I admit it: I’m a fan of the DSG gearbox. I like the lack of a torque converter, the almost instant changes and the way it improves the car’s fuel economy.
On the motorway the transmission works superbly, but the pumpe-duse engine is too vocal and sounds all too like the the previous-generation diesel technology that it is. But to give Skoda credit where it’s due, it achieved 49.6mpg over 50 miles, 15 of which were in town traffic – and I wasn’t trying to drive economically.
It was the performance in town traffic that really disappointed me, though. It has enough creep that you have to keep your foot on the brake at standstill, but not so much that it doesn’t roll backwards on shallow inclines. That’s the wrong amount of creep.
Also, when you brake it only shifts down a gear at the last possible moment, often at 850-900rpm, when the engine is beginning to cough, which makes it impossible to drive slowly and smoothly. Plant your foot on the accelerator, however, and it feels pretty nippy and very smooth. Certainly mid-corner gearchanges are so smooth that the car does not get unsettled.
So it seems to me that there’s nothing wrong the transmission hardware and quite a lot wrong with its software configuration, possibly it’s been set up for maximum economy at the expense of low-speed driveability. Whatever the case, DSG is here to stay and I’m very happy about that. But a bit more polish in its implementation wouldn’t go amiss.