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Renault beefs up key Master and Trafic vans as it targets Big Two

First Drive: Renault Master & Trafic


Ringing the changes: Renault is upgrading the Trafic (left) and the Master (right)

Ringing the changes: Renault is upgrading the Trafic (left) and the Master (right)

Ringing the changes: Renault is upgrading the Trafic (left) and the Master (right)

New van launches don't come around as regularly as their car counterparts.

So when two products from the same brand arrive at the same time, the truism about waiting for buses comes to mind.

Maybe it's appropriate that Renault has passenger versions of its Trafic and Master mid-sized and large vans, too.

The new models are a timely boost for the brand - it's pushing hard on Ford and Volkswagen.

The two vans get revised looks, with the Master in particular now having a much stronger front end, with a vertical-design grille and higher bonnet line, as well as signature daytime running lights.

The Master interior has had a makeover, too: higher-quality trim, upholstery and improved storage areas.

The 2.3 dCi diesel engines have been revised for more power and torque. There are power outputs of 130, 135, 145, 150 and 180hp with a maximum 400Nm of torque.

New safety equipment includes lane departure warning, rear park assist and reversing camera. Options include front and rear park assist and active emergency braking.

As before, the Master comes with front and rear-wheel-drive versions, as well as a 4WD option and the Master Z.E. electric model, with a range of up to 120km.

There are three height options, four lengths and load volumes between eight and 22 cubic metres - in total, around 350 variants.

Conversions account for up to 40pc of Masters and there is an extensive range of factory options - from crew cab to tippers, platform, box bodies and flatbeds, as well as minibuses seating up to 14.

The new Trafic also gets a new front and the C-Shape DRLs, but has full LED headlights as standard.

The cabin boasts an ergonomically improved dashboard, with satin chrome finishes and upgraded upholsteries.

Most relevant is a new range of 2.0 dCi engines which replace the 1.6 dCi twin turbo. They come with 120, 145 and 170hp power outputs while reducing fuel consumption by up to 0.6l/100km. There will also be an entry-level 95hp version. There will be an electric version next year.

The two more powerful engines now have the option of an EDC6 dual-clutch auto gearbox. It's smooth and accurate in use, and will suit a lot of operators working in urban or stop-start environments.

Tested on the roads of Portugal, the 145hp and 170hp versions were quiet and refined performers, carrying a 440kg payload without difficulty.

Also for sale in Ireland for the first time is the SpaceClass, an upmarket six-seater aimed at the VIP market that is fully equipped as a mobile lounge or office.

Panel van versions of the Trafic come in two lengths, two heights and load volume of 3.2 to 8.6 cubic metres.

There are also crew cab versions, passenger vans with up to nine seats and a range of conversions available.

Both vans are now available to order. Trafic prices start from €25,945 excluding delivery charges. Master prices start from €25,650.

Indo Motoring