Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene

View Poll Results: Your favourite?
Torque-converter 307 36.03%
Dual-clutch (DSG) 401 47.07%
CVT 114 13.38%
AMT 30 3.52%
Voters: 852. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 30th July 2020, 09:30   #166
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

AMT ignis is quite satisfying all our needs as a designated beater car. Excellent mileage too. 17.5 kmpl over 500+ km as per today's MID reading. In fact I've never driven any other auto car other than AMT. For me it's between MT or any other auto box.
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Old 30th July 2020, 09:52   #167
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

I have heard a lot of people saying automatics are not fun to drive/ not engaging - I am sure most of them have never tried out a DSG + brilliant engine combo.

My personal preference has been DSG (with a TSi combo) because that is the only gearbox I can currently afford and is great to drive. Having driven the ZF-Torque converters in BMW & Mustang and Dodge Charger, I felt that TCs were and can be equally good (if not better) - but none of the cars that I can currently afford in India.

But I can say the same for all dual clutches - drove the Ecosport equipped with Dual clutch as well and did not like it as much as 1.2 Tsi + DSG, engine department was not very promising.
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Old 1st October 2020, 23:24   #168
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

"Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?" - That's what the thread title says.
So the focus should be on the convenience and fun to drive factor. Not to debate whether AMT is an automatic or not. For me if the car has only 2 pedals and you don't have to manually change gears, it's an automatic.
Now if you read any thread which mentions an automatic, no matter what automatic you throw at people, they'll find something wrong with it an keep ranting.

AMT: Oh it's not a real automatic, in fact it's not an automatic at all. It's jerky. The "Head Nod" is very prominent.
- My view: OK. So what? I don't have to change gears. The gears change without and manual intervention. That's automatic to me. Head nod is there. So what? It happens when you drive a manual too. It's cheap, it's reliable, no rubber band effect, decent mileage, not explosive but not boring to drive. I've been using it for over 5 years on the Celerio. It's not without problems but it's served me well and I'm happy with it.

DSG: Almost as bashed as the AMT on various threads. It's un-reliable, it's expensive, it will fail. I will stay away from Skoda / VW because of the un-reliable DSG. I'd anyway prefer the super reliable Torque Convertor. Who says it's inferior to DSG. Even Mercedes and BMW use TC.
- My view: OK, there have been failures and they are expensive to repair. Well it is a modern piece of equipment, it's complicated and that's why it's expensive. But is fun to drive. And coming back to the failures, most of the people ranting about it haven't experienced a failure. In fact most don't even drive a DSG. So how did they come to this conclusion? They "heard" that their "Uncle's, Son's, Friends, Fathers, Bosses, Neighbours, Father-In-Law" had a DSG failure. That's why all DSG's are un-reliable.
I don't have much experience on DSG's but the little I have driven was fun. In my opinion the best.

Torque Convertor: It drinks fuel. I would have bought a Polo TSI if only they had offered it with the DSG instead of the TC. oops, lets assume I didn't tell you about what my uncle's son told me about DSG failures.
- My view: I drove the Polo AT. The TC was not bad at all. In fact I was surprised.

CVT: It's reliable, it's simple, it gives good mileage, you can live with the rubber band effect for the sheer convenience of a smooth ride. Repairs are easy.
- My view: Yuck. I've taken a TD of the Honda City and the Baleno with a CVT. The most un-enjoyable experience. I'd anyway take an AMT over this.

Each of these transmissions are designed for different purposes and different people. Pick the one that suits you best and enjoy it.

BTW I voted for DSG just because I support new technology and innovations.
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Old 2nd October 2020, 00:57   #169
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

No voting rights but I'd say a well engineered torque converter every day. It can feel like a DCT or a CVT at different tunes and lasts long. Only issue is when it does fail, it can get expensive to fix. Even the Koenigsegg Regera has one.
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Old 2nd October 2020, 07:41   #170
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

For the premium of about 20k, AMTs slight "head-nod" makes 0 difference to me.

Anyway most city roads are SO pathetic that we're bound to hit potholes regularly, often that itself leaves a jarring shake. Relatively, a slight "head-nod" is meaningless.

Although, from the regular automatics, a well engineered Torque Converter gearbox is a fair option. Spending that extra 1L is well worth the premium. Toyota uses their TC unit from AISIN. I guess so does Mahindra (for the XUV5OO). Tata too sources their TC - ATs from reputed companies. The one in Hexa was from Punch Powerglide and the one in Harrier is from Hyundai. Jeep sources their excellent AT unit from ZF.

DSGs offered by VAG comes only with their cars, and their car servicing ASCs offer what I have come to believe is "The full VAG Experince". It's very much capable of leaving one in tears - & with their pockets empty. Whether they're tears of joy/happiness or sheer terror, you can guess.

CVTs too aren't very bad as often mistaken. They're reliable, assist in achieving good mileage figures, low maintenance, application is preferable to most cars where power transmission is complicated, like say Toyota's Hybrid car models.

Dry clutch DCTs are very smooth and cost fairly less to the OEMs. AFAIK just a little over cost of AMTs. But they need to be developed and engineered better, else the transmission heats up too much while driving in slow moving heavy traffic. It's said to further worsen in tropical climatic conditions as India has.

I completely disagree with this concept of iMT. It works against ones intuition and dangerous.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 2nd October 2020 at 07:43.
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Old 2nd October 2020, 14:26   #171
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Default Re: Which type of Automatic Transmission do you prefer?

I love all these technologies and cannot pick one.

From an engineering stand point each has it's own beauty and are actually improving

DCTs - getting lighter and even more efficient
TCs - getting more responsive and fuel efficient
CVTs - with launch gears and programmed steps are getting more "Feel"
AMTs - making automatics more accessible

And yet all these will be obsolete when the electric revolution arrives.

From a user stand point I would evaluate the powertrain as a whole instead of just the transmission. It's very easy to get biased and say DCTs are the best(as this poll suggests) because they generally come with more powerful engines and are tuned for performance. As others have probably mentioned powerful engines with well mated transmission generally make for a fun to drive car.

Having said that I believe a powertrain which gives flexibility of driving styles (sports, economy etc) and adapts the tuning of the power delivery to user's immediate needs seems like a good solution. Also I would not like an automatic without a manual mode.
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Old 13th October 2020, 08:19   #172
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Default The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

Mods: I apologize in advance if this has been discussed in length, but given that I was recently in the market for a new car and read a lot of misleading information on car transmissions, I thought a discussion on the topic, outside of "Technical Stuff", is worth it for the benefit of fellow forum members. I leave this to your discretion.

As some fellow forum members may have noticed, I have been in the market recently to upgrade my ride, particularly to move from a manual to automatic transmission, because of lifestyle, convenience and health reasons.

I would like to preface this discussion by saying that I am not an automobile engineer, but work in a profession that requires me to talk to a lot of brilliant people, evaluate volumes of unstructured information and arrive at an ROI decision. So, I used this approach to decide the ideal car-transmission combination for me.

I did a lot of research and focused my attention on reviewers with technical training and knowledge. Nothing against the vloggers whose idea of a car being good is whether it wheelspins at 6000 rpm, but that's not my use case, so I ignored them.

At this point, I'd like to call out the absolutely brilliant video summarizing the pros/cons of transmission options available by John Cadogan, who is a mechanical engineer by training. Do give it a watch.

Here are my observations from the research I've conducted on the various options available, from the perspective of a city dweller who drives to work in traffic and indulges in a bit of weekend fun outside the city.

Manual Transmission

+ Cheap to maintain.
+ Driver has full control - gear shifts, revvs etc.
+ Can put a smile on one's face on empty roads.
- Steep learning curve, especially for new drivers.
- Can be extremely tiring to use in traffic.
- Prone to mis-use - riding the clutch, resting hands on gear knob etc.

Automatic - Torque Converter

+ Mature transmission, been in mass use for a couple of decades atleast.
+ Highly reliable even in hot and humid conditions / heavy traffic.
+ No steep learning curve, easy to use.
- Not as performance oriented as the DCT/DSG.
- Not available on budget cars.

Automatic - DCT/DSG

This is Cadogan's favourite, can't miss his section on DCT/DSG in the video. VAG fans, this will cause heartburn

+ Great for performance-oriented cars.
+ In predictable situations (empty roads, light traffic), operates very smoothly; can put a smile on one's face.
- Horrible implementations in non-performance cars by Ford and VAG have bled millions of customers across the world.
- Not really suited for hot and humid climates.
- Struggles in non-predictable situations - stop and start, bumper to bumper traffic, etc.
- Expensive to repair.

Automatic - CVT

Cadogon defends CVT with all his might. He calls out the confirmation bias uninformed reviewers have about CVT and tries to bust some common myths in his video.

+ Provides the most optimal gear ratios for any situation. No fixed transmission ratios.
+ Put engine at optimal revs for power delivery and keep it there for various travel speeds.
+ Highly reliable, atleast for the Honda and Toyota implementations.
+ Can provide solid fuel economy.
- Steep learning curve.
- Disconnect between the common perception of increasing revs and power delivery.
- Rubber-band effect (Cadogan says on good implementations, this is mostly confirmation bias).

Would love to hear your thoughts on the above and other transmission options (iMT, AMT etc)
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Old 13th October 2020, 09:12   #173
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

I'm in the same boat as you are and have been exploring various options in the automatic market - your explanation of all of them is accurate as per my knowledge. I would like to hear your thoughts on the steep learning curve of the CVT. I TD'd the Jazz and by the time I was coming back, I thought I'd gotten the hang of it.

I personally don't like the auto boxes without the option of manually changing gear or at least simulation of gear ratios. It feels too less of a control over the car, coming from driving manuals. The market leader only offers that in AMTs, whereas others seem to have an S mode with paddles or just a tiptronic mode.
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Old 13th October 2020, 09:20   #174
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

I'd take a Torque Converter automatic transmission anyday. These are the most reliable, long lived transmissions of the lot.

I had owned a CVT for 4 years in the US; here's what I noticed - really powerful cars cannot be driven with a CVT. If you have a V6 or V8 engine or 300+ HP, you're bound to have a torque converter automatic. You'll only find CVT in a smaller engine that has a lower HP rating. I really doubt if there is any exception to this observation of mine - I'm open to a critique.

Anyhow, I don't find a problem with CVTs per se. Their fuel efficiency is good indeed. But in the long run, I'd rather live with a less complicated Torque Converter.
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Old 13th October 2020, 10:00   #175
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

Torque converters for me please. Just that, it needs to have 6 gears and come with sports mode or at least a responsive manual override. No dumb 4 speeders that Maruti so loves to peddle
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Old 13th October 2020, 10:46   #176
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

The John Cadogan video is great, as usual, once you get past the colourful language

To me, CVTs are the 'ideal transmission' in two ways:

1) CVTs allow the engine speed to be completely independent of the speed of road wheels, and the engine can spin at a constant RPM, determined by the ECU to be ideal for the level of power you require. So if (using the accelerator pedal) a user demands 60% of max power, the CVT can instantaneously choose and then vary the ratios to *hold* the engine at, say 3850 RPM. No other transmission on the market can do this. I was absolutely aghast to learn that my Honda Civic's CVT has simulated gearshifts, perhaps to pander to automotive reviewers' preferences. The "rubber band effect" is the greatest feature of the CVT, and that got taken away from it due to feedback from reviewers who seem to not want to understand its advantage.

2) CVTs do not have an issue with stop and go traffic the way auto gearboxes with solid clutches have been known to have. I, for one, would constantly worry about AMT, iMT and DCT gearboxes in challenging conditions (example: driving through a traffic jam on steep hilly roads, with a loaded truck in front of my car, or ascending a steep flyover in a traffic jam at 45 degrees Celsius). I know that solid clutches need to be managed with skill in such conditions, but in AMT, iMT and DCT gearboxes, this control is taken away from the driver. I am particularly wary of dry-clutch auto gearboxes like that on the Seltos. After learning of cases where the Seltos' transmission was throwing temperature warnings, Kia brought in a software away with the warning itself . Perhaps wet clutch systems are better, but I was surprised that dry clutch auto-'boxes are still being sold. John Cadogan, in typical fashion, calls Ford DCTs as 'Power**it', instead of PowerShift!

That being said, I suspect that power transmission losses may be higher in CVTs than other transmission types. I have not seen any studies on this, however, and it would be great if someone could post it on the forum.

My preference list amongst the transmission types I have driven:
1) MTs - the transmission for every occasion. User involvement alone makes up for the extra effort required, in my view
2) CVTs *with infinite ratios*. I do wish that CVTs with stepped gear ratios go the way of the dodo, but that is not likely to happen.
3) Planetary gearset ATs - solid, proven tech. But I have experienced fluid coupling slippage on steep climbs
4) DSG / DCT - I don't trust it enough in challenging conditions, based on how the tech works. Perhaps wet-clutch type DCTs would prove worthy in our conditions - time will tell.

But, in the words of forum member 'Architect', enthusiasts buy cars based on gearshift speeds, and regular folk buy cars based on the size of the infotainment screen. And that is how it is likely to remain.

Last edited by vipul_singh : 13th October 2020 at 11:14.
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Old 13th October 2020, 11:48   #177
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

I have driven all the possible iterations and feel Torque Converter is the most balanced of them all.

DSGs are fun and great to drive, but the reliability factor is huge factor as I've seen one cause massive nuisance to the owner.

CVTs I feel are real old school and the rubber band affect literally sucks out any joy out of the drive. Most the Indian iterations are very basic implementations.

AMTs are just a convinience and are ideal for budget cars for their cost and simple A to B transport.

Torque Converters OTOH have had great implementations in India and though not as laser quick as DSG, are enthusiastic enough to give it a go. And the reliability is near bullet proof.
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Old 13th October 2020, 16:51   #178
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Default Re: The Ideal Car Transmission - Facts and Misconceptions

Personally would love to have a TC box in my next car. Something like the new Polo TSI+TC combo. If this combo was available last year it would have been in my garage instead of the Jazz CVT. Loved the 1.5L TC combo on Aspire as well while test driving last year but I just can’t stand looking at those sub4m contraptions called sedans, so wanted the Figo AT. Sadly Ford wasn’t interested in selling it. Never got a timeline even after waiting for 2 months Only demerit with a TC box I feel is Fuel efficiency being lower than manual/cvt/amt counterparts. Example : Grand i10 TC has dismal FE numbers (7-8kmpl in Bangalore).

Having said that for pure in-city use loving the Jazz CVT to bits. Its very easy to get used to if you are new to automatics. I didn’t have any issues switching from the manual. Ultra smooth , super reliable (specially the Honda/Toyota ones) & pretty frugal. I couldn’t have asked for more from a regular use family car. And for those occasional highway trips , one can have some fun with the paddleshifts. Demerit is ofcourse the rubber band effect which you won’t really come across unless you floor the pedal.

AMTs I didn’t enjoy while test driving as the shifts kept making themselves felt everytime(head-nod) & DSG/DCTs still seem to be not really suited to our chockablock traffic. Both Ford and VW tried it and later switched to TC boxes. Hyundai ones are still new. So I would stay away from them for now.

Last edited by SoumenD : 13th October 2020 at 17:18.
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