The Renault Trafic has recently been updated, to add a new cleaner, more frugal range of 2.0 litre diesel engines, an improved, better connected cabin, with AppleCar Play & Android Auto offered on some model’s, plus a host of safety features, to make it a serious challenger in the mid-range van sector.
To keep things simple, there are three Trafic trim levels; Business, Business+ & Sport. Unlike vans of olde, all models get DAB radio, Bluetooth, ESC stability control, full steel bulkhead, remote central locking with a left-hand sliding door. Business+ adds air-con, rear parking sensors, a useful load-through bulkhead & Renault’s Mobile Office (dashboard device cradles plus a middle passenger seat that folds down to reveal a clipboard and lab-top storage). Go all out & Sport models include alloy wheels, touchscreen SatNav & cruise control, one of CCV’s favourite additions.
As far as size & loads go, nothing has altered from the previous Trafic. Customers can select from two load lengths with two roof heights.
SL – short-wheelbase, low roof (L1H1)
LL – long-wheelbase, low roof (L2H1)
SH – short-wheelbase, high roof (L1H2)
LH – long-wheelbase, high roof (L2H2)
Plus load volumes ranging from 5.2m3 to 8.6m3 with a maximum payload of 1,269kg.
The new 2.0 litre diesels comes in three options. All are versions of Renault’s new 2.0-litre dCi common-rail unit. The new 2.0-litre engines are available in 120hp, 145hp & 170hp variants, with the EDC automatic transmission option available on the 145hp & 170hp versions in place of the standard six-speed manual gearbox.
On Business+ models & above, on SWB versions, there’s a special ‘load through bulkhead’, which consists of 2 flaps, one at floor level in the bulkhead behind the passenger seat, with a second under the passenger seat itself. Open the first & the load length increase to 2.94m for long planks, pipes or boards Open the second and you’ve got a very useful 3.75m. If you purchase the LWB Trafic with the load through bulkhead, then the maximum load length is 4.15m. This gives the Trafic, the joint-longest loading length in the mid-size van sector, alongside the Fiat Professional Talent & Nissan NV300 which are both based on the Trafic.
Renault also fits a clever catch for the asymmetrically-split rear doors. This allows the left hand door that carries the Trafic’s rear numberplate to be locked in place so very long items can be poked out of the right hand door and carried with rear lights and numberplate visible. An internal ceiling rack is also available as an option along with Renault’s Ready4Work range of fully warrantied internal racking and storage solutions, which can be carried over from the previous model at no extra cost & will fit the latest versions perfectly.
The model we were testing, was the SL28 Energy dCi 145 Sport in a fetching Panorama Blue. The SL28 Sport comes with metallic paint, body coloured front bumpers & door mirrors, 17″ Cyclade alloys, an 80 litre fuel tank & aa 20 litre AdBlue tank. Inside there’s a leather steering wheel, manual air-con, electric front windows, the Renault MediaNav 7″ touch screen & SatNav with 2x20W speakers, DAB radio, Bluetooth & a single USB & Aux in socket. Safety & security includes ESC, HSA with Grip Extend, ABS with EBD, an alarm & electronic immobiliser, driver’s airbag & cruise control with speed limiter.
Climb aboard the Trafic & the user friendly cabin now feels more upmarket & car-like. The ubiquitous central third seat though like all third seats is a bit of a squeeze. On some models, including our Sport model, it can be folded down to create a desk with a built in clip board & there’s even space for a laptop.
Van drivers love their cubby holes & the Trafic doesn’t disappoint with several deep storage bins in the doors, a very large glove box as well as additional dash-top areas for keeping pens, oddments & receipts out of harms way. Renault claim 90 litres of storage when you include the space underneath the two front passenger seats.
The USB connection sits on top of the dashboard, plus there’s a 12V socket, which is also located on the front of the dashboard. The controls are clear & very straightforward. A digital speedo in the centre makes keeping within speed limits easier, with the rev counter on the left & the fuel gauge on the right. The heating controls are centrally located & easy to use & to reach. I managed to connect my iPhone to the Bluetooth quickly & easily & when I used it found that it worked well. Thanks to the full bulkhead, the cabin itself was well insulated allowing me to hold a conversation without resorting to shouting.
The dCi 145 engine is especially good on the motorway, allowing you to keep up with fast moving traffic to overtaking safely & quickly. Maximum speed is 109mph, with a 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds.
With a maximum 350Nm’s of torque at 1500rpm I really enjoyed driving it. On quiet roads & around town the Trafic handled really well, with little or no body roll in the cab. The steering although light,was also just the right side of responsive. The seats are firm, but comfortable. The six-speed gear change is smooth & an ECO button when engaged, aids fuel economy, although when used, it does take away acceleration. Renault claim an NEDC combined fuel economy of 52.3mpg & comes with emissions of 150g/km. Our test van was fitted with the larger 100 litre fuel tank & in our week aboard we used up half of this, averaging 37.6 mpg, with the ECO button selected on all motorway journey’s, someway short of the claimed figure.
I use the motorways regularly & I love cruise control. In the Trafic, the cruise control button on the dash is simple to reach & to engage & steering wheel speed controls allowed me to adjust the cruising speed in increments of 1mph, very handy indeed. The Trafic served up a comfortable ride with very little in the way of vibrations entering the cab. It helped too that the steering wheel is adjustable for reach & rake & that there are plenty of driver seat positions available, allowing me to get comfy, very easily.
The LCV market is so big in the UK now, that all of the van brands, are at the top of their game in creating commercials that are first & foremost work horse’s, but are now car-like to drive with specifications to match. Competition from the Transit Custom, the all-new Volkswagen Transporter & the four identical models from PSA & Toyota, in the form of the Vivaro, Expert, Dispatch & Proace, plus the updated Talento & NV300, have made choosing a van in this sector even harder & the updates to the Trafic have kept it competitive.
With the Renault network offering Pro+ to it’s CV customers, this should reassure van user’s, that Renault is serious about looking after them & keeping their business on the road.
Renault Trafic Business standard equipment highlights:
• DAB radio, Bluetooth, aux-in connection & USB socket
• Height- and lumber-adjustable driver’s seat with arm rest
• Reach and rake adjustable steering wheel
• Electric front windows
• Heated, electric door mirrors
• Passenger bench seat
• Steel bulkhead
• Sliding side door on the passenger side
• Twin rear doors that open to 180 degrees
• Remote locking with alarm and immobiliser
• 16″ steel wheels
Renault Trafic Business+ standard equipment highlights (in addition to Business):
• Mobile Office – fold-down middle passenger seat with detachable A4 clipboard & laptop storage
• Smartphone cradle
• Underseat storage for passenger bench
• Body-coloured front bumper, door rail and rear light surround
• Load-through flap in bulkhead
• Wide View Mirror blindspot mirror in passenger sunvisor
• Rear parking sensors
Renault Trafic Sport standard equipment highlights (in addition to Business+):
• Automatic lights & wipers
• Leather steering wheel
• Premium dashboard with closeable upper storage
• Metallic paint, including body-coloured door mirrors
• 17″ alloy wheels
• Front foglights
• Cruise control with speed limiter