The Trafic medium van is by some distance Renault’s best-selling light commercial in the UK, but last year, as it grew longer in the tooth, it lost ground with sales of 8,937, almost 40% down on 2017, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
This total still made it the UK’s 13th biggest-selling LCV, however, and kept it way ahead of its big brother, the Master, on sales of 3,960.
The Trafic’s influence on the van market extends far beyond the Renault badge on its nose, as it has been the donor model for the Nissan NV300, the Fiat Professional Talento and, most significantly in the UK, Vauxhall’s Vivaro.
The facelifted Trafic that arrives in UK showrooms in September is, in fact, the first iteration not to have been rebadged as a Vivaro since 2001 as Vauxhall’s new medium van is now based on the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert following the PSA Group’s takeover of the manufacturer.
Prices excluding VAT for the revised Trafic in panel van form start at £22,800 and rise as high as £30,050, while crew van prices range from £25,450 to £32,200.
Steve Wilson, Renault’s LCV range manager for the UK, says prices have increased by about £250 across the line-up compared to the pre-facelift vans. He also points out there are 53 versions of the latest van, a sizeable reduction compared to the 124 of the last version. He says this is intended to make it easier for customers to identify the variant that best suits their requirements, while still offering plenty of choice. Three trim levels are offered: Business, Business+ and Sport.
The exterior changes to the facelifted Trafic include a revised grille, new LED headlights and the C-shaped lighting signature, while the cabin gets an updated dashboard design, a new gear knob and new upholstery.
R-Link Evolution infotainment is available, compatible with Android Auto, or Media Nav Evolution is compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. There’s also a new single DIN stereo with a new microphone for better call quality, with digital radio optional.
The refreshed model comes with a new three-button folding key or a Renault hands-free card with single door opening option.
Driver assistance systems include front and rear parking sensors with a rear parking camera, and trailer swing assist. There’s also a wide-view mirror acting as a blind-spot mirror in the passenger sunvisor, an innovation carried over from the introduction of the third-generation Trafic in 2014.
While the fit and finish may not be quite up to Volkswagen standards, the lid on a dashboard-top tray was slightly askew, for example, the build quality overall is of a high standard.
There is no shortage of storage space – 90 litres, according to Renault, including under-passenger seat space of 54 litres – and the middle seat back folds down to make a useful table for a laptop.
Driven here is the 145hp L1H1 Trafic with the EDC transmission in left-hand drive, so equipment levels may not dovetail with UK specifications but the van we tested corresponded closely to Business+ trim with the new touchscreen and latest chrome and dark carbon colour scheme in the cabin.
The 2019 Trafic gets a new range of 2.0-litre diesel engines with outputs ranging from 120hp to 170hp, which Renault says offer reduced fuel consumption compared with the previous 1.6-litre units. All the latest engines comply with Euro6D-Temp standards.
Perhaps most significantly, a six-speed EDC automatic gearbox option has also been added to the range to provide an alternative to the six-speed manual.
The cargo bay came with the new, more powerful LED lighting and an optional polypropylene lining lining as well as a load weighing 440kg. It is accessed by twin rear doors and, commendably, near and offside doors to make loading easier.
There is no lack of comfort and refinement when driving and the EDC transmission impresses in both urban settings when taking the strain out of negotiating routes strewn with roundabouts and traffic lights but also on motorways and winding hillside roads where slick changes combine well with the 145hp powertrain, which didn’t need to break sweat to cope with the weight in the back.
Renault Trafic L1H1 Energy dCi 145 EDC
Price (ex VAT) £27,250
Price range (ex VAT) £22,800-£32,200
Insurance group tbc
Warranty 4yrs/100, 000 miles
Service intervals 25, 000 miles
Load length 2,537mm
Load width (min/max) 1,268/1,662mm
Load bay height 1,320mm
Gross payload 1,177kg (est)
Load volume 5.2m3
Engine size/power 1,997cc/145hp
Combined fuel economy 52.3mpg (est.)
CO2 181 g/km (est.)
A refined and practical van that is made more attractive with the addition of automatic transmission.