Long Term Test: Renault Master - July 2012

Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Renault seems to be Master-ing the art of keeping its driver happy, both to drive and to live with. Steve Banner reports

The more we get used to our long-term Master, the more impressed we are by its handling. Punting it along a twisting stretch of the A40 on the Herefordshire/ Gloucestershire border recently, we were again agreeably surprised by just how well it clings onto the road when pushed hard through bends, with plenty of feedback through the steering.
Nor does it wallow and sway around all over the place unlike some rival vans of its size we can think of: vans whose suspension appears to be constructed entirely out of blancmange. Furthermore, the Master’s suspension seems to have got to grips with the umpteen imperfections that bedevil Britain’s fast-disintegrating road surfaces, and provides a comfortable ride.
We should also utter a word or two of praise once again for the driving position. With plenty of head and shoulder room, it’s really comfortable, and there’s no shortage of legroom either.
On the downside, the intermittent creaking from the cargo area – it seems to emanate from somewhere near the base of the bulkhead – has now been joined by an intermittent creaking from beneath the driver’s seat, and the regular driver swears it is not because he has put on weight. Investigations have so far failed to find the root cause.
Accentuating the positive again, while we’d be the first to agree that looks aren’t everything – factors such as reliability, fuel economy and the ability to carry whatever you need to shift are all far more important – there is no denying that the Master Sport is a handsome van. The alloy wheels and the glittering paint finish probably help, although we’re always wary of specifying alloys on a van because of the battering they risk receiving during a typical working day, especially if the driver is on a multi-drop city centre delivery run.
Happily, we’ve yet to scrape or dent ours, although in saying that we’re probably tempting fate, especially given that a trot round Bristol city centre is in the offing.
Something that would definitely be tempting fate would be to switch off the beeping that warns the driver of the presence of speed cameras. It can grow irritating after a while, but far more irritating is the nasty letter that pops through the letter box heralding a likely three points on your licence plus a fine.
Accompanied by the mockery of your colleagues, it would spoil your entire day.



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