The Renault Trafic is one of the best looking commercial vehicles available on today’s market. The Trafic is not only good looking, but has also a very flexible nature being able to deal with a wide range of commercial applications.
The Trafic occupies the gap between the smaller Kangoo and the bigger Master, and shares the same design and underpinnings with the Opel Vivaro and Nissan Primastar.
With a starting price of $20230 (excluding taxes) and a maximum payload capacity of up to 1.2 tonnes the Renault Traffic can be considered a pretty affordable vehicle that comes with a wide choice of body shapes and is pretty cheap to maintain. There are also two wheelbase options (3098mm and 3498mm) and two roof heights available.
Judging by the exterior design is hard to believe that the Trafic has been around for more than 10 years. When it was revealed for the first time back in 2000, the French LCV received a very good response from the market and its futuristic design has managed to quickly gather a lot of fans. There is no wonder why, as the Trafic sets the standard when it comes to van designs and its style blends perfectly the utilitarian nature of the vehicle with a modern and eye catching design.
The front fascia features a thin radiator grille which a stylish curved baseline while the petal shaped headlights continue the curved pattern and form a pretty dynamic design offering a touch of sportiness to the vehicle.
The black plastic bumper is pretty simple and is fitted with a big air intake split in three sections. The air intake is flanked by two round fog lights which are pretty nicely integrated into the bumper’s design.
The short bonnet follows the same angle as the raked windshield and further enhances the dynamic appearance of the Trafic.
To improve the sides visibility the bottom line of the door windows is also slightly raked, while the exterior mirrors feature and aerodynamic design and are big enough to keep you well informed about what is going on behind.
Inside you get a car-like feel which is starting to be common for all vans in this segment. The interior design isn’t as innovative or modern as the exterior style, as the main concern of Renault’s engineers was practicality.
The dashboard has a good overall ergonomy and we also like the controls layout which is pretty intuitive. All the switchgear is fairly easy to reach and we also like the dash mounted gear lever that comes easy into hand.
Up front, there is room for up to three people, but the middle passenger would find the gear lever that stays in front of him a bit intrusive. On the other hand, the driver’s seat is pretty comfortable and even it is a bit to flat for our tastes it can be adjusted in many ways permitting you to find a proper driving position. The steering wheel isn’t the most attractive unit in the business and we also find it a bit too thin.
The cabin is also fitted with all sorts of cubby holes, cup holders and storage places, so you won’t have major problems in finding a place to store your things. On the option list you can find features like a TomTom navigation system, radio CD/mp3, air conditioned glovebox, electric windows, trip computer and remote control locking.
Engines and transmissions
The Renault Trafic is offered with a choice of either Euro 4 or Euro 5 engines which develop between 90 and 150 hp. The engines can be mated on a six speed manual gearbox or a 6 Speed Quickshift E4 transmission. The QuickShift can be used in both manual and automatic modes and copes great with the utilitarian character of the Trafic being at par with Volkswagen’s transmissions.
The 2.0l entry level engine is the most efficient unit in the lineup and develops 90 hp@1500 rpm with a maximum torque of 240 Nm achieved at 3500 rpm. Despite being the weakest engine those 90hp have enough grunt to deal with any payload without too much drama.
The 115 hp model has a 2.0 liter displacement and offers a peak torque of 290 which is more than enough to keep the vehicle nimble and to merge with freeway traffic without thinking twice. The engine offers a perfect balance between performance and efficiency and is also pretty smooth and reliable.
The 2.5l, 150 hp engine is the strongest unit in the Trafic lineup and comes with a maximum torque of 320 Nm achieved from as low as 1500 rpm. Combined with a variable geometry turbocharger, the 2.5 diesel engine can blow into three digit speeds effortless even when fully loaded. The downside is that it is available only in Euro 4 version.
The Trafic comes with a choice of gross vehicle weight options ranging from 2.7 to 3.0 tonnes. Panel van version payloads are 1045-1247kg for the 2.0-litre models and 1082-1265kgs for the 2.5 CDTi.
Renault Trafic Engines Specifications
Ride and handling
The Renault Trafic’s front suspension features a MacPherson strut and anti-roll bar, while at the rear is equipped with a torsion beam suspension that is able to adapt the load in order to offer an optimum balance between comfort and maneuverability.
Thanks to this suspension setup, the ride is pretty forgiving and the shock absorbers are able to soak most of the bumps without affecting the driver’s comfort. You won’t have any complains about the power steering either, as its fairly precise and responsive, and offers a good maneuverability at both low and high speeds.
The Renault Traffic is the perfect choice for those seeking for a versatile commercial vehicle with a payload capacity of up to 1.2 tonnes, a modern design and a good price.
The cabin is pretty comfortable and was designed with practicality in mind hence it has a good overall ergonomy and is fitted with plenty of storage places. The list of optional features is also pretty rich and the truck is available with all the basic features needed to offer a comfortable ride.
The engines are fairly strong and efficient and can deal pretty well with all the utilitarian tasks of the vehicle. The Renault Traffic is also available with a very wide range of body options so it will be pretty easy to find what you are looking for.