The previous generation of the Renault Master was commercialized between 2003 and 2010. The vehicle was pretty popular and was sold in good numbers. Its main attributes were the capable engines and the generous payload capacity.
The Master offered a perfect balance between price, performance and practicality and was available in short, medium and long wheelbases with either standard or high roof configurations. There was also offered a wide range of engines which consisted of 1.9, 2.5 and 3.0 liter units. The vehicle’s gross weights ranged from 2.8 to 3.5 tonnes with payload capacities between 985kg and 1,606kg.
Unlike the new model which looks pretty modern, the old generation was characterized by a dull and conventional design. Up front there is a chunky black grille which bares the company logo in its center, while the hood received three dynamic creases that point towards the grille.
The headlights aren’t something to rave about, but they are pretty well integrated into the overall design and they give the vehicle a purposeful look.
Moving down to the bumper, it features a solid construction and is slightly bigger than usual, further enhancing the utilitarian character of the vehicle.
On both sides there are protective rubber mouldings which are fitted between the front and rear wheel arches.
Thanks to its conservative style, the vehicle is highly practical and it’s fitted with large opening doors which offer easy access into the cab. To make loading and unloading easier the vehicle it’s equipped with large sliding side doors and side hinged rear gates.
The Master is available in short, medium and long wheelbases with low, medium and high roof panel van configurations. For increased practicality, the Master is also offered in box, chassis, platform and dropside configurations combined with either a single- or double-cabs.
While the exterior design is far from being charming, we are pleasantly impressed by the spacious and airy interior. Despite its old age the interior design looks pretty good and the practical dashboard received a two color treatment which makes it look even better.
We’re happy to notice that Renault used its passenger car experience to design a comfortable and pleasant environment were every control is placed within easy reach. The plastics aren’t part of the first class, but we won’t complain too much about this aspect as it will be hard to find a better quality at other model from this class. The build quality however, needed more attention and Renault has still a lot to learn from Volkswagen and even Peugeot.
Up front there is room for up to three people and all occupants have a fair amount of leg and shoulder room.
The driver’s seat comes with folding armrests and offers decent back support, being comfortable for both short and long trips. There are also enough adjustments to help you find your favorite driving position. On the other hand the steering wheel comes without any adjustments, but its position makes it easy to use and you won’t be bothered too much by this small impediment.
As most vans in this segment, road visibility is excellent with a high driving position, a panoramic wind screen and plate sized exterior mirrors.
Engines and performance
The old Renault Master was available only with diesel engines. The entry level short wheelbase Master is fitted with a 1.9 liter unit that churns out 80 hp, while the rest of the models are offered with either 2.5 or 3.0 liter units and deliver 100, 120 and 140 hp.
Regardless of what engine version you’ll chose the Renault Master is a reliable work horse and offers strong performances even when it’s fully loaded. All engines are bolted on a five speed gearbox while the 120 ho and 140 hp units are also available with a six speed robotized Quickshift gearbox.
The Standard Renault Master has front wheel traction, but it is also offered a rear wheel drive model designed for those who need to transport heavier loads.
Renault Master Engines Specifications
|Engine||hp @ rpm||Nm @ rpm|
|1.9||80 @ 3500||180 @ 2000|
|2.5||100 @ 3500||260 @ 1500|
|2.5||120 @ 3500||300 @ 1500|
|3.0||140 @ 4000||320 @ 1800|
Ride and handling
The old Renault Master uses double-delta front suspension with upper swing arm and wide track. This configuration offers a decent ride and precise steering. Though don’t expect to get over road bumps with ease, as the vehicle will still send a serious amount of vibrations into the cab.
Due to the tall height, there is also a pretty generous body roll when you attack corners, but it’s nothing to worry about as this is a common feature found in this segment.
The overall handling is satisfactory and the Renault Master is pretty easy to drive around town thanks to its short turning circle.
You won’t be disappointed by the stopping power either, as the Renault Master gets all around disc brakes combined with ABS and EBD.
There is no wonder why the old Renault Master was one of the most appreciated vans in its segment. The vehicle was available with a wide range of versions and offered a good compromise between affordability and performance. Thanks to its generous load area, the Master was also able to suit a wide range of commercial applications.
Though, the interior build quality wasn’t something to rave about, but the overall comfort and ergonomy were at par with the competition.
Overall the old Renault Master was an agreeable, well-built panel van powered by capable diesel engines. Moreover, the vehicle has proved its reliability and it was a smart choice for those who were searching for a hard working partner.