To further improve the fuel economy and performance of its product line-up, Hyundai has become only the third auto manufacturer to develop its own six-speed automatic transmission. The new box returns 12 percent better fuel economy, has 62 fewer moving parts, and is 12kgs lighter than the five-speed it will replace.
The new transmission has been designed with transverse (east-west) engine configurations in mind and will make its first appearance in the 2009 Hyundai Grandeur.
Hong-Min Kim, transaxle project manager for Hyundai, explained that this is no ordinary slush-box:
"The strength of our design is its totally unique layout which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed on the market today."
So unique and advanced is the design that Hyundai has applied for nearly 300 patents to protect its intellectual property.
The installation of the six-speed auto on the Hyundai Grandeur, in V6 guise, will not only translate to a fuel economy improvement of 12.2 percent, but will also deliver 0-100km/h times falling from 8.0 seconds to 7.8 seconds. More useful, and more impressive, is the roll on acceleration improvement, from 60km/h to 100km/h, which drops from 4.5 seconds to 4.0 seconds flat.
Developed over a four-year period, the maintenance-free box is not fitted with a dipstick and is filled with automatic transmission fluid designed to last the life of the vehicle. This reduces servicing costs and conveys Hyundai's confidence in the transmission's durability.
Besides its appearance in the 2009 Grandeur, the new box will find its way into another 15 Hyundai models, including a redesigned Santa Fe. A total of five transmission variants will be produced to accommodate a wide range of diesel and petrol engines.
The new six-speed auto should ensure that fuel economy and performance figures are improved across a range of Hyundai vehicles in coming years. Something certain to be welcomed by consumers.