Renault Scala CVT: First Drive
Just 4 months into the market, Renault has come out with an automatic variant of the petrol Scala. But how does this Scala differentiate itself from its well established competition? ZigWheels shifts into D to find out!
Nice flowing corners with the tacho mostly hovering around the red line, I’m shifting the slick gear box like nobody’s business. I love to drive and I simply cannot fathom how driving can be fun without having to abuse that gear lever. End of the highway meant, fun time was over and the bustling city reigning you in. Just ten minutes into the city and I’m already crawling at 10 km/h with then singing tacho now snoring at near idle revs. 45 min into my congested conundrums and I still haven’t gone anywhere. The slick shifting gear box that I thought I couldn’t live without is the very bane of my problems right now. The only thought in my head right now is how I could get rid of that clutch pedal which is killing my left foot. This is where the prominence of an automatic comes into the picture.
While lovely roads and sweet shifting gearboxes do paint a rosy picture, this traffic jam is pretty much everyone’s reality. With more cars piling on and the space remaining the same, it’s only going to get worse. While cars with automatic transmissions cannot be the solution to this problem, what they can provide is a lot of relief in this situation. Consumers have realized this and as a result India has been seeing an increase in demand for automatic sedans in recent years. However, despite the growing interest for these cars, petrol automatic vehicles are still limited to a 6% share in the premium sedan segment because they deliver lower mileage and higher cost of ownership. Renault however seems to have a solution to this problem with the all new Scala CVT.
CVT over Torque Converters
There a various types of automatics available. The conventional automatic uses a torque converter instead of a clutch to manage the connection between the transmission gearing and the engine. In contrast, a CVT uses a belt or other torque transmission scheme to allow an infinite number of gear ratios instead of a fixed number of gear ratios. CVTs are incredibly efficient in terms of fuel mileage because they keep the engine within its most efficient operating range. A conventional automatic transmission is much less efficient because it uses a fluid coupling called a torque converter in place of a clutch to transfer power from the engine, which is always turning, to the gears.
The Scala’s X-tronic CVT however, combines innovative structure and the flexibility of a CVT transmission to get an edge. The transmission’s use of an auxiliary gearbox enables the world's highest transmission ratio, even broader than 7-speed automatic transmissions, aimed at achieving light weight, compactness, and fuel efficiency. With its flexibility, the transmission aims to avoid the shift-shock fluctuations in torque transmission experienced with conventional automatic transmission while also maintaining optimum torque.
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