Customer preference for automatic cars has been growing steadily as traffic congestion and chaos on our roads worsen. Almost every car on sale in India, even at the budget end, is offered with at least one automatic gearbox option. So if you are in the market for an entry-level automatic car to ease your daily commute, here is our compiled list.
The Kwid is offered with two petrol engines – a 54hp, 0.8-litre engine and a 68hp, 1.0-litre engine – and it’s the larger 1.0-litre that comes with a 5-speed AMT gearbox. While performance isn’t the strongest forte of the Kwid, it is extremely frugal with an ARAI-claimed fuel efficiency of 22.0 kpl. The Kwid is very likeable for its practical nature in the city and is decently equipped too. Priced between Rs 4.93 lakh – 5.51 lakh, the entry-spec Kwid RXL is the most affordable automatic car in the country.
At Rs 4.95 lakh, the Datsun Redigo is slightly more expensive than the Kwid RXL and comes with an AMT gearbox only on its top-spec T(O) trim. The Redigo is also offered with two engine options – a 54hp, 0.8-litre and a 68hp, 1.0-litre – with only the larger one being offered with an AMT. As is true for most AMTs, the gearbox is smooth at part throttle inputs, but is slow and jerky when you need a quick build of speed.
Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
Sitting at the budget end of the spectrum, the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso AMT is arguably one of the best affordable automatics you can buy. The 5-speed AMT gearbox is surprisingly smooth, timely and responds to throttle inputs quite well. Even in manual mode, the gearshifts are quick and borderline fun. It goes well with the peppy 68hp, 1.0-litre petrol engine and even returns an impressive ARAI-claimed fuel economy of 21.7 kpl. Prices for the AMT variants of the S-Presso range between Rs 4.97 lakh – 5.13 lakh.
Hyundai’s first-ever attempt at an AMT gearbox was with the Santro and it is one of the most sorted AMT’s you will find in an affordable hatchback. It is smooth, quick to respond and also comes with a tiptronic mode to shift gears manually. It complements the peppy, 69hp, 1.1-litre engine quite well and even returns an ARAI-claimed fuel economy of 20.3kpl. Offered on all but the base trim, prices for the Santro AMT range between Rs 5.72 lakh – 6.44 lakh.
Maruti Suzuki WagonR
Arguably one of India’s most popular hatchbacks, the WagonR is offered with two petrol engines – the 1.0-litre K12B engine and the 1.2-litre K12M engine – both of which are offered with a 5-speed AMT gearbox. The AMT gearbox is decently smooth and responsive and is also extremely frugal with both the engines – 21.79 kpl for the 1.0-litre and 20.52 kpl for the 1.2-litre, ARAI-claimed. Prices for the 1.0-litre AMT variant range between Rs 5.75 lakh – 5.82 lakh, while the 1.2-litre AMT versions are priced between Rs 6.11 lakh – 6.45 lakh.
The Tata Tiago is offered with a sole 86hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine that can be had with a 5-speed AMT gearbox. Offered on all but the base trim, prices for the Tiago AMT range between Rs 6.25 lakh – 7.05 lakh and is even available with dual-tone colour options on the top-spec trim. Given the inherent strengths of the Tiago – safety, stylish design and decent equipment – the Tiago AMT stands out for being big on value. While the AMT gearbox works fine for most part, the shifts can be jerky and untimely at times.
The Datsun Go is not the first choice on anyone’s shopping list. But what is unique about the Go is that it offers a CVT automatic gearbox at a price where other carmakers only offer AMTs. The Go is the most affordable car in India with a CVT gearbox, offering a much smoother experience than the AMTs. The 68hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine on the Go is peppy, although refinement is average. The Go notably scores well on safety with features like traction control, electronic stability control and much more. The Go is offered with the CVT gearbox only on the top-spec T and T(O) trims, and is priced between Rs 6.31 – 6.51 lakh.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis is powered by the brand’s 83hp, 1.2-litre K12M engine and comes mated to a 5-speed AMT automatic. In typical Maruti fashion, the K12M engine is extremely frugal and delivers an ARAI-claimed fuel efficiency of 20.89 kpl, making it one of the most efficient AMTs around. The Ignis AMT is priced between Rs 6.31 lakh – 7.47 lakh and is available in three trims – Delta, Zeta and Alpha. The Ignis is also quite peppy in performance and offers decent features on board.
The Renault Triber is already all about its versatility and practicality and the option of an AMT gearbox just adds to the convenience of this very lovable MPV. The Triber is offered with a 5-speed AMT gearbox with its 72hp, 1.0-litre petrol engine, although it must be said that the gearbox is slow to respond when you’re in a hurry. Prices for the Triber AMT range between Rs 6.63 lakh – 7.95 lakh, and is offered on all but the base variant.
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
The Grand i10 Nios is one of the most likeable and well-rounded packages in its class and the fact that Hyundai offers an AMT gearbox with both the 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol and 75hp, 1.2-litre diesel makes for an extremely good value proposition. In fact, the Grand i10 Nios is one of the most affordable diesel-automatics currently on sale in India. Prices for the Nios AMT range between Rs 6.67 lakh – 8.35 lakh. While the petrol-AMT is available in three trims (Magna, Sportz and Asta), the diesel is only available in the mid-spec Sportz trim.
The Go+ is essentially a seven-seater version of the Go hatchback and is offered with the same 68hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic gearbox. The CVT variants are priced between Rs 6.79 lakh – 6.99 lakh on the top-spec T and T(O) trims. While it is still a bonus at this price point, the third-row seats are really cramped, build quality is not great, just like the Go, and equipment levels are also sparse. However – just like the Go – the Go+ also scores well on safety with features like traction control and electronic stability control.
Just like its hatchback sibling, the Tigor is also offered with a sole 86hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 5-speed AMT gearbox. Similar to the Tiago, the AMT gearbox on the Tigor is not the best and is jerky at slow speeds. But it gets the job done. What is really convincing about the Tigor AMT is its price that ranges between Rs 6.80 lakh – 7.82 lakh, making it more affordable than the AMT variants of its rivals – Hyundai Aura and Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
The newly launched Tata Punch just about makes it into this list, as its most affordable automatic gearbox equipped variant is priced at Rs 6.99 lakh. The fully kitted Creative (O) trim on the other hand comes in at Rs 9.39 lakh. Under the hood of the micro-SUV is the same 86hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine as the Tiago and Tigor and the automatic gearbox on offer is a 5-speed AMT unit. While automatic engine start/stop is available on both the manual and automatic version of the Punch, traction modes are exclusive on the latter. The AMT-equipped version has a claimed ARAI fuel economy of 18.82kpl.
Bonus: While these are the most affordable automatic cars currently on sale in the country, there is another that is set to enter the market soon – the upcoming new-gen Maruti Suzuki Celerio. The all-new Celerio is expected to launch this November and will come powered by Maruti’s K10C petrol engine with DualJet technology, which will likely make it one of the most fuel-efficient hatchbacks in its segment. The engine will come mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or an AMT automatic. This too is expected to be priced quite competitively, without straying too far from the outgoing version of the car.