The driver’s guide to the different vehicle transmission modes in Singapore

Understanding Your Vehicle: The driver’s guide to the different vehicle transmission modes in Singapore


Other than the two common vehicle transmissions (conventional manual and automatic transmission) mentioned in the previous article, there’re other transmissions and new technologies which are integrated from the conventional manual and the automatic transmission.


Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT)


Known as shiftless transmission, the continuous variable transmission (CVT) is also as an automatic transmission. The key difference between the CVT and the conventional automatic transmission is that it has no gears at all. Unlike the conventional auto transmission that uses a set of fixed gears, the CVT is driven by two pulleys (one to the engine and one to the wheels) and connected by a belt. With a simple design, the belt and pulleys system get maximum power out of a small engine for quicker and more responsive acceleration.

  • What are the advantages of CVT?


CVT are known for its power efficiency and good fuel consumption, providing seamless acceleration without any interruption for gear shifts.


  • What are the disadvantages of CVT?


Although the CVT is popular for its fuel efficiency and smoothness, car enthusiasts are claiming than its less fun to drive in CVT and their lousy gearbox are made for leisure driving only. Not only the gearbox is expensive to repair and replace, the transmission is more prone to technical issues like overheating, slipping, jerking and a sudden loss of power on acceleration.  Some drivers might even find CVT vehicle noisy as the transmission gives off a whining noise when engine is forced to run at high rpm (revolutions per minute) as the vehicle gets up to speed.


Do you know that the first CVT car, DAF600 was created by a Dutch automaker DAF in 1959? (Short form for Van Doorne Aanhangwagen Farbriek, or Van Doorne’s Trailer Factory). And because CVT is lighter in weight, they are used in passenger cars (especially in hybrid powered vehicles), scooters, motorcycles and utility vehicles. For passenger cars, Nissan was the first automaker who begin exploring the possibility of developing CVT vehicles back in 2002, gradually switching away from conventional automatic transmission. Apart from Nissan, Japanese automakers like Subaru, Mitsubishi, Honda and Toyota are including CVT in their vehicles. In the latest CVT technology, Toyota has developed and is adding a first gear (called ‘Launch Gear’) to improve efficiency at low speed to provide a smoother acceleration from a full stop.


Looking for car leasing of such transmission in Singapore? Some of the examples of such vehicles are Nissan Sunny, Nissan Teana, Nissan Altima, Qashqai, Subaru Forester, Audi A4/A6 & A8, Toyota Sienta, Toyota Allion, Toyota Ractis and more.

Semi-Automatic Transmission


Image Source: Quora


Combining the conventional manual and the automatic transmission function, the semi- automatic transmission provides the driver an option to switch out of automatic mode with manual upshift/downshift or paddles shifters mounted behind the steering wheels. In this transmission, clutch and gear shifts are manage by electronic sensors and actuators. For drivers who enjoy driving manual transmission without the presence of a clutch, you may want to consider switching to this transmission.  There’re various names for this transmission: Clutchless manual transmission, automated manual transmission, Manumatic, Tiptronic, Trigger shift, Flappy-paddle gear shift, Touchshift, Geartronic, Sportronic or Paddle-shift gearbox.


(Actuators) Image Source: axleaddict


Another name or term for the semi-automatic transmission is call the ‘Tiptronic’ transmission. A registered trademark by Porsche, the Tiptronic transmission was originally created by Porsche in the early 90s. The technology is license for usage to other car manufacturers like Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. Next, let us take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the transmission.


  • What are the advantages of the Tiptronic/Semi-Automatic Transmission?


As compared to the conventional automatic transmission, drivers will have smoother driving experience during gear shifts and more control over the vehicles in this transmission. The system has built-in safety features to switch over to automatic control if the driver overlook and exceed the maximum redline.  Not only its fuel efficient, the transmission also offers different driving options and experience for beginner and veteran drivers.


  • What are the disadvantages of the Tiptronic/Semi-Automatic Transmission?


Automated electronics are expensive to repair and replacement. Similarly, it cost slightly higher to service the parts.


Looking for car rental of such transmission in Singapore? Some brands offering such transmissions are Ford, Honda, Opel, Ferrari, BMW, Chevrolet, Citroën & Peugeot, Mercedes Benz and Volvo.


Dual-Clutch Transmission


The DCT is another automatic transmission with dual clutches, one for even-numbered and another for odd-numbered gear. The first DCT was invented in 1935 by French engineer Adolphe Kégresse. Christened Autoserve, first installed in a Citroën Traction Avant in 1939. Just like the semi-automatic transmission, there’re other terms by various automakers in the automotive industry.


  • Direct shift gearbox (DSG): Volkswagen
  • S-Tronic: Audi
  • Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK): Porsche
  • Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST): Mitsubishi
  • Power Shift Transmission: Ford


  • What are the advantages of DCT?


DCT is known for its fuel efficiency, smoothness, no jerkiness, fast gear change/shift, no loss of torque transmission and it’s lighter than conventional automatic transmission.


  • What are the disadvantages of DCT?


Repairing and replacement of modern dual-clutch automatics can cost up till or more than $10K easily. For automakers, it cost more to manufacture and it’s heavier in weight.


Some of the examples of such vehicles are Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Tucson and more.


Intending to rent and try any of the vehicles with the transmissions above? At ETHOZ, we provide long term and short term car leasing of passenger cars in Singapore. Our expertise in fleet management provides businesses dedicated support to relieve operational challenges, monitor administrative costs, ensuring performance efficiency while eliminating the need for high cash outlay involved in vehicle ownership. Having any queries with regards to car leasing? Contact us now!

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