Ever since the arrival of the Maruti Jimny, the natural question a lot of people have is whether to go for it or choose Mahindra Thar.
Maruti Jimny has been launched in India to rival the Mahindra Thar and both have options of manual and automatic transmission. Jimny is a lightweight off-roading SUV that has made a name for itself in various international markets for decades now. However, they were all 3-door versions. The 5-door avatar has been introduced with the Jimny for the very first time ever specifically for the Indian customers who prefer practicality over form. The initial response looks promising as Maruti has received over 30,000 bookings even prior to the price reveal. On the other hand, Mahindra Thar has been the go-to product in the market for years now when considering a hardcore lifestyle off-roader. Let us compare the automatic transmissions of both these SUVs.
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Maruti Jimny 4-speed Automatic Transmission
Maruti Jimny is offered with a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that makes 103 hp and 134 Nm of peak power and torque. There are options of choosing between a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The latter is a torque converter unit that offers smooth operation. There are some distinct characteristics of a 4-speed automatic transmission even though most modern cars don’t come with this gearbox. Instead, we see a 6-speed torque converter or 7-speed DCT automatic transmission.
Durability and Simple Construction
A 4-speed automatic transmission has just 4 gears which is a good thing from the durability and construction standpoint since less number of components are used. This design is easy to manufacture and operate because of its simple construction.
The simple components allow easy maintenance and low costs and are less expensive to purchase. That is the main reason why the 4-speed automatic gearboxes are used in budget cars to keep the prices in check. In fact, this gearbox used to be a popular choice for cars from decades ago.
Being a torque converter, there is the torque multiplication factor which lends great low-end torque. In an SUV like the Jimny, it is extremely important to possess a low-end grunt to pull the car away from the treacherous terrains that its owners will often find themselves in.
Size & Weight
Because this setup has just 4 gears, the entire assembly is lightweight and compact. This makes it perfect to fit in a smaller area enhancing the packaging qualities of the gearbox. Again, this is more prevalent in a compact SUV like the Jimny due to its size. Also, weight-reduction results in a high power-to-weight ratio.
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Mahindra Thar 6-speed Automatic Transmission
Mahindra Thar comes powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and a 2.2-litre turbo diesel mill that generates 150 hp / 320 Nm and 130 hp / 320 Nm of peak power and torque respectively. These engines come mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Thar is also a hardcore off-roading SUV and having the convenience of an automatic transmission can be handy after a tiring day off the tarmac. Here are the main characteristics of a 6-speed AT.
With the 6-speed automatic transmission, there is a larger band that is covered in terms of the engine’s performance. It is easier to tune and calibrate the engine in such a way that one gets the maximum output from the engine irrespective of the RPM band the car is in.
Again, more gears allow the engineers to tune the transmission in such a way that the engine operates at a fuel-efficient RPM for maximum time. This means that one could expect decent mileage from the engine regardless of whether one drives it on the highway or in the city.
The car is able to find a suitable gear and there won’t be too many gearshifts compared to the scenario where a car has just 4 gears. In the latter case, the engine will struggle to keep up with the changing traffic conditions and frequent gearshifts could cause a jerky motion making the passengers uncomfortable.
A 6-speed unit will be more expensive to maintain and repair. This is because it has more moving parts and is larger in comparison to the 4-speed unit. Also, the initial cost will be higher than a car with a 4-speed transmission. Hence, this could be an issue for the car owners.
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In terms of off-roading capabilities, the transmission might not be the most important aspect. It is actually the availability of hardcore off-roading hardware like a dedicated 4×4 drivetrain, low-range transfer case, locking differential, etc. Nonetheless, cars with a 6-speed automatic transmission offer better control over power. It is also quite common for cars to tow other cars stuck during adventurous excursions. In that case, the 6-speed transmission can be useful to make things easier. Having said that, the 4-speed transmission can also do all these things while being lightweight and compact.