Long Term Test: Renault Master - March 2012

Date: Friday, March 23, 2012

Steve Banner is making our long-term Renault Master Sport work hard for its money, and has uncovered a glitch with a switch.

Our long-term Renault Master Sport is already proving its worth as a workhorse. It has happily shifted mountains of packaging material – the sort of stuff that surrounds shower trays, taps, wash basins and so on, in addition to boxes of tiles, several rolls of carpet and a heavy and not very cooperative table.
The presence of a sliding door on each side of the body, not to mention rear doors that can be swung through 270° and latched against the van’s sides, has been a boon when loading and unloading. Front-wheel drive means a low cargo bed, and that has made manoeuvring cargo in and out easier too.
The switch most van drivers make the greatest use of is the one that makes the hazard warning lights flash. When the Master’s was pressed for the first time however, the lights could not be switched off. We tried everything to persuade the switch to pop back into the off position, but nothing seemed to do the trick until in desperation we resorted to a London Underground ticket folded in two. We wiggled that about a bit, and the lights eventually went off. We haven’t pressed the switch since, which is inconvenient since (as every good van driver knows) putting the hazards on magically gives you immunity from receiving a parking ticket while you are making a city-centre delivery!
Meanwhile, hooligans are found everywhere, including rural Herefordshire. On a narrow country lane one of the county’s umpteen Land Rover Defenders coming full tilt (which in a Defender’s case probably means about 20mph) the other way forced us to dive for the nearest hedge. We were rewarded by a loud bang as the nearside mirror walloped a tree, knocking the glass out in the process and depositing it in a ditch. Happily, the mud broke its fall, we were able to pop it back into place with ease, and (to our surprise) the electric adjustment still works. The mirror’s casing was undamaged. Impressive.
We like the Master’s comfortable driving position (which offers good vision ahead and to either side), the in-cab storage space provided, and the willing 125hp engine too, although its 150hp stablemate would be more welcome on long motorway runs.
Indeed, we like Master even more than we expected to. Let’s hope the love affair lasts.



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