Thanks to a major upgrade to the Master towards the end of 2003 and Euro 4 revisions to the engine line-up in 2006, the Master is managing to keep up.
In 2003 the front-end was redesigned, but the major changes took place beneath the metal. Anti-lock brakes were standardised across the range, the gearlever was moved to the facia and there’s now a choice of three common rail dCi engines. Three versions of the same 2.5-litre found in the Trafic are up for grabs; one producing 100 bhp, another at 120 bhp and the range-topper (replacing the old 3-litre) manages 150 bhp. All three drive the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and are refined with plenty of torque.
There is a choice of three wheelbases and roof heights which results in load areas ranging from 8.0m3 to 13.9m3 while payloads start at 1,043kg and go up to 1,691kg. Gross vehicle weights of 2.8t, 3.3t and 3.5t are available. Rear doors that can be swung through 270° and latched against the van’s sides using magnetic catches are an option.
The cab remains basically the same and although it is more comfortable and better designed than that of the pre- 2003 predecessors, it is reaching the stage where a complete redesign is becoming necessary. You can adjust the driver's seat for height, reach and rake, and it's equipped with an inboard armrest too. Standard specification is good. On top of ABS there’s a driver’s airbag, power steering, remote central locking and a volumetric alarm.
Servicing is required every 18,000 miles for the 1.9 and at 25,000 mile intervals for the rest.
Master is beginning to feel a bit dated compared to the newer competition, but, it has a reasonable specification and a good engine line-up.