Six-speed, proactive automatic transmission for Espace 2.0 dCi
The Espace range has seen the addition of the latest 2.0 dCi 150hp and 175hp powerplants mated to the AJ0 flick-shift, six-speed, proactive transmission developed jointly by Renault and Nissan within the framework of the Alliance. Its latest generation technology and the ratios chosen for all six gears deliver flexible performance, low fuel consumption and responsive acceleration. A recent addition to the ScÚnic range, too, this new evolution of the engine has been optimized for Espace thanks to a new torque converter and shorter ratios for enhanced performance, while the Oil Control System (OCS) permits oil change intervals of up to 30,000km depending on type of use. The six-speed automatic Espace 2.0 dCi 175hp is equipped with a particulate filter and offers top level fuel consumption for its category, with combined cycle performance of just 8.2 litres/100km (equivalent to 217g of CO2/km), plus acceleration from standstill to 100kph in barely 11 seconds. Espace Emotion 2.0 dCi 150hp equipped with particulate filter and six-speed automatic transmission stands out through its particularly attractive price/equipment ratio, with prices in France starting from €35,850.
AJ0 automatic transmission
The AJ0 gearbox is a flick-shift, six-speed, automatic transmission. Its control unit permanently monitors and analyses a variety of parameters (vehicle speed, engine speed and torque, position of pedals, etc.) with a view to selecting the ideal gear. It also communicates permanently with the ECU to ensure optimal torque during gearshifts.
In automatic mode, the AJO transmission's control unit selects the ideal gear thanks to its auto-adaptive settings which are based on three parameters (driving style, type of road – uphill, downhill or flat – and the driver's reactions in real-time) to favour fluidity and smoothness without compromising either punch or acceleration pick-up. The control unit is programmed to instantly downshift whenever the driver presses hard on the accelerator pedal ('kick down' function) to deliver extra power when overtaking.
In manual mode, the driver dictates his or her own driving style by activating the flick-shift lever. This mode comes into its own when driving briskly or over mountain roads. It also incorporates a number of automatic functions designed to facilitate driving (for example, it automatically engages first gear when the vehicle comes to a standstill) or to protect the gearbox (protection against over-revving).
Special attention has been paid to the gearshift quality of this cable-controlled, three-shaft transmission as well as to combating mechanical friction, resulting in even greater driving pleasure and fuel economy.
A particularly welcome feature when driving in and about town is the bespoke system, which releases the cinematic chain when the vehicle is at a standstill to minimize residual vibrations and fuel consumption at idle. Meanwhile, the slip function developed for this transmission has led to a significant reduction in the phenomenon of booming at low engine speeds for enhanced driving comfort, especially when reaccelerating.
The spread, i.e. the ratio between the first and final gears, is 6.12. Compared with the four- or five-speed automatic transmissions, this gearbox offers two principal advantages: the shorter first gear improves pull away performance, while the longer sixth gear ensures lower fuel consumption and less noise when travelling on motorways.
Special care has gone into its acoustic performance, too. Booming, growl and whine have been all but eliminated thanks to the design of the casing and the hydraulic converter damping system.
Thanks to its pressure-cast aluminium alloy casing, the AJ0 tips the scales at a low 93kg (without fluids), while its compact dimensions (length: 385mm) permit the powertrain to be located transversely in the engine compartment. This transmission is lubricated for life by 8 litres of oil, is cooled by a water/oil intercooler incorporated in the casing, and can be mated to either diesel or petrol powerplants. The AJ0 transmission is manufactured at JATCO's Yagi factory in Japan.
Espace 2.0 dCi sets new standards in terms of performance and driving pleasure
Mated to the AJ0 proactive automatic six-speed transmission, the 2.0 dCi engine is available for Espace with a choice of two power outputs that ensure it is incomparably pleasant to drive for its size. This latest development was recently introduced in the New ScÚnic range and has been optimized for use with Espace thanks to a new torque converter and shorter ratios for even greater performance. The 150hp (110kW) version sees maximum power kick in at 4,000rpm and torque of 340Nm from as low as 2,000rpm, while the 175hp (127kW) version (3,750rpm) boasts torque of 360Nm from 1,750rpm. It is particularly reliable and fuel efficient, with combined cycle fuel consumption of just 8.2 litres/100km (equivalent to 217g of CO2/km), and also ensures outstanding driving pleasure for a particularly competitive price tag. The automatic, particulate filter-equipped Espace 2.0 dCi 175hp accelerates from standstill to 100kph in barely 11 seconds.
This 1,995cc powerplant is packed with the latest diesel technology, including 1,600 bar fuel injection and piezo-electric injectors. The advanced form of its pistons and its variable geometry turbo combine to ensure extremely competitive fuel efficiency for a 2.0-litre diesel. In this configuration, it is equipped with two balancer shafts to combat vibrations and to achieve top level acoustic performance close to that of a petrol engine. It also features a periodic regeneration particulate filter.
This powertrain takes its place in the Espace catalogue alongside the 2-litre 130hp (96kW) engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and the 3-litre 180hp (133kW) powerplant coupled with six-speed automatic proactive transmission.
The 2.0 dCi 150hp with particulate filter and six-speed automatic transmission comes at the same price as the former 2.2 dCi 140hp with particulate filter and five-speed automatic transmission which it supersedes to the customer's advantage. Prices in France for Espace Emotion 2.0 dCi 150hp with particulate filter and six-speed automatic transmission start from €35,850. On certain versions, the 2.0 dCi 175hp with particulate filter and six-speed automatic transmission is available for certain versions for a supplement of €1,000.
Lower running costs with OCS
The Oil Control System (OCS) permits longer oil-change intervals. A warning signal informs the driver if his or her driving style is not ideally suited to optimizing the engine oil's life expectancy, e.g. low mileage journeys or when towing. The messages 'oil change required' or 'change oil urgently' are displayed when an oil change is necessary. The 2.0 dCi 130hp and 150hp, as well as the 150hp and 175hp with particulate filters, have all had their oil-change intervals extended by one year or 30,000km of normal use thanks to this system.
A comprehensive, extremely competitive line-up
Following a considerable shake-up at the beginning of 2006, the Espace range is more attractive than ever and is today based on three equipment levels – Emotion, Privilège and Initiale – plus the distinctive and extensively equipped Alyum Plus and Carminat special editions. Moreover, the limited edition Tech-Run version introduced earlier in the year features an all-new triple helping of onboard technology.
Espace has enjoyed consistent sales as of the end of May thanks notably to the entry level Emotion version powered by the new 2.0 dCi 130hp engine, which sells in France from €31,550.
Available in France at prices ranging from €27,950 (Emotion 2.0 16V 140hp with six-speed manual gearbox) to €52,850 (Grand Espace Initiale 3.0 dCi V6 180hp with six-speed automatic transmission), Espace has plenty in its favour to consolidate its position as leader of the upper range monobox market.