We video test the 2018 Renault Trafic
Style and flair are two words you wouldn’t normally associate with white vans, but with a Renault, it seems you can have your croissant and eat it too.
This is the third outing for the Renault Trafic and its definitely a case of third time’s the charm. Renault has held the accolade of Europe’s best-selling van range for 18 years, and while the oddly named brand is a bit of a best kept secret here, the Trafic is certainly worth crowing about.
In this version – the “tradie’s pick” – there’s a lot to love, and it also comes in the Black Edition or the yet-to-be-priced Crew Cab, which gives a happy combo of six-seats and secure cargo space. But for those hunting a hauler with a dash of panache, the Tradie’s Trafic is le business.
Trafic gives you a 6 cubic metre load space, with access from both sides through simply monstrous side sliding doors, which you can have as glazed or blind panel. At le rear, two big, barn-style doors with 270-degree opening ability, afford easy access with a low load height.
The cargo bay is lined, lit and boasts a stunning array of load points, as well as a sophisticated through-the-bulkhead-under-the-front-seat-to-the-firewall stowage system for those times presumably, when you want to carry a deconstructed Eiffel Tower.
The cabin is a wonderland of clever cubby spaces and concealed tricks. The centre seat of three does the fold down trick to reveal a pop-out clip board, yet another cup holder and a stash spot for a slim laptop or tablet, complete with Velcro straps.
Multifunctional centre seat not with sitting, the two main crew accommodations are very comfortable places to be, largely because the French marque has worked out that those who buy vans tend to spend a lot of time in them.
I’m picking they’d be as comfortable as each other, but my time was spent in the right seat, giving me access to all the toys, like the cruise control and speed limiter, multifunctional trip computer, audio system (steering wheel mounted controls) the Bluetooth connectivity, the automatic engine start and stop system and oh yes, my own cup holder.
You’ll want to know how safe you’ll be in the Trafic? You do have ABS with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, just as you get electronic stability control and hill start assist. Renault’s RAID (anti intruder device) secures all doors once the vehicle reaches 30km/h, while front airbags form a second line of defence after the long crumple zone of the bonnet.
That long bonnet is also home to automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, and its also your first taste of that style and flair we mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, a white van is pretty much a white van and there’s only so much you can do to make it appealing or stylish.
The Renault Trafic is distinctive, daring with restraint, and it delivers, thanks to its twin turbocharged 1.6-litre diesel with a six-speed manual transmission, all the while sipping just 6.2 l/100km of fuel.
With that combination and a 3498mm wheelbase, the Trafic is something of a Le Mans racer in van land, and its handling is astonishing, considering the vehicle’s purpose.
Just quietly, I reckon Renault’s top van laurels are safe for another few years at least if the Trafic is any indication.
For more information visit https://www.renault.co.nz/vehicles/trafic/