MASTER OF ALL IT SURVEYS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Renault's Master has been given the once over as part of a rejuvenated LCV range. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 54
The Renault Master has been a mainstay of the large van sector for some time now, along with its siblings, the Nissan NV400 and Vauxhall Movano. With a vast choice of body styles, engines and options, the Master features economical and refined powerplants, load volumes from 8 to 22 cubic metres and fresh face.
Backgroundword count: 136
Renault's Master van is one of those commercial vehicles that seems to do just enough to warrant its own existence in the UK, rarely being the first vehicle buyers consider in a large van segment dominated by models like the Mercedes Sprinter, the Volkswagen Crafter or the Ford Transit. In Europe it's a different matter, the Master racking up some impressive sales. Spawned from the same basis as the Vauxhall Movano and Nissan NV400, the Master has been around in one guise or another since 1980, with that first generation model lasting for 17 years. Its 1997 replacement stuck around for a mere 13 years and the third generation Master appeared in 2010 and has now been revised to keep things current. Is it time we gave the Master the respect it would appear to deserve?
Driving Experienceword count: 270
The biggest changes to this Master come under the bonnet, where Renault now offers a choice of four dCi diesel engines. They're all based on the same 2.3-litre block, but the 110 and 125PS entry level engines are bolstered by one turbocharger, while the heavier duty 135 and 165PS units get a pair of turbos bolted on. Even the 110PS unit generates a respectable slug of torque, with 285Nm available at just 1,250rpm. The twin-turbo 165PS powerplant is good for 360Nm at 1,500rpm. A dual mass flywheel and a crankshaft with eight counterweights also help to reduce engine noise and cut the amount of vibration coming into the cabin. The Master is available in both front and rear-wheel drive layouts and Renault has even built a special heavy hauler model optimised for motorway usage. The rear-wheel drive L4 version with single rear wheels has been added to the Master catalogue, in addition to the existing twin rear-wheel version. This variant means that 30 extra centimetres are now available between the interior rear wheel wells, which means a europallet can be loaded widthways. Five such pallets can be accommodated, and that is sure to interest long distance operators and express courier businesses at which this version is aimed. This version of the Master is only available with twin turbo engines. Fuel consumption is down by around half a litre per 100km compared with the equivalent twin-wheeled version, thanks notably to a longer final drive ratio (which means lower revs for the same travelling speed), plus the vehicle's lighter weight, reduced rolling resistance and the better aerodynamics of the single rear wheels.
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