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Old 17th November 2019, 01:56   #46
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post

Hence, I believe that the various impressions written here, that AT cars arent great in the hills, can very easily be refuted basis my own practical experiences.
The various suggestions on this forum for avoiding AT cars in hills are because of 2 main reasons:

1. The power and torque figures of the engines and how they are delivered through the AT box. The cars that you mentioned having driven bigger displacement engines than the puny engines that are on offer with an AT in India within the 9 lakh budget.

2. Availability of skilled mechanics to maintain and fix automatic transmissions if something goes wrong. India is still being introduced to AT boxes. Or country is still a primarily MT market.
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Old 17th November 2019, 06:11   #47
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Originally Posted by A M View Post
The various suggestions on this forum for avoiding AT cars in hills are because of 2 main reasons:



1. The power and torque figures of the engines and how they are delivered through the AT box. The cars that you mentioned having driven bigger displacement engines than the puny engines that are on offer with an AT in India within the 9 lakh budget.



2. Availability of skilled mechanics to maintain and fix automatic transmissions if something goes wrong. India is still being introduced to AT boxes. Or country is still a primarily MT market.

1. Older Mini Coopers come with 1.6 litre engines and AT. They perform just as well in the hills and mountain roads as the later model 2 litre engines with AT.

Consider also (ref the point on small capacity engines) that in the manual world, those wheezy little Citroen 2CV's and Fiat 500's and similar cars are very commonly used by local people all over the mountainous regions of Europe. And in our hills and mountains, this kind of work is done uncomplainingly by Maruti Vans and old 800's and Altos. In the old days our wheezy little Premier Fiats sometimes used to be literally reversed up certain very steep inclines because the gear ratio is reverse was actually lower than 'first'.

Some of the newer technologies such as the Ford EcoBoost 1 litre engine or this Hyundai Venue 1 litre turbocharged engine indeed develop pretty healthy torque and decent horse power. Hence I am not at all in agreement that smaller engines dont have the 'juice'.

There is certainly the consideration of 'gearing' and how the gear ratios are set up inside the AT box. So, while these cars may not give you the kind of roaring performance up and down the hills that your standard torquey well-geared manuals may, they will still be pretty adequate for simple normal daily running about.


2. Your second point I concede to some extent, in terms of availability of repair/ service expertise or the lack of it. Saying that, if you restrict yourself to the well distributed and well serviced brands such as Maruti and Hyundai and Toyota and similar, I dont think you should really have a problem with servicing unless of course youre in some snowbound wilderness or perhaps a god forsaken steamy jungle or something, which is absolutely miles from any kind of help.
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Old 7th March 2020, 23:05   #48
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

Though a little late to the party, I hope I haven't reached after the party is over as the last post was a few months old!

I have been on the lookout for a steed that would do routine errands in the city but would be good enough to be able to trot in the upper reaches of Kumaon and Garhwal in Uttarakhand regularly without breaking a sweat and more importantly, without putting my ailing left knee out of action! The OP's query and the fellow BHPians' advices were just what the doctor ordered!

Now empowered with the knowledge gathered from the experience shared by the BHPians, I feel that I can't go wrong with a TC AT or a DCT. I have narrowed down my choice to Ecosport Titanium+AT and Venue SX+DCT, both petrol. While the Ford runs on a 1496 CC 3 cylinder NA petrol engine, a 998 CC 3 cylinder turbocharged petrol does the duty in the Hyundai.

Could you help me choose the right one?

Note for MODs: I am not sure whether it's off-topic as my query strictly does not derive from the OP's question. I could not find a more appropriate thread to seek guidance from and I felt it did not warrant creating a new thread. Please feel free to move it to a relevant place that you deem fit.
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Old 8th March 2020, 01:08   #49
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

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Originally Posted by Subroto View Post
I feel that I can't go wrong with a TC AT or a DCT
I'd chose the Ford Ecosport eyes closed. I still don't have the confidence to buy a car having a DCT transmission after seeing problems faced by owners of VW, Ford, and Kia. If not the same gearbox, safe to assume that the Seltos and the Venue have gearboxes from the same family.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 8th March 2020 at 01:09.
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Old 8th March 2020, 09:47   #50
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

I have a 2008 Santro AT. It has a 1.1L engine and an old school 4 speed Torque convertor AT. The engine develops 63hp & 9.8Nm torque.
Till around 2012 I was extensively using this for long distance highway trips. Most trips were with 2 persons on board with lots of luggage. These trips also included a lot of mountain sections. Some typical sections include the famous Agumbe ghat, climb upto Horanadu in the Kudremukh hills, Tirupati to Tirumalai and the climb from Mangalore to Madekeri. The car mananged all these sections without any issues. The only drawback is that engine braking is not very strong and one eats through the front disk pads quickly.

Since 2015 I have been using a 2007 vintage Grand Vitara with a 2L petrol engine and a 4 speed torque convertor gear box. I have done a lot of off-roading and bad-roading in this car. As well as a lot of long distance tours.
The AT gearbox handles everything one throws at it.

Personally I would recommend the old school torque convertor box. The torque boost at low engine rpm has to be experienced to be believed. Select a car with good low and medium rpm torque spread. And more hp is always preferred.
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Old 8th March 2020, 10:45   #51
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

I've driven a manual (Elantra GLS) and a Honda City CVT to Kodai. They both performed very well. I drove around Kodai also in the Honda City CVT, the Pine Forest, Upper Lake View, etc. had no problem. With the creep function car doesn't roll back as in a manual especially when parked on an incline. It takes the chore of shifting gears allows you to enjoy the scenery. India is slowly but surely shifting to automatic. Probably an AMT and a DSG may roll back on an incline but not a CVT or Torque Converter slush box.
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Old 14th April 2020, 23:58   #52
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

How different will driving uphill on an AMT in the manual mode be from a straight up MT? AMT seems to be the only possibility in my budget.
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Old 15th April 2020, 10:47   #53
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

If you are in the hills don't look beyond an AT with torque converter. Anything with a friction clutch is good only for the plains. Torque multiplication by the converter, and a hydraulic connect which isolate engine from transmission will save engine in case of drive train shock.



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Old 15th April 2020, 15:09   #54
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

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Originally Posted by RoadMonkey View Post
How different will driving uphill on an AMT in the manual mode be from a straight up MT? AMT seems to be the only possibility in my budget.
If the car's AMT doesn't upshift automatically in manual mode, then it is good. Some cars have their AMT tuned such that it upshifts even in manual mode after a certain RPM. That won't be too cool for constant uphill situations some times.

In most Maruti AMT cars, in the manual mode the engine revvs upto the red line without complaining. This would be fine in hilly conditions.
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Old 15th April 2020, 18:47   #55
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

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If the car's AMT doesn't upshift automatically in manual mode, then it is good. Some cars have their AMT tuned such that it upshifts even in manual mode after a certain RPM.
I'm looking at cars from the Tata stable, most likely Tigor - or if this wait gets longer, maybe Nexon. The latter even seems to have hill hold assist. I understand and share the reservations about AMT with people in this thread, but I just don't see a way around it, sadly.

It's rumoured that Tata might bring the DCT to the Nexon as well, but I'd be wary of its reliability.
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Old 15th April 2020, 19:57   #56
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

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Originally Posted by RoadMonkey View Post
I'm looking at cars from the Tata stable, most likely Tigor - or if this wait gets longer, maybe Nexon. The latter even seems to have hill hold assist. I understand and share the reservations about AMT with people in this thread, but I just don't see a way around it, sadly.
It's rumoured that Tata might bring the DCT to the Nexon as well, but I'd be wary of its reliability.
Nexon AMT works quite nice (as long as one remembers it is an AMT and sets expectations accordingly). I haven't heard a single owner complain about it & I know a lot of AMT Nexon owners personally. 2 of my closest friends own Tigor AMTs. Are happy with those too. One of them often does long distance cross country / ghat drives with the car & is happy. The other uses it only in city plains.

However, from what I have heard from them, the Nexon/Tigor AMT upshifts even in manual mode if the RPM climbs above its liking. Do TD it once to confirm its behaviour.

Last edited by Reinhard : 15th April 2020 at 19:58.
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Old 16th April 2020, 16:12   #57
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Default Re: Is an Automatic gearbox a good choice for the hills?

My experience with cars with automatic transmission is limited to only 2 self-owned cars and quite a few rented cars abroad.

I owned a new Nissan Sentra GXE during 1992-94 in USA. The car had a ~110 BHP NA petrol engine and a 4 speed TC automatic transmission. However, in addition to the normal automatic driving modes (D and R), it had two additional modes D1 and D2 (corresponding to power ratios in 1st and 2nd gears, I suppose) for climbing hills. I drove on a lot of hilly areas in that car, including at times very steep climbs, and never had much problem with my wife and son and lots of luggage on board.

Currently, my second car is a Polo GT TSI with DSG auto-transmission. This car is discussed in depth in our forum, so I will not go into any details. However, in addition to adequate supply of power and an excellent automatic transmission, manual modes are also available and are used by every driver in situations. I have not driven this car on hills though, and as everybody knows, Kolkata is as flat as it can get, but it should have absolutely no problem on any hills.

I have no idea on AMT. A CVT equipped Honda City should have no problems, I'd think (a manual Honda City is our other car). A CVT, TC or DSG that is well integrated with a reasonably powerful engine (of course with manual options like I described above) should be fine. Whether such a solution exists within the budget of 9-10 lakhs is another question.

Last edited by asitkde : 16th April 2020 at 16:18. Reason: added a small phrase to a sentence.
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