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Why is the gearbox in our new Hyundai worse than the old one? : Ask the Expert

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Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 09:40:22 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 09:40:22

As The Telegraph’s motoring expert, I weigh in on your car dilemmas to save you money and make your driving life easier Hyundai Dear Alex, I succumbed to a special deal to change my wife’s 2018 Hyundai i10 Premium Automatic for a new version

As The Telegraph’s motoring expert, I weigh in on your car dilemmas to save you money and make your driving life easier

: Hyundai

Dear Alex, 

I succumbed to a special deal to change my wife’s 2018 Hyundai i10 Premium Automatic for a new version. It is much improved – apart from the gearbox, which is very jerky. I understand from the Hyundai dealer that the gearbox is now a new AMT version. Is it something that might improve with time? The dealer said that is the gearbox you get and nothing can be done about it. Is that true?

–DA

Dear DA

Hyundai has indeed changed the automatic gearbox in the latest i10. The old car had a traditional torque-converter automatic with a fluid coupling that effectively does the job of a clutch in a manual car. 

This had become a rare choice in the city car class; most of the i10’s rivals used something called an automated manual transmission (AMT) instead. From inside the car, these look like a standard automatic – there’s no clutch pedal, and the usual “P-R-N-D” gear selector. But inside the gearbox, an AMT uses solenoids and an electronic control unit to operate the clutch and change the gear ratios. 

The reason for their popularity in cars of this size is fairly simple: cost. AMTs are generally cheaper to produce than torque converter gearboxes; since profit margins in city cars are sliver-thin, they have become widely used in this class. 

Because of this, I used to recommend the i10 to anyone looking for a city-car-sized automatic, because it was the only option with a “proper” torque converter auto gearbox and, therefore, much nicer to drive.

Sadly, given how difficult it is to make money in this part of the market – several of the i10’s rivals have now ceased to exist altogether – it’s likely Hyundai has had to make economies.

Unfortunately, the dealer is right – you’re stuck with the gearbox and there’s no mechanical way to make it smoother. 

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