Prime Mover Magazine

Final Mile: The Renault Trafic

Final Mile: The Renault Trafic

A new Renault Trafic has hit the Australian market, with the new model replacing a version that has been around since 2001 – complete with upgrades that help it operate as a mobile office.

After years of manufacturing in Spain and England, the all-new Renault Trafic is now being produced in France, taking styling cues from Renault’s latest passenger cars to present a much sleeker image.

Although it presents a sharper image, the refined design is actually slightly larger than the previous model in most dimensions, with seemingly small expansions increasing both cabin and load space for a more practical work vehicle.

Overall, the new Trafic is 210mm longer than its predecessor, making for a total additional carrying capacity of 200 litres on the short wheel base model and 100 litres on the longer version. The two versions are both capable of accommodating two pallets, providing cargo area totals of 5.2 m3 for the short wheelbase and 6.0 m3 for the long.

The standard Twin Turbo models provide load-through flaps at the bottom of the bulkhead and beneath the front bench seat to fit loads up to 4.14 metres long in the long wheelbase models and 3.75 metres in the shorter vans.

Carrying capacity is further maximised by the very low slant of the body sides. The size of rear door aperture and the form of its cargo area are identical to the former-generation model permitting the changeover of interior fittings from a trade in.

Moving the bulkhead back just 30mm from its previous position and dropping the seat height by 36mm allows the driver to recline further than before, and experience a much more comfortable ride. Thanks to a lever operated pump system the height of the driving position can be adjusted through a range of 60mm.

The cabin has been designed to be more than just a vehicle control centre by incorporating a multitude of equipment options that help it operate more like a mobile office. Space for a laptop computer and a removable A4-size clipboard all contribute to the business environment, while the optional mobile phone cradle is ideally positioned on the dashboard for easy driver access with conveniently located USB port to keep the battery charged.

All the little nooks and crannies in the Trafic’s cab provide storage totalling up to 90 litres, counting up to 14 bins, trays and cubbies ranging from 0.2 to 54 litres. Each one is specially designed to house the everyday items employed by business users, with the largest stowage space situated beneath the front passenger bench seat of the Twin Turbo models boasting a capacity of 54 litres.

The Euro V diesel engines may only displace 1.6 litres but seem up to the job in either single turbo (66 kW/250Nm) for the short wheelbase model or the higher power twin turbo (103kW/340Nm) configuration for the longer. The twin turbo engine also features Renault’s ‘Stop & Start’ technology for better fuel efficiency, which Renault’s figures indicate has improved by 2.1 litres per 100km from the previous model.

The only transmission currently available is a six-speed manual, which is light and smooth to operate, but as much of the van market is now demanding automatic transmissions, it probably won’t be long before that option is available as well.

As far as handling performance goes, the MacPherson strut front suspension has revised dampers and an anti-roll bar that keep excess body roll in check. The rate of the hydraulic rear dampers varies as a function of the vehicle’s load: the heavier the load, the firmer the handling becomes. At the rear the flexible beam suspension with pull rods and a Panhard rod helps filter out road noise and further contributes to the Trafic’s handling.

A drawcard for the all-new Trafic is its three-year/200,000-kilometre warranty and eligibility for Renault’s Capped Price Servicing program of $349 per calendar year for the first three scheduled services. The Trafic now has service intervals of one year or up to 30,000km, whichever comes first.

Australia’s van market continues to enjoy solid growth and Renault’s latest Trafic adds another quality European option into the mix. With increased carrying capacity and plenty of spots to house all required paraphernalia, the Trafic has put itself out as an option to ‘suit all business needs’.

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