Economy concerns have pushed the automated manual gearbox to the fore, but it’s never really been a satisfying choice.

As Ford‘s now discontinued Durashift has proved, if the automatic clutch changes too slowly then that target urban fleet driver isn’t going to thank their fleet manager for paying the extra over a manual. With Mercedes moving to a standard automatic in the Sprinter, Vauxhall seems to be ploughing a lonely path with its £800 Tecshift option.

Happily, the company has done its homework to make it acceptable, proving its worth in the 2.5-litre Movano and Vivaro. Now this hydraulically activated six-speeder moves into the mainstream 2.0-litre 115PS version of the Vivaro medium van. The driver either selects automatic or manual, but in either mode the shifts are smooth and jerk-free up or down. It’s not exactly F1-fast, but crucially the driver doesn’t feel his head lurch forward with changes (a big problem with the Transit Durashift).

Unlike the Easytronic, the Tecshift still retains a lot of control for itself, even in manual mode. It won’t hold gears, so there’s no redline on the revcounter; it changes down long before you’ve run out of revs; and it won’t change up if it senses the engine will be too stressed. All good news for the fleet manager wanting to reign in rev-happy drivers. These changes at optimum revs are also a big reason why Vauxhall can claim an improved 35.3mpg for the standard 115PS diesel (it isn’t an option with the cheaper 90PS) compared to 33.6mpg for the manual version.

It will also hold onto the gears slightly longer if the ‘KG’ (for kilogramme) button is pushed when fully loaded. Similar a ‘Winter’ button selects second for slip-free getaways.

Tecshift has worked fine on the 2.5-litre, but down here in the big-selling 2.0-litre diesel it should appeal to a whole new fleet audience. It’s easy, potentially economical and extends the Vivaro range intelligently.