On the face of it specifying a camera that gives you a full, real-time view of everything that is behind you when the van is in motion makes sense.
Admittedly, it’s a pricey £800 option on our Master, but from the safety viewpoint opting for it must be a wise step…
Sorry Renault, but I’m not convinced that it is.
The image it delivers appears on a display near the top of the windscreen. During daylight hours it is clear enough, but promptly vanishes whenever you engage reverse gear; in other words, when you need it the most.
I cannot for the life of me understand why the manufacturer hasn’t combined the permanent rear-view camera with a reversing camera. It is a bizarre omission that surely needs rectifying.
While being able to see who is following along directly behind you is useful given that our Master is fitted with opaque rear doors, it is not essential. After all, the van comes with a pair of large, adjustable, exterior rear-view mirrors with a lower wide-angle section, not to mention one of the cleverest and most cost-effective safety devices I have ever encountered.
I’m referring to the wide-angle mirror housed in the passenger-side sun visor that allows the driver to see if there is anything hidden in the van’s nearside blind spot. It should help ensure that a cyclist sitting there isn’t flattened if the driver turns left at a junction. Our Master is also fitted with an optional electronic blind spot monitoring system, which does seem like money well spent.
A permanent rear-view camera can certainly give you early warning of a vehicle approaching you at speed. However, there is always the danger that you will become so fascinated by what is happening on the highway behind you that you won’t be keeping an eye on the highway ahead; yet another example of distracted driving.
Happily, our Master boasts optional AEBS – advanced emergency braking system – which should help ensure you don’t come to grief. Again, money well spent, but its presence certainly does not mean that you can stop watching where you are going.
Looking around the cab, I’m impressed by the amount of storage space it provides for all the bits and bobs drivers carry around with them, and I quite like the two-seater set-up.
Admittedly, it means you cannot avail yourself of the concealed under-seat storage you get with a three-seater cab, which you can use to hide valuable power tools or a tablet. Nor can you make use of the fold-down table offered by the three-seat configuration.
However, there is enough space between the seats to accommodate a large tool box plus an anorak and a pair of boots, and the distance between the driver’s seat and the single passenger seat means you can achieve a bit of (if we’re honest, not terribly effective) social isolation.
Report Card: Cab = 4/5
The Master’s cabin is roomy and well thought out.
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
Passenger seat height & lumbar adjustment £60
LED loadspace lighting £100
Blind Spot Monitoring £250
Cruise control with speed limiter £250
Rear doors, unglazed, 270° £250
Right side loading door £300
Rear step £350
MediaNav multimedia system £360
Metallic paint £450
Advanced emergency braking £490
Permanent rear-view camera £800
Load area lining £900