A front-wheel drive Renault Master van in Sport specification is the latest addition to What Van?’s long-term test fleet.
In medium wheelbase, medium height guise, and with a 2.3-litre 125hp dCi diesel under the bonnet married to a six-speed manual gearbox, it offers a 10.8m³ cargo area and can handle a gross payload of 1610kg: not bad for a modern 3.5-tonner.
While we remain disappointed that Renault has not seen fit to make Electronic Stability Control standard – it is, after all, standard on rear-wheel drive models – the level of equipment provided is otherwise high.
ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution is a feature of all Masters, while models in standard trim come with Carminat TomTom live satnav, Bluetooth, and an MP3-compatible radio/CD player. Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors and electric windows are included too.
Step up to Sport trim and you benefit from manual aircon, Star Grey (ie silver) metallic paint with body-coloured front bumpers and door mirror casings, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloys and cruise control among other goodies. In addition our test van boasts an optional offside sliding side door as well as a nearside one plus rear doors that can be optionally swung through 270º. That’s because it is equipped with an £800 Loading Pack that includes one or two other extras such as a three-button remote.
On initial inspection we like what we see. In Sport trim the Master looks smart and stylish, and the cab offers an astonishing amount of storage space. The rear parking sensors should ensure we  do not pick up too many dents and scrapes when reversing while cruise control should reduce our
risk of picking up speeding tickets. So should the tell-tale beeping
from the satnav as we approach speed cameras.
We are not quite so sure about those alloy wheels though. They look smart now, but we suspect that a multi-drop delivery run around a city like Bristol or Gloucester would soon leave them with a few nasty – and expensive – scrapes. We’ll just have to be careful…