After four years of development and testing, Hyundai has announced it will begin fitting its new six-speed automatic transmission to cars in the home market starting in January. The first application for this transmission, which was designed and engineered in-house, will be in Azera/Grandeur sedans equipped with the 3.3-liter Lambda V6. It's also slated to appear in 15 other Hyundai vehicles in the years ahead, including the U.S.-spec Azera. However, with market conditions as they are, Hyundai admits that we might not see it here until the 2011 model year. The revamped Santa Fe SUV also will be an early recipient of this high-tech transmission.
Smaller, lighter and more compact than any other six-speed automatic on the market today, Hyundai's slick new gear changer has 62 fewer parts than the five-speed it replaces. Boasting closer gear splits but a wider overall ratio, Hyundai data indicates that it can boost vehicle mileage by more 12 percent while quickening acceleration and reducing CO2 emissions. The firm has over 300 patents pending on the design, which it plans to produce in five different variations to meet the specific requirements of various gasoline and diesel engine applications. It also will form the engineering basis for a new eight-speed automatic that ultimately will replace the six-speed ZF unit now used in Hyundai's flagship Genesis sedan.