerio. The car will sit above the Celerio in terms of price and positioning. By offering a raft of AMT equipped cars at multiple price points, Maruti Suzuki seeks to cater to every budget. The StingRay AMT will be a step in this direction, with a launch to happen later this year.
Mahindra S101 Micro SUV
Mahindra will kickstart its foray into the semi-automatic transmision fold with the Quanto AMT, which will feature a facelifted version of the compact SUV. However, the more affordable AMT deal from the Indian utility vehicle maker will come later, in the form of the S101 code-named Micro SUV, which will also offer such a transmission option. The S101 Micro SUV will be the first Mahindra vehicle to be offered with 1.2 liter-3 cylinder petrol and turbo diesel engines, making it a unique proposition for buyers seeking the presence and ground clearance of an SUV with the compact dimensions and affordability of a hatchback. The S101 will be in the market during the second half of this year.