While the Yaris’ gearbox is fantastic, not everyone can drive cars with manual transmissions for various reasons, almost none of which are related to “not being a true car enthusiast.” Manuals can be intimidating for inexperienced drivers, and the fear of failure can stop some people before they really start. Toyota’s new direct automatic transmission (DAT) aims to fix those problems with responsiveness and intelligence not seen in traditional automatics.
The DAT is much better at predicting the driver’s intentions, which cuts acceleration lag. It can detect braking for timelier downshifts, which could render the car’s paddle shifters irrelevant in some situations. That performance would make track driving much easier and safer for people trying to learn car control.
Former CEO Akio Toyoda said the DAT would be a “game-changer.” He noted that “there’s no time lost when shifting, so the gap between myself and the pros was much smaller than usual. I can just concentrate on braking and accelerating.” Toyoda is a legit driver, inspiring the automaker to name a trim
Toyota is expected to start production of the automatic GR Yaris in January at its dedicated GR Factory in Japan, where it also builds the GR Corolla