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on Wednesday 7 May 2014 23:06

Ten Review

You know where you are a Renault Trafic and that a lot to LCV operators. The attractive, spacious low running costs and general stand out and they’re proved to in the field. In some areas as cabin quality and refinement, less impressive but Renault’s panel van continues to prove good design never out of fashion.


Some have barely begun to under the showroom lights they start to look It’s hard to put a finger on what causes this but it can to models with bold, designs as easily as it can to ones play it safe. Renault’s is one of very few vehicles, and even vans, that turn phenomenon on its head. The current has been available since with only minor but the design that was groundbreaking continues to feel fresh and today. The question is whether more relevant than small panel vans have youth on their

The Trafic is a panel van but it’s at the smaller end of the spectrum. Renault’s Master takes care of the heavy duty loads and the sits below it, a little stylish, manageable in size and to park.

Most of the leading van have small panel going for the same sort of as the Trafic — namely who can’t fit their cargos in a or car-derived van but don’t need a panel van with a load box an aircraft hangar. With the of the Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan which share the Trafic’s these alternatives tend to be advanced in years but Renault’s has some tricks up its sleeve.


The advantage of a small van compared to a full-sized model a driver’s point of view is it should feel more a passenger car and less like an This is certainly true of the which still sits its relatively high up, affording a good view out but has a car-like position with the steering closer to vertical and well pedals. Some of the Trafic’s go further in this regard and more like an MPV to drive but the gives a nice compromise the panel van and passenger car experiences.

The suspension is based around a strut design at the front an anti-roll bar to improve cornering while at the rear is a heavy flexible beam. The ride is and improves with a bit of weight on to subdue the rear end. taken corners don’t the Trafic and it stays reassuringly when asked to change swiftly via the nicely weighted The stubby nose and elevated position help a lot when as you can see right down to the front of the van the driver’s seat. The kerb to turning circle is just 12m for the short wheelbase model.

and Build

The avantgarde shape of the with its angled nose and the in the roof over the cab, as well today as when the first hit the market. As well as distinctive, that domed makes the vehicle easier to and improves side visibility. thoughtful touches include the front bumper that the corners, protecting them knocks, and shields the large At the rear, the tail lights are high out of harm’s way and stretch up the roof for better traffic Access to the load area is sliding side doors on the or a pair of side hinged at the rear.

Inside the cab, one area the Trafic does show its age is in the quality. The plastics and some of the gear are beginning to feel a behind the times but there be no concerns with regard to There’s theoretically room for at the front but in practice, the dash-mounted impedes legroom in the middle

Stuff we like includes the for your Friday night the one-button locking for all the doors and the controls for the stereo next to the wheel. The latest models get an A4 document holder on the dash top and a of additional storage slots should come in handy. The pockets are massive with a appetite for the kind of miscellaneous tat would otherwise be clogging up the interior.

Market and Model

car Smart Crosstown

Like any panel van, the comes in a wide range of There are doublecab models a second row of seats, platform to which specialist conversions can be and even a 9-seat minibus but concentrating on the panel vans. choose from the short and wheelbase options, matching to the low and high roof heights. gives the overall carrying of the van with load volumes 5m3 to 8.3m3 and maximum payloads 1,000kg to 1,200kg.

There are engine options to contend all of them common-rail diesels. open with the 2.0-litre dCi in guise with 240Nm of from 1,600rpm. It’s not the flexible unit or the most that you’ll encounter in a van of type. Above that is the version of the same engine offers 50Nm more and returns 34mpg economy on the cycle compared to the 38mpg of the powerful unit. These 2.0 dCi are the mainstay of the range but if you need power, there’s a 2.5-litre with 150bhp and 320Nm. engine gives the Trafic a more muscular feel and only drops off to 32mpg.

A six-speed manual gearbox is but the two more powerful engine are available with a six-speed All Trafics are now available with control and the impressive Carminat satellite navigation system. In the Trafic is very attractively compared to rivals.

Practicalities and

The Trafic’s years in service exposed precious few flaws a practicality standpoint, a one metre-wide door is fitted as standard on the side, with the second one on the opposite flank. A step the side door aids but if you’re over 4ft 6in tall better mind your Cargo can be secured using tie-down points but if you forget to use and the whole lot slides forward on the to protect the cab area, there’s a steel mesh grille.

will be interested in the Trafic’s anti-perforation warranty and low insurance There’s also a three / 100,000 mile warranty with every Trafic including roadside recovery for the and no mileage limit in the first two


You have to hand it to the Trafic, it’s been at the top end of the small panel van market 2001 and there’s life in the old yet. Behind the styling has somehow managed to avoid a day over the years is a well practical van that operators come to trust.

There are areas where the is showing its age with some of the materials feeling a little par and the engines not producing the best of refinement but it’s still to drive, manoeuvrable and extremely Well judged tweaks kept the Trafic on top of its game and it no sign of giving the market’s pretenders an easy time of it.


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