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Old 9th June 2024, 19:04   #1
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Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Carmakers from all over the globe use automatic gearboxes in their vehicles. Some use transmissions from the same supplier, while some donít. What they do not do is standardise the behaviour of the automatic transmissions.

Each gearbox acts differently. This can get annoying as one might be used to a certain kind of behaviour. Automatics are gaining popularity in India and standardising the behaviour is important as it will make it easier for drivers to shift between cars without having to spend any time learning the behaviour of the gearbox.

Here are some examples of different behaviour of automatic transmissions in different cars.

1. We like BMWís implementation of the ZF box the best. When the paddle shifter is used, it shifts to manual mode. You can keep using the paddles to enjoy a manual shifting experience. However, if you do not touch them for a certain period of time, the transmission will move back to full automatic mode on its own Ė very convenient indeed. That said, if the paddles are used in Sport mode, it will stay in manual mode till the driver shifts back to automatic mode.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-bmw.jpg

2. In the new Hyundai Creta, just like the BMW, the automatic transmission can put in manual mode by using the paddle shifters. Its DCT has a Sport mode as well. However, unlike the BMW, the Cretaís gearbox wonít shift back to the fully automatic mode even in the regular D mode if the paddles are not used. It will stick to the manual mode.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-dsc08476.jpg

3. The Toyota Fortunerís gearbox restricts top gear in manual and sport modes. Like in older ATs, the MID in the Toyotas denotes the max gear you are allowed to shift up to. That will be the topmost gear that the car will drive in. You can similarly choose to restrict the AT to 3rd; drive at 4,500 rpm all day long and the box won't upshift.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-toyotainnovacrysta20.jpg

4. The previous-gen Mercedes GLC class had paddle shifters and a sport mode. When you used the paddles, you would briefly engage a manual mode. However, even in the sport mode, the gearbox switched back to full automatic in a very short period of time. The car's sport mode wasn't exactly exciting in the first place and in the manner that the gearbox shifted back to automatic, it made the transmission's behaviour annoying. The car got a dedicated M mode. To engage it, you needed to press a button on the center console. This was the only way you could drive the GLC with manual control of the gearbox.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-pc121697.jpg

5. The old Honda Civic had paddle shifters, but they would not work in the regular D mode. Pulling one of the paddles would have no effect and would leave drivers confused. You had to be in Sport mode to get the paddle shifters to work.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-civic.jpg

6. DSG gearboxes have a tendency to shift up from the first to second cog very quickly. However, they will not shift down till very late compared to a torque converter, which can be annoying.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-dsg.jpg

7. In the Jeep Compass, the first gear is used for rock crawling. On a regular drive, the car will start in the second gear.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-jeep.jpg

8. CVT gearboxes in certain Honda and Toyota cars have a fake jerk when the paddle shifters are used. In a CVT, the drive should be smooth with no jerks felt.
Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands-cvt.jpg

So, will all manufacturers please decide on standard Automatic Transmission behaviour?

Last edited by Aditya : 10th June 2024 at 17:03.
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Old 10th June 2024, 00:03   #2
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re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I have no problem with this.

Any driver will just need to drive 500-1000kms to get used to both gearboxes. My CLA and Creta are both ATs. The CLA has DCT while the Creta has TC. When I bought the Creta, it only took me a few hundred kilometers to understand the difference in behavior between the two, and now I can drive both cars effortlessly.
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Old 10th June 2024, 00:59   #3
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re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Hey Aditya. Thanks for the post. Really interesting.
On the fake jerk in Honda/Toyota CVTs. I think that is there because there are pretty defined 7 steps (aka positions) that can be used with the paddle shifters (at least in honda). So if you shift down using the paddle shifters then you will feel that small jerk and small boost in power.
Also the Honda's mimic the BMW behaviour where in the transmission switches to full auto after using paddles manually after a few secs.
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Old 10th June 2024, 13:31   #4
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Hey Aditya!

Just one correction, in Honda Civic the pedal shift does work in D mode also. It goes back to auto mode after couple of seconds. Had the car for almost a decade. I also have an Ecosport AT and the the downshift from pedals is not as fast as Civic.
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Old 10th June 2024, 13:49   #5
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Nice thread.

Can we also enhance this thread by providing knowledge on right way to drive different AT's?

Would be great if experienced folks talk about the best way to drive in city, bumper -bumper, highway, ghat sections and broken roads.

Thanks in advance
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Old 10th June 2024, 14:08   #6
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

This is a very good point.

However, since this is not a functional safety element like the ABS behavior, there are no norms. Just like how companies define how different engines will behave under different loads and conditions, how different suspension set ups behave, here too, each company will follow the logic that they think is the best for the intended purpose.

Unless someone comes out with a ground breaking change and it becomes a differentiating point in sales, I think the situation is going to remain like this.
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Old 10th June 2024, 14:17   #7
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post

So, will all manufacturers please decide on standard Automatic Transmission behaviour?
Is it necessary? If yes, how much of a difference does it make for the average customer?

I don't think many customers will be driving multiple automatic vehicles from different manufacturers during the same period. Regardless of which automatic vehicle, they are driving earlier, I believe they will adjust to a new one within approximately 100 kms or a few days. I also think that you would drive a new car cautiously regardless of whether it's yours or someone else's, such as friend's or relative's car. Therefore, I don't believe that standardising the behaviour of automatic transmissions will have a significant impact on individual customers.
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Old 10th June 2024, 14:37   #8
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Every chef will have his/her own style of cooking the same dish. Each one of us will write the same alphabet slightly different. Thatís what makes one different from another and creates that unique feeling. As long as the variations are within safe margins and doesnít pose a hazard I wouldnít worry about it. The way the gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes etc are tuned is what gives unique character to a brand in my opinion. I donít think they all should be standardised the exact same way as if they have been xeroxed.
Just my opinion.
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Old 10th June 2024, 18:38   #9
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I think 99% of the people who are driving in automatics put it in D and forget about everything else.
The remaining 1% enthusiasts/ non-enthusiast drivers taking new cars to the hills are usually quick to figure out the differences in each car.

Also I am pretty sure that:

1. Cretas equipped with paddle shifters go back to fully automatic when the paddle shifter activity doesn't happen for about 30-40s seconds in D
2. Erstwhile Civic allowed paddle shifts in D

Instead of "Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands" I think it should be "How to enter manual mode of different AT cars in India".... because this is like saying "Clutch in Ignis is light but in Fortuner is heavy"

Last edited by rayjaycleoful : 10th June 2024 at 18:40.
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Old 11th June 2024, 10:37   #10
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I think having same configuration helps when some one else has to drive your car due to some need e.g., vallet parking or a friend.

After I started driving my S-presso , once I tried manual mode and by mistake I pushed the gear level up when it was running around 28-30kmph. The intention was to put it in third gear but it went to first gear and made a very annoying noise.

If you see manual gearbox, at least gears 1-5 are positioned in same slots in all cars.
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Old 11th June 2024, 13:21   #11
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

Plus 1 to the Honda Civic AT. I had one and have employed the paddle shifters a few times on D mode as well. Ditto for the Honda Jazz. Also, it does go back to the D mode in case it was in D mode to begin with and the paddles have not been used for some time.

Again, echoing the members above, this is not even an irritant much less an annoyance. Of far greater relevance to me are the different slot patterns in cars with some having reverse near 1 and others having it in lieu of 6 (if you get the drift). It's all a question of adapting to it which doesn't take more than a few minutes I guess.
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Old 11th June 2024, 13:44   #12
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I agree it may be annoying but our human mind can quickly grasp the differences as the fundamentals are same in all systems and these small differences donot impact the safety of the driver. We always see the standardisation in areas where it may create confusion leading to accidents ( for example the brake and accelerator pedals in all vehicles are same irrespective of the steering on the left or right ).

This thread reminded me of my consulting days when I used to drive a new rental car every Monday morning in USA for more than a decade. I never had any problems dealing with 52 different types of cars every year. The only problem is how to remember the colour of the car and identify my car in the parking lots when we go out during the working week.

We should thank God that in automotive world at least automotive manufacturers across Europe and America don't do things exactly opposite to each other impacting the safety. Broadly all cars follow the same fundamental rules.

Last edited by Mystic : 11th June 2024 at 14:11.
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Old 11th June 2024, 14:07   #13
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I feel, all consumers get used to the AT behaviour pretty quick ( less than 1000 kms of ownership ) and general population might have max 2 AT cars in their garage and this problem doesn't exist for vast majority.

IMO, manufacturers can use this as their USP rather than standardise. There will be more innovation that way.
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Old 11th June 2024, 14:15   #14
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

How can something like a WagonR AMT and a Lamborghini Urus be expected to have standardised AT behaviour? This is absurd. The smoothness, how aggressive the shifts are, whether the AT auto up shifts at redline, the desirability of these traits are highly dependent on the application of an AT gearbox.
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Old 11th June 2024, 16:36   #15
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Re: Annoyed at the different AT gearbox behaviour of different car brands

I haven't driven any of the fancy ZF boxes. My sole experience with an AT car is the Ecosport 1.5 petrol.
However, I do not understand how these features/USPs are a problem.
At most, they maybe a slight inconvenience for a short while.

Isn't it similar for MT cars? People get used to rubbery shifts, long travel pedals etc within 500-700 km.

Also, all GBs are tuned/designed for the general segment they're operating in, isn't it?

Last edited by Divya Sharan : 11th June 2024 at 16:38.
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