Renault heavily revised its Trafic medium van in 2019 and, following its debut in continental Europe in the summer, the right-hand drive version arrived in the UK in the third quarter of last year.
The pre-facelifted Trafic’s influence spread far and wide in the UK market – beyond its own high profile it also provided the platform for the Nissan NV300, the Fiat Professional Talento and Vauxhall’s big-selling Vivaro. While the latest Trafic will continue to be rebadged as an NV300, the new Vivaro is now based on the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch, as a consequence of PSA’s acquisition of Vauxhall, and the Talento could potentially follow the same path with PSA in the process of completing a 50/50 merger with the Fiat Chrysler group.
The facelifted Trafic sports a revised front end with LED headlamps incorporated into a C-shaped lighting signature that fits into Renault’s new design language. A more assertive appearance is achieved with a bolder grille featuring a new high-gloss logo surround and a chrome finishing strip.
Three trim levels are available, Business, Business+ and Sport, and power comes from new 2.0-litre turbocharged dCi engines with outputs of 120hp, 145hp and 170hp. Renault says these Euro6d-Temp units deliver improved fuel consumption compared to the previous 1.6-litre engines. A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard but the 145hp and 170hp engines are also up for grabs with a new six-speed EDC (efficient dual-clutch) auto, which we can vouch for as a smooth, fast-shifting device, having tried it in a left-hand drive Trafic last year.
Driven here, though, is a Trafic Sport with the 145hp engine married to the six-speed manual gearbox.
It’s a tidy-looking van with metallic paint (a £450 option – all prices exclude VAT), body-coloured front bumper, door mirrors, door rail and rear tail light column, plus 17in alloy wheels adding to its appeal.
Sliding doors on both sides of the body are a welcome feature and the load box can also be reached via unglazed rear doors opening to 180°. New LED lighting illuminates the cargo area and our van came with reinforced resin-coated plylining to protect the interior sides and floor, which is useful, but expensive at £730. A 12V power socket was a £30 extra in the load box of our van.
A full steel bulkhead with a load-through facility for long items like ladders protects the cab from unsecured goods in the load bay, and roof bar fixings mean you can also carry equipment on top.
The cabin itself is well laid out and offers plenty of storage space, up to 90 litres, according to Renault, including 54 litres underneath the passenger bench seat. The middle seat back folds down to create a table with a detachable A4 clipboard and laptop storage. There are also three cup holders and a closeable dashboard compartment but the smartphone holder is too small to accommodate new(ish) iPhones.
A height-adjustable driver’s seat with an armrest and lumbar support is comfy and combines with a reach- and rake-adjustable steering wheel, (leather-coated in Sports trim) to make it easy to find the best driving position, which is high enough to provide good visibility.
Our van came with the R-Link Evolution infotainment package for £365, which comprises a 7in touchscreen, DAB radio, two 20W speakers, satnav, Bluetooth and USB and aux sockets.
Sport derivatives get much of this kit anyway so it makes more sense as an option on lower trim derivatives.
Power-assisted steering is sharp and responsive, and the snappy manual gearbox gets the most out of the perky 145hp engine, which has stop/start as standard, although the EDC would be our preferred option for covering a mixture of urban and out-of-town routes. Rear parking sensors are part of the package on Business+ and Sport but for added protection our van came with an excellent rear parking camera for £250.
Renault Trafic SL28 Energy dCi 145 Sport
Price (ex VAT) £26,250
Price range (ex VAT) £22,800-£32,200
Insurance group 40A
Service intervals 25, 000mls
Load length 2,537mm
Load width (min/max) 1,268/1,662mm
Load bay height 1,320mm
Gross payload 1,052kg
Load volume 5.2m3
Engine size/power 1,997cc/145hp
Combined fuel economy 52.3mpg
Impressive new engines add to the appeal of this sophisticated and competent medium van