CVT vs DSG – Which One Is Better, And Why?

August 2018 Tech Comparison CVT DSG Honda Amaze Volkswagen Ameo
CVT vs DSG – Which One Is Better, And Why?

INTRODUCTION

The launch of Honda’s second generation Amaze in India had a significant first in the Indian automotive market. Apart from the run-of-the mill features and segment specific functionalities, Honda took a bold step and introduced its diesel-powered Amaze with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). While this put the Amaze in an uncharted territory, the compact sedan soon emerged as the highest selling model in Honda’s stable.

In the same segment, there is another product that comes with a diesel engine mated to a blue-blooded automatic transmission. We’re talking about the Volkswagen Ameo which comes with the famed DSG transmission. At Auto Tech Review, we brought both these compact sedans together for a strictly technical comparison.

ENGINE & PERFORMANCE

The new CVT in the Honda Amaze has been mated to the 1.5 l, four cylinder, i-DTEC diesel engine. This engine, when mated to the manual transmission, is capable of producing approximately 98.63 hp at 3,600 rpm, but to achieve optimal tuning with the CVT, the i-DTEC engine produces 78.90 hp at 3,600 rpm. In contrast, the Volkswagen Ameo with the 1.5 l, four cylinder, CRDi engine produces a whopping 108.49 hp at 4,000 rpm. The torque figures of the Amaze CVT option stand at 160 Nm at 1,750 rpm, while that of the Ameo are higher at 250 Nm from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm.

Despite having the same cubic capacity, both motors are tuned quite differently. The Ameo with the DSG is more oriented towards performance, while the Amaze CVT option offers a more refined drive experience. In an apple-to-apple comparison, the Ameo is quicker in a 200 m dash by 1.09 s. The 0-100 km/h times of both compact sedans also indicate the Ameo to be quicker by 2.47 s. Both sedans come with a front disc and rear drum brake set-up. However, while bringing both vehicles down to a halt from 100 km/h, we found that the Amaze was 0.54 s slower to stop than the Ameo. The Amaze completed its 1/8th mile run – approximately 200 m – at a speed of 97.99 km/h, while the Ameo recorded its best time at 102.00 km/h.

Both sedans perform reasonably well but the Amaze with the CVT exudes a smoother feel and despite having nearly 30 hp less than the Ameo, its performance figures are not so far behind. It must be noted that the Amaze is 145 kgs lighter than the Ameo. Taking a look at the acceleration and braking curves, we can note that the gear shifts on the CVT are smoother compared to the DSG Unit.

The Ameo is quicker than the Amaze, but the latter has a smoother acceleration and deceleration curve

AIR-CONDITIONING PERFORMANCE

Both Honda and Volkswagen are offering automatic climate control on their respective contenders. While the function is definitely handy and makes sense for Indian users, we also evaluated the performance of the air-conditioning units on both sedans in real world conditions. Both vehicles were under the sun for 20 min and had relatively the same in-cabin temperature in four zones of the cabin. The readings were taken at 3 pm IST. Temperature readings were taken using an HTC Instruments MT-04 laser guided infrared thermometer with an accuracy of ± 2 % of readings.

The average temperature inside the Amaze at zero min was 43.97 °C, while that of the Ameo was 44.15 °C. It is interesting to note that there was a sharp drop in temperature in the cabin of the Amaze, with temperature readings falling to an average of 32.95 °C in front seats and 38.4 °C in the back seats within two minutes. In the Ameo, the reading stood at 36.25 °C for the front and 34.55 °C in the back seats. The difference of nearly 3 °C in the back seats is also because the Ameo gets rear AC vents.

Over a span of 10 min, we noted that the average temperature in the front seats of the Amaze stood at 26.25 °C, while that of the Ameo stood at 28.75 °C. The average temperature in the rear seats of the Amaze, after 10 min was 33.7 °C, while that of the Ameo stood at 28.15 °C. After 20 min of both vehicles running with their respective units on maximum blower speed and at the lowest temperature setting, we noted that the surface temperatures in the front two seats of the Amaze stood at an average of 23.3 °C while that of the Ameo stood at 23.9 °C. But comfort for rear seat occupants in the Ameo would be more because of the rear AC vents. The average temperature in the rear seats in the Amaze, after 20 min was 31.65 °C, while that of the Ameo was 24.45 °C.

Honda is not offering the Amaze in the VX trim that gets rear AC vents. Thus, the difference in rear seat temperature after 20 minutes of cooling is higher than the Ameo

ROUND-UP

Both Ameo and the Amaze are equally competitive offerings in the compact sedan space. While the Ameo offers great performance and is quick, the Amaze is not too far behind. If you are looking for a smooth drive, the Amaze CVT is slightly better than the Ameo DSG. Unfortunately at present, the Amaze with the diesel CVT is not available in the VX trim but in the V trim, thus missing out on key features like rear AC vents and touchscreen infotainment, both of which are available on the Ameo. However, the Amaze gets keyless entry and push button start, which is not available on the Ameo. In contrast, the Ameo gets rain sensing wipers, touchscreen infotainment, cruise control and a reverse parking camera.

We also measured the equivalent continuous sound level (Leq) over a period of one minute, while the engine in both sedans was revving at 3,000 rpm. The reading in the Ameo stood at 75.1 dB(A), while the same in the Amaze was a little lower at 74.3 dB(A). We also found that the head room for rear seat occupants was more in the Ameo, but only by a small margin of roughly 20 mm. Legroom and knee room in the Amaze are much better than the Ameo.

The top specification Ameo with the DSG transmission also costs nearly ` 100,000 more than the Amaze with the CVT in the V trim. So, for an ideally suited compact sedan with a true blue automatic transmission, the Ameo is a tad more expensive than the Amaze, but boasts of the right features. The Amaze, on the other hand, has a more contemporary design and wears a more refined look than the Ameo.

TEXT & PHOTO: Joshua David Luther