Renault’s mid-sized van contender, the Trafic has just expanded its horizons with the addition of a second row of seats. Traditionally the domain of couriers and tradies, this commercial van is now an option for those who want a dual purpose vehicle that works during the week yet can haul friends and family in comfort after hours.
What Stands Out
The Trafic Crew has room for up to six people yet still has four cubic metres of cargo space and can carry 1100 kilos. And if you want, you can even tow a couple of tons behind it. Seating in the rear is provided by three bucket-style seats and there’s a bulkhead separating the load area from the passenger compartment. It’s like a dual cab ute, but for van people.
A twin-turbo 1.6-litre diesel engine drives the front wheels and punches above its weight in terms of power output, but Renault reckons it’s a frugal sipper of diesel claiming just 6.2L/100km combined economy. It’s a quiet and sophisticated little engine that even manages to make a mildly satisfying turbo whistle when working. The big bug bear for some is the fact there’s no auto option. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available, but that said it’s a pretty slick shifter.
A Premium Pack adds some bling and equipment including a 7-inch touch screen multi-media unit with sat-nav and alloy wheels. But there’s also a Lifestyle pack that really aims to turn the working Trafic into something that could be used as a family car. Higher quality trim, climate control and LED courtesy lighting, plus rear 12-volt power outlets and even speakers in the rear help make the Trafic Lifestyle less van and more wagon.
Up front there’s the option of either two bucket seats or a three-seater bench. One thing the Trafic most certainly does have is lots of little storage nooks and crannies. The rear view camera displays in the rear view mirror, which when you think about it makes perfect sense.
Rear seat ventilation is either from the rear sliding windows or the air con up front. There are no vents back there. Additional storage space is also available via the lift up rear seats. Getting in and out of the Trafic is pretty easy, though a couple of grab handles wouldn’t go astray up front.
If you need to haul both loads and people at the same time a crew van makes a lot of sense. They ride better than a ute and in some cases are cheaper to buy and run, they also offer more load space. The Trafic Crew has three levels of trim that should satisfy most buyers, from the work every day tradie, to those who have family and lifestyle commitments.
Regardless of trim level, the Trafic Crew makes a lot of sense as a dual purpose workhorse. It doesn’t have the bravado of a dual cab ute but it’s layout does have a lot of smarts.
There’s a lot of usable space yet it can accommodate passengers with relative comfort. The Trafic’s little turbo engine is frugal but torquey enough to make it useful around town and on the open road. The lack of an automatic transmission means that some buyers will just keep walking.
But if you’re prepared to take a closer look at this Renault, you might be surprised.