Go wild, go wild, go wild in the country, where Renault Trucks Master Red range impresses
Renault Master Trucks have recently launched their Red Edition Master van, which is available as a front wheel drive & rear wheel drive panel van, as well as a crew van & a mini-bus. It’s also available as a chassis cab & platform cab & is offered in a staggering, 350 conversions, including OptiTipper, Curtainsider, Luton & OptiTraffic.
A day out in the Cotswolds & the opportunity to drive these models was provided by Renault Truck, out of their UK HQ in Warwick, which CC&V recently attended.
As with most of the van brands, Renault Truck have updated their Master range to meet all of the latest EU provisions on emissions & the environment. There is also a Renault Master Truck EV model being offered as well, as Renault Truck seek to offer short distsance operators an alternative to their diesel range.
The three new engines being offered to customers are:-
A Light Duty Euro6 D-Temp, 4-cylinder 2.3L twin-turbo, with three power options. A 135hp/360Nm, with a six-speed manual gearbox. A 150hp/ 385NM Stop & Start 6-speed manual or auto & a 180hp/400Nm Stop & Start, also as a six-speed manual or auto.
A Heavy Duty Euro V1 D c4-cylinder 2.3L twin-turbo, with 130hp/330Nm in rear wheel drive, 145hp/360Nm Stop & Start & a 165hp/380Nm Stop & Start, all as six-speed manuals.
And, the he Z.E 100% electric with 57kW/225Nm & auto box.
The Master Red features a new exterior design. This includes, a chrome radiator grille, high power headlights with LED light signature & unique Red Edition livery. Additionally, Master Red features a USB Bluetooth radio & side-wind assist system.
A range of equipment is also available as an option:
AEBS active braking & permanent rear vision: a screen connected to a camera positioned on the rear of the vehicle enables drivers to monitor the rear, in addition to the view provided by outside rear-view mirrors. Parking assistance: a front radar supplements the rear radar for easy manoeuvring, with a camera. A blind spot warning device: a light in the side mirrors warns of the presence of a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. Extra security locks on rear and side doors to increase security in the loading area. A Medianav 4 multimedia system: a 7” multi-touch screen with an Android Auto & Apple CarPlay compatible smartphone replication, enabling telephone apps to be used whilst driving, a definite tick i the box to encourage hands-free phone use for operators.
There’s also a new interior layout. The dashboard features chrome accents, carbon fabric upholstery with white stitching, increased dashboard storage & a MediaNav4 multimedia system, which includes the option of SatNav, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay.
Customers can also add features with the following pack’s on offer;
Comfort Red pack, for increased driver comfort. This includes controlled air-con, a foldable 2-button key + hands-free opening & a closed overhead storage compartment.
Safety Red pack, for optimised safety, with Lane crossing warning, AEDS automatic braking, & an automatic high beam.
Or, the Delivery Red pack, tailored for freight logistics & featuring 270 degree rear door opening, wood & resin flooring & LED load area lighting.
The range is offered with carrying capacities from 3.1 – 6 tonnes GVW.
First up on our drive, was the 3T5 OptiTipper with Tool Pod, which featured the 145ps heavy duty EuroV1 engine & six-speed manual gearbox. Our test model had been specced with a Body Builder pack. Alloy construction with galvanised caged sides & an alloy floor, plus a GRP Tool Pod with internal shelving & a roller shutter with locks.
The new cabin is definitely an improvement over the old Master. It looks & feels solidly built & the addition of connected Apps in this version meant we could plug our iPhone in via the USB connection & listen to our favourite podcast & utilise Google Maps.
The engine is quiet & the six-speed manual gear box & clutch light & easy to use. All of the controls fall easily to hand & I was able to find a comfortable driving position despite the steering wheel adjustment only being up or down. The ride unladen was a little bouncy, as to be expected, whilst this version had decent puling power when accelerating. Indeed, we managed to average a combined 32.8 mpg on our journey, which is not bad at all.
After 30 miles on mainly A & B roads, we switched to an identically powered OptiTraffic, featuring alloy construction, galvanised supports & alloy floor. A 700mm show away step on the nearside offered access to the load area, with working at height bars, chapter 8 lighting & strobes. This too proved an enjoyable drive, although the infotainment system was the more basic version so no connected Apps. We drove this version along a stretch of the M5 & it cruises at motorway speeds comfortably. On our 30 mile trip, we averaged bang on 32mpg.
Next up was the Curtainsider, again fitted with the 144ps heavy duty EuroV1 engine & six-speed manual gearbox. This section of the drive was mainly in stop-start traffic along B roads & through the Cotswold towns of Buford & Chipping Norton. The high sides of 2075mm do course catch the wind & this version feels less steady on the road when unladen. It’s a large load career though, capable of taking six pallets in the rear. It’s offered with alloy construction rear doors, a phenolic floor, interior lights & came with a 3D air kit in the cab. Average economy for this version was 29.4 mpg.
Up last was the E20+ RWD panel van. Surprisingly, the Renault Truck Master panel van only accounts for 28% of sales, with the vast majority, 71% being conversions, with just 1% mini bus. We were testing a RWD version, with the RWD versions only accounting for a 12% of Master panel van sales. This also featured the 145ps heavy duty EuroV1 engine & six-speed manual gearbox. This version was the most enjoyable to drive. It felt quicker & more nimble than it’s conversion counterparts, ideal for motorway journeys or local deliveries with it’s L3H2 MWB measurements.
There are several other versions offered ; L3H2 E30+ LWB, LSH3 E30+ LWBL4H2 Extra LWB or even as a 4X4 with selective drive. So there is a version for everyone.
We drove this model from Chipping Norton back to Warwick along undulating B roads averaging 29.4 mpg. The FWD panel van was also driven as a L3H2 LWB van, fitted with the 150ps light duty engine & 6 speed manual gearbox. This was our fuel economy winner, averaging 37.8mpg on the 120 mile journey. This version is the Renault Truck Master most likely to trouble the Renault Yellow Master market & to our mind, the version we’d most like to drive every day.
Talking of which. Whilst the standard Master panel van you’ll see on the UK roads, is most likely to be from a Renault car Pro+ dealership, Renault Truck are at pains to point out to those of you reading this, that if you need to be looked after 24/7 & kept on the road, then Renault Trucks offer customers a tailored repair & maintenance contract, truck 24/7 service & opening hours & the know how of a truck manufacturer. All well worth considering when you next come to order your Master van.
A chance to drive almost the entire range of panel van & van conversions in one go, doesn’t come along very often & the Renault Master Red Edition vans didn’t disappoint. Whether you need a specialist conversion or just a plain old panel van load-lugger, the new Master comes better equipped, with more frugal engines than before.