Which is best? Automatic gearbox, CVT, DSG or automated manual
Some time ago, drivers purely had the option between a manual or automatic gearbox. Now there are a variety of different self-shifting gearboxes available on the market.
Here we look at the difference between the four main types of automatic gearbox.
Advantages: Although not as seamless as a DSG, you still get a more smoother change than an automated manual.
Disadvantages: A disadvantage of the automatic gearbox is that that they are a lot more thirsty on the fuel compared to the DSG.
Continuously Variable Transmission
Also known as: CVT.
A CVT is a smooth changing transmission working on a pulley system which enables the transmission to find the best ratio with your throttle response, making the car better on fuel.
Advantages: When driving up hills, where traditional automatics can struggle, a CVT can seamlessly provide power without shifting.
Disadvantages: Acceleration can be noisy because the sound of the engine stays at a constant pitch which caused by the steel belt working on the pulley system, rather like a car with a slipping clutch.
An automated manual is a manual gearbox but instead of the driver operating the clutch the brain of the car does this for you. So all the driver needs to do is accelerate or brake.
Advantages: The automated manual gearbox is very easy to drive.
Disadvantages: Service life appears to be less than a conventional automatic transmission.
Also known as: Dual clutch, twin clutch, dual shaft, DSG
The direct shift gearbox is effectively two gearboxes with two clutches: one for odd numbered gears; one for even numbers. These are packaged as one (above). When you select first gear as you accelerate, the ‘second’ gearbox primes second. Then when its electronic brain says it’s time to change gear, rather than moving up a cog in the traditional way, it simply swaps input shafts. If you’re still accelerating, ‘gearbox one’ then gets third gear ready for the change up.
Advantages: As swapping shafts is quicker than engaging and disengaging clutches and changing cogs, you get almost seamless gear changes. Most direct shift systems can change gear quicker than a human with a clutch. Gearboxes like this are also more efficient than a regular automatic.
Disadvantages: Low speed maneuvering in first gear can be slightly jerky in some cars. It’s also quite a new system and on some cars they’ve proved unreliable in older models.
If you want the car to do the gear changing for you, you have many options to chose from. The 2 best options are the DSG with its quick gear shifts and the traditional auto box which is very reliable compared to the semi automatic gearbox and the CVT transmission.