Little Big Van
The latest version of Renault’s largest van is a clever combination of practical features with a touch of elegance.
Renault has globally produced 2.7 million of its Master vans since 1980. The Master is the largest of the three vans in the Renault lineup which includes the Trafic and the Kangoo models.
Manufactured in Renault plants in France and in Brazil, the Renault Master is marketed in more than 50 countries and has been a strong player in the Australian LCV marketplace since it was launched here in 2010. The Master frequently has ranked in the top three in its segment and close to 1,600 units of the preceding model were sold here in 2019. What we have come to know here as the Renault Master, is also variously sold as a Nissan, an Opel or a Vauxhall in various parts of the world.
The latest version of the Renault Master arrived in Australia in March with its most noticeable change being the redesigned area forward of the A pillars which provides the Master with a more ‘robust’ appearance and incorporates LED daytime running lamps with Halogen headlamps. The elegant functionality of the Master’s revamped external appearance is carried into the interior as well.
As with its other LCVs, Renault’s philosophy is to apply the same focus on comfort, fit and finish as it does for its passenger cars. The dash features a 7.0 inch touchscreen audio system with connections for Bluetooth, Apply Car Play and Android Auto. The screen also performs as the display for the satellite navigation and for the reversing camera which makes backing up doubly easy with the inclusion of rear parking sensors plus dual electric mirrors.
The Master has cruise control, air conditioning and remote central locking which is handy for delivery drivers who need to keep the vehicle and its contents secure. The Master’s cabin offers plenty of storage space including a large ‘hidden’ compartment beneath the passenger seat.
This new model also benefits from an improvement in the quality of the upholstery.
Available in three heights and four lengths, the Master is also equipped with a platform cab-chassis, which allows it to fit into a wide range of applications.
The platform cab-chassis provides a very low floor height of just 550mm which makes it an ideal basis for food trucks which are gaining in popularity in this country. There is also a 12 seater mini-bus version of the Master.
Most models are front wheel drive with a couple of rear wheel drives available in the long wheelbase models.
The RWDs have the option of a limited slip differential. The front wheel drive configuration provides low floor heights, large door openings and plenty of cargo headroom.
If higher payloads are a regular requirement then rear wheel drive with dual wheels is available on some of the bigger models which can provide increased traction and larger cargo carrying capability. Depending upon the size of the chosen van, cargo volumes range between 8 and 17 cubic metres.
The short wheelbase vans have 180 degree opening rear barn doors; Medium and Long wheelbase variants have fold back 270 degree doors. Rear and side doors have new ergonomic handles for easy entry and exit.
A standard Australian pallet fits easily between the rear wheel arches and there are plenty of solid load anchoring points. The load area is very well lit thanks to the LED lighting.
Renault continues to offer Trade and Business packs which bundle together various combinations from the option list to better tailor the Master for customers’ specific applications and providing increased value for the purchaser while keeping the cost of production down.
The Master’s 2.3 litre diesel engine comes in two specifications dependent upon the choice of transmission. The six speed manual version has a twin turbo engine developing 120kW and 360Nm of torque. While the six speed ‘automatic’ (actually an Automated Manual Transmission from ZF) has a single turbo version of the engine which provides a slightly lower 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
The AMT utilises an electric actuator to operate the clutch which provides a very fine level of control for low speed maneuvering such as backing-up to a loading dock. Both drivelines deliver their maximum torque ratings at a low 1500rpm and both engines are Euro 5 emission compliant using a Diesel Particulate Filter without the need for an AdBlue system. The 100 litre fuel tank provides a good range between fill ups and requires the passenger door to be opened to access the filler.
Currently available is a five-year / 200,000 kilometre warranty as well as service intervals of 12 months or up to 30,000km which will help ensure customers can get more out of their Master with minimal time off the road.