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dr_nishu

Renault Scala CVT Automatic: Coming soon

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Renault’s attractive new Scala (basically a Nissan Sunny in new clothes) is currently garnering lots of attention and interest. Powered by a peppy 1.5 petrol and an efficient 1.5 diesel, it slots into a section of the market that has been seeing considerable interest of late. And there’s something even more interesting around the corner - automatic-gearbox-equipped petrol variant coming in the next two to three months.

Also sold as the Nissan Versa in the US market, the automatic Renault Scala will however not use a traditional, and somewhat inefficient, torque-convertor-type automatic gearbox. The Scala instead will come equipped with a belt and pulley equipped Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT.

Now CVTs have always been something of a double-edged sword. Yes, on the one hand they are clearly more efficient than torque-convertor-equipped gearboxes, but on the other, they don’t really drive as well as traditionally-equipped gearboxes. The problem is that CVTs don’t have individual gears, and make do instead with moving belts and pulleys. So when you accelerate, the engine holds onto an ‘optimum’ engine speed, the belts and pulleys vary the gearing and you experience an odd delay in acceleration known as a ‘rubber-band-effect’.

The good news is that the Scala will get further improved Continuously Variable Transmission known as the Xtronic CVT. Using a metallic belt and an additional auxiliary gearbox that uses a planetary gear set to perform the job of a traditional torque convertor, this new gearbox also uses a really wide ‘gearing’ range. The result is less ‘rubber band effect’, reduced friction and even better fuel efficiency (upto 10 percent better).

The Renault Scala CVT will compete with the likes of the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid.

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Good thing to see more and more automatics coming into the Indian market. If the Scala is coming with an AT, the Sunny AT is around the corner too. If only an AT came in the diesel. Considering that it will be atleast 70k more than the manual, I do hope it comes in the mid variant as well and not just the top end.

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If only an AT came in the diesel. Considering that it will be atleast 70k more than the manual, I do hope it comes in the mid variant as well and not just the top end.

Companies seriously need to consider adding an AT to their diesel sedans in the C segment, considering the percentage of diesel vehicles in India is on the rise, thanks to the disparity between petrol and diesel fuel prices.

Like the original ANHC, now also updated in the ANHC 2012, I do hope at least the top 2 variants get the AT box, rather than being limited to the top spec one, like most companies have been doing.

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