TRAFIC GOES LONG WAY TO TAKING ON FAMILY’S NEEDS

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After 18 consecutive years as Europe’s number one van maker, it could have been hard to come up with something new. Renault has done just that, combining a people mover and van in one vehicle.

At almost five-and-a-half metres, the long wheelbase twin turbo Trafic Crew people mover-cum-load carrier, with a second row of seats, retains a full four cubic metres of cargo capacity, more than one tonne of payload and the ability to tow up to two tonnes.

The Trafic Crew is also available to special order with two front bucket seats, in place of the standard driver and dual front bench set-up, while a Premium Pack adds such things as 17-inch alloy wheels, multi-media with 7-inch touch screen and satellite navigation, heated front seats and heavy duty 800A battery.

To cap it all, the Trafic Crew Lifestyle model also adds dual glazed side sliding doors with windows that open, hands-free entry via card and automatic climate control.

Prices start at $42,990, plus on road costs, for the entry-level Trafic Crew – just $3500 more than the LWB van – and top off at $45,980 for the Trafic Crew Lifestyle. On test was the Trafic dCi 140 Energy Crew six-speed manual Lifestyle model with the special order pair of front bucket seats.

STYLING
Basic Trafic looks are far from stretched by the long wheelbase version. Everything appears in proportion. The Trafic Lifestyle’s 17-inch Cyclade alloy wheels play a part, giving the van a design lift.

Following modern trends the front bumper matches the body colour, door rail, rear tail light column and door mirrors. A gloss black Renault logo surround contrasts with a chrome radiator grille.

As mentioned, a Premium Pack and Lifestyle additions make for a range of stylish looks for the people mover-cum-van.

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INTERIOR
Inside the passenger compartment is a premium dashboard with lidded storage compartment, chrome-plated instrument panel rings, glossy black side air vent surrounds, chrome-plated gear knob trim, leather covered gear knob and chrome-plated speaker surround.

Heated front seats (the passenger bench cannot be heated) and climate control air-conditioning keep the weather out and comfort in.

INFOTAINMENT
Central to the upper dashboard is a 7.0-inch touchscreen multimedia and navigation system with 20W audio. A hands-free key card operates the push-button engine start from a slot in the dash.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The powerful Renault 103 kW twin turbo diesel engine continues to be available in both short and long wheelbase Trafic Crew variants, offering peak torque of 340 Nm at 1500 rpm, with all models mated with a slick shifting six-speed manual transmission.

SAFETY
As well as airbags all round, including curtain airbags, Renault Trafic Crew includes anti-lock braking with electronic brake variation, brake assist and electronic stability control with load adaptive control.

Added to this are anti roll-over protection, grip X-tend and a hillstart assist system.

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DRIVING
Getting into a Renault Trafic Crew Lifestyle can be a bigger step than imagined, especially for driver and front seat passenger who are tested by the lack of a grab handle. The driver can use the steering wheel to pull him or herself up; the passenger is not so lucky.

Rear seat occupants, on the other hand, are well catered for by a pair of wide sliding side doors and grab handles, plus a non-slip floor covering. The rear seats recline, side windows have sun blinds and open, and each passenger has an LED roof light and the benefit of two roof mounted speakers.

The bulkhead cuts out excessive road and wind noise getting into the cabin and enables efficient climate control around all occupants. The powerful 103 kW twin turbo diesel engine presented few audible distractions to in-cabin conversation.
Dual rear doors with windows have 180 degree opening offer easy access to the loading area. Doors with 270 degree opening for closer approach to the dock are an option. Six cargo anchorage points are standard.

With peak torque of 340 Nm coming up at 1500 rpm, the six-speed manual transmission had little trouble coping with inner-city traffic or motorway cruising. Fuel consumption on test was recorded at just 4.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway and 10-plus around town.

The ride and handling of the Trafic Crew was assured, which is only to be expected with a longer wheelbase making for a more stable stance and stiffer and sharper reacting suspension. Full driver attention was needed on cornering, however.

Off the mark, the empty van did not hang about, in one instance spinning the wheels in damp conditions, to the driver’s embarrassment. The long wheelbase and monster turning circle presented the usual problems when parking but the windows in the side doors reduced blind spot areas.

Rear parking sensors chip in with audible warnings of close objects, while the reversing camera image is projected onto a small section of the interior rear-view mirror with not-the-clearest image.

Renault does not leave its LCV owners out on a limb, with a three-year / 200,000km warranty, three-year roadside assistance, capped price servicing ($349) for the first three scheduled services and Renault financial services, including insurance.

SUMMING UP
Even if the Trafic owner brings work home there is still room in the van to take the family out for dinner or to the movies. On the other hand, it is a constant reminder of what he or she has to do the following day, which may be far from relaxing.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Renault Trafic Crew $42,990
Renault Trafic Crew with Premium Pack $45,480brings his work home there is still room to take the family
Renault Trafic Crew Lifestyle $45,980
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Trafic Crew Lifestyle 1.6-litre twin turbo-diesel LCV)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 103 kW @ 3500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 340 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 164 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5399 mm
Wheelbase: 3498 mm
Width: 2283 mm (including mirrors)
Height: 1971 mm
Turning Circle: 13.17 metres
Kerb Mass: 1822 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Solid disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years / 200,000 km

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