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Fiat announces details of new Ducato automatic

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Way back when, motorhomes with automatic gearboxes were pretty rare, and most of them were not brilliant – we think back to the hesitancy of the Sprint Shift from Mercedes and the Renault Quick Shift, both of which were robotised manuals.

A PR person tried to tell us that the gubbins in the box would adapt to our driving style for one of them – we genuinely think it’s the other way around and that you changed the way you drove vehicles fitted with the gearboxes. However, it did whet our appetite for full automatics.

Proper automatics became the preserve of big or expensive motorhomes and they were often not that smooth. And then that all changed. Ford’s automatic gained fans, while Fiat switched from a robotised manual (Comfort-Matic) to a full automatic from gearbox specialist, ZF. Suddenly, automatics were not just possible, they were becoming common.

We’re also really big fans of the latest Mercedes, VW, MAN and Iveco automatics, offering smooth transitions and well-balanced gear changes for a more comfortable driving experience.

Now, Fiat has launched its new AT8 eight-speed automatic gearbox for the new Ducato. One of the standout features of the new gearbox is its CO2 emissions are 10% lower compared to the current automatic version.

The automatic gearchanges have improved shift times thanks to new clutches, resulting in more efficient drivability due to the optimised torque, up to the best-in-class 450Nm torque for a front-wheel drive large van on the 180 Multijet engine.

Another significant innovation is provided by a hydraulic accumulator, a key component in the support of transmission shifts, that manages to increase the proficiency of the output by enabling a faster response time, alongside refinement during the Stop Start process.

The new AT8 will be offered on the Ducato Camper, which will benefit from this significant transmission improvement. The transmission is suitable for motorhomes with up to a five-tonne GVW, with an increase of over 600kg compared to previous models and a total weight including towing of 6.5 tonnes.

However, it’s important to note that automatics are a heavy option eating into available payload, so if you are watching the kilos for a 3.5-tonne motorhome and need an automatic, you might have to go light on the other extras.

Check out our article on automatics on campervans for more advice…


 

 

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