Long Term Test: Renault Master - September 2012

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Due to the ease with which all manner of items can be loaded, the Master has been doubling as an external attic, writes Steve Banner

Park a van on your drive for any length of time and there is a danger that its load area will accumulate all sorts of junk and be treated, in effect, as a sort of ground-floor attic. As a consequence our Master’s cargo bay now plays host to an ancient satellite dish accompanied by lengths of equally decrepit cable, a large and rapidly disintegrating mat, a chair that is long past its sell-by date…the list goes on.
All of this rubbish is ultimately destined for the local council tip – when we get round to it.
The fact that so much has been allowed to accumulate is a tribute to the ease with which the Master can be loaded – front-wheel drive means a low loading height – and the fact that the cargo box is accessible from three sides. But it presents dangers: the items concerned don’t weigh all that much either individually or cumulatively, but any extra weight is bound to have some affect on consumption, plus if you cram in too much (we’re talking more about heavy tools, large metal components and so on) you may be in danger of over-loading your vehicle.
With a few thousand miles on the clock the Master has loosened up nicely, as a trip from Herefordshire to the Tip-ex tipper show in Harrogate recently proved. If anything the handling and ride seem to be getting better, and the squeaks and groans complained of previously appear to have vanished – for now at any rate.
Parking a high-roof van in the centre of somewhere like Harrogate when there is an exhibition on can be a struggle – multi-storey car parks tend to be a no-no – and we ended up wriggling into a tight on-street parking bay. It was here that the Master’s manoeuvrability came into its own as did its rear parking sensors, which are standard with our van’s Sport trim.
A couple of weeks later we were almost as appreciative of the ability to swing the twin rear doors through 270º and latch them against the van’s side – a feature included in the van’s Loading Pack – as we manoeuvred some computer equipment on board at the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre just outside Bristol. Once again, the low loading height was welcomed.
Something else that is appreciated is the ability to pull up the passenger seat cushions and shove various bits and pieces into the large void underneath. We’ll just have to make sure we don’t cram in too much: tempting though it is.



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