Renault Trafic panel van review
Our Rating

4/5

Renault Trafic panel van review

As one of the continent’s best-selling commercial vehicle manufacturers, Renault’s Trafic does a good job against the mainstays in the segment like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Vito. But how does the newer model compare to the its rivals?

Introduction

The mid-size light van market is full of models that have gained a reputation as being reliable and dependable – the Ford Transit, the Mercedes-Benz Vito and the Volkswagen Transporter.

But Renault has one that is a great challenger, too, and the Trafic has been a great choice since it was introduced back in 1981.

Now in its third generation, it is also on the same chassis as the Vauxhall Vivaro, Nissan NV300 and Fiat Talento, which have all given the Renault more competition on the market.

So, how does this Trafic compare to its rivals and just how practical is it as a commercial vehicle? Let’s find out…

2014 Renault Trafic panel van
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Performance

Although performance isn’t going to be the main focus when buying a van, it is a considerable factor especially if you’ll be using it every day. All four power options come from the same 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel unit, with states of tune ranging from an underpowered 93bhp in the single-turbo unit up to 142bhp in the twin-turbocharged engine.

We tested the dCi 125, which is a 123bhp unit that can get you from 0-60mph in a leisurely 11.9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 108mph. The engines are definitely suited for haulage – and even though the 320Nm of torque doesn’t sound like a lot, the dCi 125 does an excellent job. The gearbox, however, feels a bit loose and it could definitely be better.

2014 Renault Trafic panel van

Ride & Handling

Commercial vehicles aren’t known for their handling prowess, but the Trafic is nicely balanced and quite simple to drive. Due to the high sides, body roll is inevitable and as the suspension is softly sprung to offer a comfortable ride, it is quite obvious.

However, the Trafic is more car-like than most other vans on the market thanks to its well-weighted steering and responsive controls, which comes in very handy on longer journeys. The seating position is high so you get a good view of the road ahead and with the adjustable steering column and seats, you will easily find a position that you are comfortable with when driving.

2014 Renault Trafic panel van

Interior & Equipment

With the interior, you will find a dashboard and cockpit design that is lifted straight from the Clio hatchback. But that means the user-friendly R-Link central touchscreen is fitted on higher trim levels – like the Sport version we tested – and easy-to-read dials in the instrument binnacle.

But the main reason why you would buy a Trafic – or any van for that matter – is the space on offer in the rear compartment, and the Renault has plenty to offer. With 5.2m3 of carrying space behind the three front seats, the Trafic is ludicrously practical, with a payload of just over a tonne available – which can come in very handy indeed. In the long-wheelbase version, you can get 6m3 of area in the back, with high-top options getting over 8m3 in the rear.

The Sport model we tested came with DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity, a leather steering wheel, electric windows, cloth upholstery, front fog lights, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Metallic paint and body-coloured wing mirrors also come as standard with Sport trim, but lower trim levels are nowhere near as well-equipped and the experience can be pretty spartan otherwise.

2014 Renault Trafic panel van

Cost

Prices for the Trafic start from £20,900 – which puts it in the firing liner of the VW Transporter and the Ford Transit. Sport models having an on-the-road price of £24,500, but the one we tested due to optional extras came to £26,355, which may be a bit too much to pay for some people.

Running costs, however, are quite reasonable as insurance costs aren’t too steep and fuel efficiency is also quite good for a van at 47.9mpg.

2014 Renault Trafic panel van

Cost

Prices for the Trafic start from £20,900 – which puts it in the firing liner of the VW Transporter and the Ford Transit. Sport models having an on-the-road price of £24,500, but the one we tested due to optional extras came to £26,355, which may be a bit too much to pay for some people.

Running costs, however, are quite reasonable as insurance costs aren’t too steep and fuel efficiency is also quite good for a van at 47.9mpg.

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