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Blizzard 14-08-2016 18:15

AS Kingham - Manual Or Comfortmatic ?
Planning ahead to my April 2017 retirement, in a couple of months I'm hoping to be placing an order for a new Auto Sleeper Kingham (Panel Van Conversion) which is based on the Peugeot Boxer and comes as standard with the 2.2 litre 150bhp engine and 6 speed manual gearbox.

I am tempted to opt for the Fiat Ducato 130bhp variant, with Comfortmatic "auto" gear box for those longer trips.

I know the auto box is a robotic manual, rather than being a true auto, but that aside what are your thoughts on the pros and cons of each option ?


Mrplodd 14-08-2016 19:07

I ran a Merc Sprintshift for a few years, (same technology) It IS a very relaxing drive BUT you do need to remember that if you just hold it on a hill with the throttle you are slipping the clutch exactly the same as a manual and that gets VERY expensive VERY quickly. (All that heat very quickly knackers Dual Mass Flywheels)

Plus ask yourself how much driving you will actually be doing in heavy traffic/towns where there will be a need to be constantly changing gear?? A long continental trip will probably be spent mostly in top gear anyway, so no real advantage to a Comfortmatic in those circumstances

I didnt have any troubles with mine but I know others did. The Comfortmatic is a very complex system and there is a lot to go wrong. Having said that any vehicle will come with 3 years worth of warranty.

Its very much a judgement call on what will suit you.

Dont rush it as the Comfortmatic option adds a fair bit to the bottom line.


ob1 14-08-2016 19:31

Comfortmatic anytime. I've had three and never any bother. As Andy said you cannot hurry the gear changes but soon adapt to that. You also avoid the dreaded 'judder' with the smaller Fiat/Peugeot engines with the Comfortmatic box for some reason. As for holding it on hills, with ASR you only have to hold it on the footbrake instead and it will give you time to get on the accelerator before releasing the brake, so no problems there.


Revise 14-08-2016 20:14

When I bought mine I opted for the comfortmatic. I had never driven one and thought it would be like a normal Auto. When I drove out of the showroom I was gutted. I hated it Thought it was a bad mistake. But once I got used to it not being a normal Auto. After about 100 miles. I decided. I loved it. Now I would not even consider going back to a manual.

The one thing you have to learn to live with is when you pull away in first gear, you are never going to win any drag races. It is VERY SLOW at pulling away and you have to take this into account. But if I was getting a new motorhome I would put this on the top of my list of must haves.

Have a test drive first. Unlike I did :grin2:

Stanner 14-08-2016 21:17

I have twice had the similar Quikshift box on Renault Masters and there is just one situation when the box can be a real PITA that is when you need to use levelling ramps.
You need a very delicate right foot and judicious left foot braking to get into the right position on the ramps, this is particularly so if the ramps are being used on any loose surface that allows them to move or squirm about.

That said that is just about the only time I've ever even slightly regretted have that box.

Renault also has the advantage of only charging half as much extra for the auto box as Fiat do.

DBSS 15-08-2016 01:22

I was a 'manual' guy everytime and wouldn't hear of anything else.....but the deal was so tempting when I bought the 890i I decided I would give the Comfortmatic a chance and tbh am so glad I did. The days of constant gear changing in towns etc are a thing of the past and cruise on the autobahn, peage etc are bliss. Even improved my fuel economy, as on my last trip down to Italy I actually managed 30.4mpg cruising at 58mph.
The only drawback I can find with the auto box is you need to have a delicate right foot when manoeuvring into tight spots and asking to move just a couple of inches..

Fully converted now..!!


Blizzard 15-08-2016 05:50

Cheers Gents, it's looking like Comfortmatic is the way forward for someone who is a fairly recent convert to Automatics.

I've always enjoyed 'proper' driving, with manual gearboxes, both at work and home, but I suppose that over the last few years with work moving away from manual gearboxes, that I've got used to 'lazy, but comfortable' driving.

Our fleet largely consists of BMWs with 8 speed autos, which are so smooth, even when driven hard, boosted by a few Audi autos, but my favourite car for the Autumn years of my career has to be my LR Discovery. Not many of my colleagues like driving it as it's slow and doesn't handle so well at speed, but suits me down to the ground.

I can't imagine the Comfortmatic being anywhere near as smooth as the BMW and common sense dictates a test drive before the final decision.


Pudsey_Bear 15-08-2016 07:57

I love proper auto slush boxes, I've tried the various other types of automated manuals and don't like them, don't see the point of them really, I'd either go full manual or full auto, full auto is the more reliable and more understood in small garages which is where it'd end up one day, used prices may not be that good either as most will not understand them, more parts to go wrong too.

Unless I had a need for a clutchless gear change I would stick with the devil you know, the most common for a reason.

Just my opinion, it's further reduces buying choice too, as it'll probably have to be a new van, with all the losses associated with that, which will include having to fault find everything the factory didn't bother with, and also the cost of all the toys you are used to having.

We will never be able to afford a new van, but have discussed more than once what we'd get, and a 5 year old van with low miles and all the toys would be our target regardless of wallet size.

I hope all the contradictions don't spoil your enjoyment of picking your next van.

Dill 15-08-2016 10:34

I have always insisted on a manual box until I drove a Comfortmatic. I don't think I would go back to manual now.


greygit 15-08-2016 10:48

We have just bought our first auto car and we wish we had done it years ago, I know it's a car and not a van but believe me if you have the chance to try both do it as I am sure you will go for the "Autoish" one.

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