Renault had a large gap in its light commercial vehicle range following the demise of the original Trafic. This all changed with the introduction of the all-new Trafic in 2001, the result of joint-venture with Vauxhall (Vivaro) and built in Luton. It’s also on sale badged as a Nissan Primastar.
Beneath the striking bodyshell lurks a new state-of-the-art 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel (dCi), available with two power outputs; 90hp and 115hp. Peak torque of 240Nm and 290Nm occurs at 2,000rpm respectively. The most powerful engine in the range, a reworked version of the existing 2.5-litre dCi, offers 150hp with 317Nm of torque on tap at 1,600rpm. A
120hp 2-litre petrol is also available.
The diesels are refined with plenty of torque available across the rev range, except low down for some reason. The figures say this should not be the case, but out on the road it is. They are also remarkably quiet and free of vibration. The six-speed ’box provides a very slick gearchange. Ride and handling are right up there with the best and the power steering is perfectly weighted and responsive. The cab is an ergonomic delight with a good driving position and bags of storage space.
Trafic is available in short-wheelbase, standard roof configuration which gives a load capacity of 5.0m3. A nearside sliding door is fitted as standard. The long-wheelbase variants boast a 5.9m3 cargo box with an extra 400mm of load length and will handle payloads of up to 1,212kg. Standard specification is very high with remote central locking, power steering, driver’s airbag and radio/CD player. Servicing is required every 18,000 miles.
Striking styling, a good range of uprated Euro 4 engines and the choice of two wheelbases and roof heights make the Trafic a real winner.