List of below average transmissions on cars sold in India

Tata & Mahindra AMTs are horribly tuned, especially the ones mated to the small engines.

BHPian arsenic recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The definitive, non-exhaustive list of transmissions to avoid when buying your next car!

Here’s a selection of transmissions you’ll want to avoid having in your next purchase. BHPians, feel free to add more, or say if a gearbox featured here doesn’t deserve to be. Let’s make this thread a useful one, so that other BHPians don’t end up buying a car that they regret buying later on all because of the choice of transmission they selected!

Note: Image for representation only. The AT in the Honda City is quite good!

VW Virtus/Taigun and Skoda Slavia/Kushaq 1.5 AT

Type of transmission: Dual-clutch automatic transmission

Manufacturer: BorgWarner and VW Group

Why you won’t like it: Shocking reliability. One simple search for ‘dsg problems’ or a similar term on Team-BHP will return loads of VAG owners unhappy about their transmission. This is especially concerning since if you want the 1.5TSI engine in these cars to be paired with an automatic transmission for convenience, the DQ200 DSG is your only option! Note however, the DQ381 unit in the Kodiaq does seem to be slightly better but only time will tell. If you do want a fun-to-drive AT, nothing really beats VW’s DSGs, but set aside a ‘DSG Fund’ of some sort when buying the car to take care of any future headaches.

Jaguar XE Automatic

Type of transmission: Torque-convertor automatic

Manufacturer: ZF

Why you won’t like it: Quoting from Team-BHP’s XE Facelift review:

Driving normally, sedately, the XE feels peppy, and the transmission is tuned perfectly for this. There are no jerks, and the shifts happen seamlessly, without any confusion from the gearbox. The XE is well suited to city traffic, and the throttle response is good without much perceptible turbo lag, so closing gaps in traffic is an easy affair too. But its when one starts to demand more from the car that it leaves you wondering where all the horsepower has gone. The gearbox calibration is simply not suited for enthusiastic driving. Not one bit. It takes far too long to kick down, and it just seems confused, always in the wrong gear. And this is a pity, because of all the sporty pretensions the XE has. Even going flat out, while its not slow by any means, the 330i will leave it in the dust. And this is with the same gearbox, and similar power and torque figures. Switching the mode to Dynamic doesn’t help much either, but it does weigh up the steering and make the throttle more responsive.

MG Gloster Twin-Turbo 2.0 Diesel Automatic

Type of transmission: Torque-convertor automatic

Manufacturer: ZF

Why you won’t like it: Bad tuning of this gearbox + the turbo lag of this engine makes the Gloster undriveable in city traffic! Quoting from Team-BHP’s official review:

The Gloster feels nothing like a 200 BHP SUV with 480 Nm. It seems to have 2 different personalities in town and on the highway, much like a “good cop – bad cop” thing!

The city driving personality is the “bad cop” version. The Gloster’s engine has nothing low down and the tuning of the gearbox further exacerbates the lack of low-end grunt. If you’re driving at 40 km/h and slow down at an intersection or for a speed breaker to 20 km/h, after which you want to again get going and press the throttle, there is just no power!! And when I say no power, I mean nada / zilch / zero. The SUV simply refuses to pick up speed again. You can floor the A pedal, make yourself a cup of coffee and come back before the engine + gearbox have figured out what you need. Only then does the Gloster surge forward. Overall, it seems to be a combination of bad gearbox tuning as well as turbo lag. What I noticed was that in these situations, the gearbox will most likely be in 3rd or 4th, but will absolutely refuse to shift down to 2nd. That said, if you are at a standstill and accelerate normally, the lag is not frustrating and the car moves up through the gears swiftly and smoothly. It’s only when you slow down and get up to speed again that this behaviour rears its ugly head. In the city this happens often, so it’s not something you can drive around or tolerate easily. I found that small cars were accelerating faster, out of an intersection or after a speed breaker. At the time we had the Gloster for our review, Aditya was reviewing the Thar diesel and we went on a drive together. Each time both cars slowed down for a speed breaker, the Thar would leave the Gloster for dead. The Thar’s reaction to the throttle was instant and it left the Gloster in its dust every single time. I tried all the driving modes and thought it would be better in Sport, but it was always the same.

The 8-speed gearbox is a mixed bag. It is quick to upshift, but very slow on downshifts. That said, the issue is not so much the gearbox itself which feels mechanically capable. It appears that the software and tuning of the gearbox are just not up to the mark. This is the reason the gearbox keeps getting confused and many times does not give the right gear that is needed for a particular speed, especially in town where the speeds are lower and there’s a lot more shifting (due to constant slowing down and accelerating).


A recent video by a vlogger (million+ followers) in Kerala resulted in a PR disaster for MG (and was reported by one of the biggest publications in the state). The car was evidently struggling to climb uphill and later had “gearbox faulty” message popup on the screen. A new car, mind you.

Tata Punch AMT

Type of transmission: Automated manual transmission

Manufacturer: Tata

Why you won’t like it: Quoting from Team-BHP’s official review:

While the Punch MT is still fine for sedate urban commuters (those on a budget and <80 – 90 km/h), we cannot recommend the Punch AMT. Those who have never driven an automatic before will find it more liveable, but the Punch AMT simply cannot be compared to the butter-smooth Nissan Magnite or Renault Kiger CVTs, nor to the Hyundai AMTs, which use electric actuators. We’ll give Tata’s AMT an overall rating of 6/10. It does offer you the convenience of an automatic at an economical price and with decent fuel efficiency. However, the AMT is extremely jerky in heavy traffic conditions. The AMT does end up confused, which definitely won’t be appreciated by enthusiasts. Main advantages of the AMT are cost (to Tata & the customer), fuel economy & that it can strapped onto any MT, making it an easy solution for manufacturers.

Lift your foot off the brake pedal and the car creeps forward at an indicated speed of 10 km/h, although it feels slower than that (more like 6 – 7 km/h). In bumper to bumper traffic, you’ll find the AMT to be jerky for sure. The car moves quickly when you release the brakes & the brake pedal itself is edgy, so when you brake again (in dense traffic), it’s an annoying experience. It’s almost impossible to drive the AMT smoothly in bumper-to-bumper conditions. GTO enabled Eco Mode in heavy traffic just to dull the throttle response a bit and make the AMT experience smoother. You should do that too. The AMT feels better in flowing traffic at moderate speeds. Things are more acceptable in the 30 – 50 km/h commuting range than continuous 0 – 10 km/h. In terms of response times, the AMT will disappoint you if you suddenly punch the accelerator to close a gap. Response time is slow and you’ll be left wanting for more. And yes, that infamous “AMT head nod” is very much there.

On the highway, the AMT is more tolerable. Higher speeds, higher gears & less shifts make the AMT smoother on long distance journeys, but in the city (where you need an AT the most), we didn’t like this AMT at all. Kickdown response times at highway speeds aren’t great, so it’s better to plan your overtakes beforehand. We recommend shifting to manual mode for overtaking on the highway.

Tata seriously needs to develop or borrow a proper automatic for use in the Punch, Altroz, Nexon, Tiago etc. For the Harrier and Safari, they borrowed a gearbox from Hyundai, which worked out really well. They need to do that for their mass market models as well – develop or borrow! These cars deserve a superior AT solution.

Hyundai Creta DCT

Type of transmission: Dual-clutch automatic transmission

Manufacturer: Hyundai

Why you won’t like it: VERY suspect reliability. We have a whole thread on Team-BHP filled with nothing but unhappy Creta buyers – and unhappy they should be! I do have a feeling this DCT mostly has issues in the Creta – our Venue DCT is completely niggle-free for now, thankfully! Link to the Creta DCT issues thread

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

Throwing in my two paise:

  • Almost all the AMTs, except the ones from Hyundai (best tuned) and to an extent Maruti which has been continuously improving them. Tata & Mahindra AMTs are horribly tuned, especially the ones mated to the small engines (Punch AMT was painful to drive in traffic). I would never buy a car with an AMT.
  • Jaguar XE’s ZF, as OP mentioned. My single deal-breaker with that car. It’s otherwise so good looking and has an awesome suspension setup.
  • The erstwhile DCT of the Hector was everything a DCT should not be. Too slow.
  • The DQ200. It can and it will fail. The newer ones will too, just wait for them to age.
  • The MT gearboxes of the old Classic, MM550, Armada etc. You felt like you were driving a tempo, it’s so basic, metal-like and stubborn to operate. And there’s a reason for that = it was actually derived from a tempo’s gearbox!
  • The old CVTs that Nissan was using. They were terribly slow & had huge rubberband effect, unlike the Honda City’s CVT.

Here’s what BHPian HighRevving had to say on the matter:

ZF-8 is a fantastic gearbox. The fact that some manufacturers are not being able to tune it properly, does not make it a bad gearbox.

BMW tune these gearboxes to a T. They mate these to engines from basic 2L diesel to 4.4 TwinTurbo V8 in the M5. While this gearbox doesn’t feel very good with turbo-lagged engines like 2.0d, this gearbox is phenomenal with its shifts in other engines. The gearbox is in the correct gear >95% of the time. In fact, in the G series M cars they have replaced the DCTs with ZF-8 across the range.

There are plenty of comparisons between ZF-8 and DCT (DQ 250, 500, 381 etc) and ZF-8 scores right up there with DCTs. In fact, ZF-8 is simply brilliant in adapting itself – you will see it making fast shifts when the engine is revved hard, providing super responsive shifts with paddles and see it suddenly sober down in stop-and-go traffic with minimal or no jerks.

Regarding DQ381, they have used this in vRS245 and people have been driving them even with Stage 3 tuned setups of 400+bhp with no major reliability concerns. The shifts are also known to be really good.

Here’s what BHPian saikishor had to say on the matter:

One transmission that came to my mind immediately after reading this thread’s title is the AMT gearbox that was sold in the Mahindra TUV300. I read about a bhpian from Hyderabad who sold his car because of the transmission issues and upgraded to a Compass. And quite recently there was a post regarding advice on a used TUV300 AMT.

I don’t know much about this gearbox. All I know is that it was a very horrible gearbox, so much so that Mahindra couldn’t solve the issues and hence discontinued it.

Here’s what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

I’d like to add to the thread with a couple of used car options that folks ought to be wary of:

Kizashi CVT Jatco unit known to have issues but since I am not much of an automatic transmission guy, I am not sure where the issues stem from and whether they also pose a threat in used Teanas

Ford Powershift I think their DCT was infamously recalled in countries with better consumer protection laws. After Ford gave ludicrous promises that their gearbox would be trouble free for 10 years, which probably even prompted folks to be more accepting of twin clutch automatics in new cars from other brands, the failure rate and number of complaints Ford received had them buying cars back, extending warranties and even paying a 10 million aussie dollar fine. It still faces an ongoing fraud inquiry by the US Department of Justice.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

Jeep Meridian, Compass

Type of transmission ZF 9 speed torque converter

Why you won’t like it Bad tuning.

Both Compass and Meridian come with the Fiat 2.0 MJD diesel engine, which is well known to offer strong performance and consistent fuel economy in all its applications. All, but the automatic Jeeps. The way this gearbox is tuned, it simply saps all the power from the engine. You get middle of the road performance, the car can even feel recalcitrant, a far cry from the peppy manual Compass. This is exacerbated by the lack of any sports mode. Additionally, the convenience of the slush box comes with the additional cost of fuel efficiency. Multiple ownership reviews point to automatic Meridians struggling to deliver double digit figures. A far cry from the manual Compass which consistently returns 17-20kmpl in highway conditions.

This same engine when paired with Hyundai’s 6 speed torque converter in the Tata Harrier and Safari offers a far better driving experience and also consumes lesser fuel.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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