We’ve always had some reservations about Renault build quality as a consequence
of some bitter past experiences of products from previous generations. the latest Trafic,
like the Kangoo we ran before it, appears to have broken the mould.

Okay, it suffered from the odd creak and groan when we first took delivery – the power steering pump made some rather peculiar noises and a recall due to a seat problem meant that renault had to take it back for two or three days to sort the supposed glitch out.

Since then, however, we have had no problems. the moans and squeaks have vanished, the power steering sounds as meek as a lamb and the driver’s seat functions perfectly well.

Nothing has dropped off, the seat upholstery should look absolutely fine once vacuumed despite the fact that it has been repeatedly polished by muddy jeans and grubby barbour jackets, the doors aren’t sagging on their hinges and shut smoothly, and the paintwork is in fine fettle bar the odd stone chip.

Admittedly, the overall build quality is down from that exhibited by the new VW transporter. the discreet thud with which the latest transporter’s doors shut – one journalist we know of entertained himself by repeatedly opening and closing them just to hear that magical noise – make the trafic sound tinny.

That does not mean that the Trafic’s build quality is poor, however; it simply means that the Transporter’s is outstanding and fit to rival that of top-of-the-range executive cars with telephone- number price tags.

And while the Renault may lose out to VW in the quality stakes, it has the edge over it when it comes to styling and overall design flair, as well as cost. Indeed, we cannot help but conclude that the perfect compact panel van would be styled by Renault, but built by VW: a winning combination.