Steve Banner finds the Master’s generous load bay is a great place to store stuff but rough roads provoke too many squeaks and rattles
If you desperately need to clear out an attic or a domestic garage, and the local council tip is shut thanks to the coronavirus, then where do you put all the stuff you want to get rid of? You can always dump it in the back of your van while you wait for the lockdown to be relaxed and the tip to reopen.
That, of course, presupposes that there is enough room for the accumulated junk as well as all the items you need to carry around with you during the course of your daily working life (assuming that Covid-19 has not obliged you to cease trading temporarily). Happily, our long-term test Renault has a 13.0m3 cargo area, so space isn’t that much of an issue.
Nor is gaining access to it. Our Master comes with a big rear door aperture with full-height doors that can be swung through 270° – an option – along with an optional offside sliding load bay door as well as a nearside door.
What is more, it happens to be front-wheel drive, which means a low loading height – not that cardboard packaging or an elderly outdoor vacuum cleaner used for sucking up leaves are all that heavy.
A schematic on the dashboard lets you know if you’ve left any of the Master’s doors open, and tells you which ones you have failed to close. If you remember to look at it then you won’t drive a couple of miles without shutting the back doors before realising your mistake – which is precisely what I did.
Happily, none of the aforementioned load was shed.
When I park the van and leave it I do, of course, ensure all the doors are closed, the windows are wound up and the vehicle is locked. I even check that the bonnet is shut.
Unfortunately, all this care has not prevented the alarm from triggering twice for no readily apparent reason.
On neither occasion was a gale blowing, there was no indication that anybody had tried to break in, and there was nothing moving around inside the van that might have set it off. A mystery.
The Covid-19 onslaught has meant that the Master has covered fewer miles than usual in recent weeks. Most of them have been on Herefordshire’s patched and pot-holed B-roads.
While the ride over them is by no means poor, they provoke a lot of squeaking, creaking and rattling, more so with the Master than with some of its rivals. As a consequence, I’m periodically seized by an overwhelming, and probably irrational, urge to grab a screwdriver and go round and tighten everything up.
I hate to say it, Renault, but I seem to recall driving Volkswagen Crafters and Mercedes-Benz Sprinters down the same highways and I’m sure they didn’t complain half as much.
While the rattling remains an irritation for the van’s regular driver and co-driver, they are soothed by the Master’s comfortable seats. The driver’s seat and the single passenger seat can both be adjusted for height as well as reach
and rake, and boast lumbar adjustment as well.
Returning to what to do with domestic rubbish if your council tip is likely to remain locked for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak, I’m sure that What Van? readers would never for one moment consider driving out into the countryside and dumping it somewhere. Bear in mind that fly-tipping is a criminal offence and that perpetrators face hefty fines and even a prison sentence on conviction. And their van can be seized.
Not a great outcome if you’re looking to restart your business post-lockdown.
Report card: Build quality = 3/5
Too many squeaks.
Renault Master LM35 dCi 150 Business+
Official combined fuel economy 47.1mpg
Our average consumption 43.0mpg (est)
Price range £26,350-£37,020
Price (ex VAT) £33,000
Service intervals 2yrs/25,000mls
Load length 3,733mm
Load width (min/max) 1,380/1,765mm
Load cube 13,0m3
Gross payload 1,359kg
Engine size/power 2,298cc/150hp