23 December 2008


Hyundai reveals new fuel-efficient six-speed auto

23 December 2008 - To help meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, Hyundai has completed the development of an all-new six-speed automatic transaxle that should boost fuel economy by 12.2 percent.

Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact transaxle puts Hyundai into a class of auto manufacturers who have designed their own six-speed automatic (after Toyota and a GM/Ford joint venture).


"The strength of our design is its completely unique layout, which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed on the market today", said Hong-Min Kim, the project manager of the transaxle at Hyundai R&D Centre. In fact, the design is so unique and so advanced, Hyundai has applied for nearly 300 patents related to the technology.

The transaxle will first arrive in the new Hyundai Grandeur equipped with a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine. In this application, it delivers a 12.2 percent gain in fuel economy and is 2.5 percent quicker in zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration times (7.8 sec versus 8.0 sec). It also delivers an 11 percent improvement in 60 km/h to 100 km/h overtaking performance (4.0 sec versus 4.5 sec).

The unit is also maintenance-free: the gearbox is 'filled for life' with automatic transmission fluid and needs no topping up, reducing servicing costs. Developed over a four-year period, this new six-speed automatic gearbox offers numerous technical merits. Despite the extra gear, it is 12 kg lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It is also 41 mm shorter and considerably simpler having 62 fewer parts, which is a key to increased durability and lower cost.

The gearbox has three planetary gearsets whose hallmark is simplicity of design and a flat torque converter, which shortens the unit's overall length by 12 mm. Four pinion differentials improve durability and further minimise size.

The new six-speed went into production this month. A total of five variants of the transaxle will be produced to accommodate a wide range of petrol and diesel engines. A total of 16 different Hyundai models will get this transmission including a redesigned Santa Fe, which is due to arrive in late 2009 and early 2010 in some markets.