CVT vs AMT gearbox

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New Delhi | Updated: July 16, 2018 1:18:33 AM

The CVT gearbox is expensive; in the case of the Elite i20, you have to pay Rs 1.05 lakh extra over a manual. The AMT gearbox doesn’t cost much, in the Vitara Brezza, you have to pay Rs 50,000 extra over a manual.

A continuously variable transmission (CVT), also called single-speed or pulley transmission.

The Elite i20 is one of Hyundai’s most successful cars. Since it was launched in 2014, the car has consistently recorded monthly sales of about 10,000 units. Its direct competitors are Maruti Suzuki Swift and Baleno. The all-new Elite i20 was launched at Auto Expo 2018, and now the company has given it the CVT gearbox as an option.

What is a CVT?
A continuously variable transmission (CVT), also called single-speed or pulley transmission, is an automatic transmission that can change gears seamlessly through a continuous range of effective gear ratios. The result is that, to the driver, there is absolutely no ‘feel’ of the engine shifting gears.

Which engine is it mated to?
In the Elite i20, it’s available only with the petrol engine, and in two trims—Magna Executive and Asta. One of the reasons is that the CVT gearbox is expensive, so mating it to an already expensive diesel engine will take the sticker price of the car too high.

How does the lever look?
The gear-lever has four slots: ‘P’ for parking, ‘R’ for reverse, ‘N’ for neutral and ‘D’ for drive. The engine will start only if the gear-lever is in the ‘N’ or ‘P’ modes, and the brake pedal is pressed. You can also shift the CVT to manual mode—by pushing the lever to either ‘+’ or ‘-’ modes.

How does it perform?

The 1.2-litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol engine, producing 82bhp of power and 115Nm of torque, has a linear power delivery. At any engine speed if you floor the accelerator pedal, the CVT gearbox helps the car accelerate quite nicely. There is absolutely no shift jerk and the drive is as smooth as it can get. NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels are low, and all you hear in the cabin is the tyre noise.
How much does it cost?
The Magna Executive CVT is priced Rs 7.05 lakh, which is Rs 1.05 lakh more than the manual Magna Executive (Rs 6 lakh). While the CVT is an ideal choice for a hassle-free driving, you do have to pay a substantial amount. The drive experience, as they say, is priceless.

The Vitara Brezza is Maruti Suzuki’s first compact SUV and one of its blockbuster vehicles. It has sold about 3 lakh units since launch two years ago. Its average monthly sales are over 12,300 units, and the top variants (Z and Z+) contribute to 56% of total sales. Recently, the company gave it the AMT gearbox option.

What is an AMT?
An AMT, or Automated Manual Transmission, uses a manual gearbox and a clutch (there is no clutch pedal, though), but acts like an automatic, changing gears for the driver with the help of a dedicated ECU and actuators. Unlike automatic transmission, an AMT doesn’t have a torque converter. Maruti Suzuki has branded its AMT as AGS, or Auto Gear Shift.

Which engine is it mated to?
The Vitara Brezza is available only with a diesel engine—the 1.3-litre DDiS 200. The AGS is mated to this engine.

How does the lever look?
It looks almost like an automatic transmission unit. It has three slots: ‘R’ for reverse, ‘N’ for neutral and ‘D’ for drive. There is one slot marked ‘M’
for manual. It doesn’t have the ‘P’ slot—for parking.

How does it perform?
The engine will start only if the lever is in the ‘N’ mode. Once it starts—it’s a noisy engine—you have to shift to the ‘D’ mode and release the brake. The car will start moving, but slowly, which is very effective in urban stop-and-go traffic. If you want to change gears yourself, you first shift to ‘M’ and then shift gears by pushing the lever to either ‘+’ or ‘-’.

The AGS takes about half a second to change gears. But the lag is not ‘that’ apparent. The reason is the engine, which generates a peak torque of 200Nm, is powerful enough to nullify the gear-shift lag, or the feel of it. Also, because it doesn’t have the ‘P’ slot, you have to engage parking brake when you come to a complete stop.

How much does it cost?
The AGS is available in four variants: VDi, ZDi, ZDi+ and ZDi+ Dual Tone. The starting price of the AGS variants is
Rs  8.54 lakh—Rs 50,000 more than manual. While it’s relatively affordable, the drive is not as smooth as that of the CVT.

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