New automatic gearbox for Fiat Ducato

Available with the 130hp and 150hp diesel engines, the simplistically-titled ‘Comfort-Matic’ gearbox sits somewhere between a manual and automatic gearbox.

The technology is an essentially an automatic gearbox and comes with all the efficiency and performance of an automatic, according to Fiat.

The automatic mode comes with several functions including specialist ‘modes’ for uphill-downhill, warm up, brake assistance and ‘kick down’ – when the driver presses the accelerator to overtake.

However, the gearbox is also flexible because it comes with a sequential manual mode allowing the driver to choose a gear ratio via a ‘joystick’ gear level on the dashboard.

The new ‘Comfort-matic’ robotised gearbox may not get pulses racing in the same way a new, performance-oriented engine does, but for the legions of van drivers in the UK it could mean a more flexible and versatile van.

The new 2012 Fiat Ducato comes with a choice of three 2.3-litre engines (the 130 and 150hp versions are available with the new gearbox) and a range-topping 3.0-litre van.

Launched late last year, the new Fiat Ducato comes with styling tweaks inside and out as well as new equipment such as Blue&Me satellite navigation and a new sound system.

The largest van in Fiat’s range comes with a choice of wheelbase lengths and roof heights in keeping with rivals such as the Ford Transit and Vauxhall Movano vans – two competitors Fiat is keen to keep up with the UK’s large van market.

Fiat Ducato van prices start from £16,995 on-the-road before VAT. The new 2012 Fiat Ducato is on sale now in UK Fiat dealerships.