How tall is your van? Can it really squeeze under that car park height barrier? Or are you in danger of ripping the roof off and turning it into a convertible?

It was with those thoughts in mind that we approached a multi- storey car park close to Heathrow Airport’s shiny new terminal 2 with a 2.2m height restriction.

Would we be able to slip under that forbidding-looking steel cross- piece? Or would we be rewarded by a nasty crunching sound as we got ourselves embarrassingly stuck?

As it happens, we needn’t have worried. Our short- wheelbase standard-roof trafic is a smidgeon over 1.97m high so we were perfectly safe; and that has turned out to be a valuable bit of information.

What it means is that we can park the trafic in a lot more places than we thought we could. Working on a 2.1m height as a rough guide to allow for inaccuracies in the barrier measurement, we have now been able to slip into car parks that we would otherwise have avoided.

That’s a boon if you are venturing into a town centre and cannot find an on-street parking space and do not want to leave your van on double yellow lines.

Once you are inside a multi-storey you are almost pathetically grateful for Trafic’s manoeuvrability, especially if you have to negotiate one of those tight spiral ramps; ramps that might cause you difficulties if you happened to be driving its long-wheelbase stable-mate. the reversing sensors come in handy too if you are trying to back into a tight parking space and the car park is badly-lit.

Parking versatility is perhaps an argument that should be brought to bear more frequently when it comes to van selection.

Ask yourself what is more important to you; a high roof with extra carrying capacity that you may seldom if ever use or the ability to park slap-bang in a city centre without hindrance?

If you are proposing to park where you have never parked before however, then put a notice on the dashboard reminding you of just how much overhead clearance you have got. Failure to do so could turn out to be an expensive mistake.

Remember too that if you have a roof rack fitted – possibly complete with ladders and pipe tubes – then you have made your vehicle just that little bit higher. the last thing you want to do is tear the whole lot off.


Renault Trafic SL27 ENERGY

Mileage 6370

Claimed combined consumption 47.9mpg

Our average consumption 46.0mpg

Price (ex VAT) £20,445