Long Term Van Test Drive: Renault Master - October 2012

Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2012

When local trades people start to express interest in a van and utter some words of praise in its favour, then the manufacturer concerned is probably on to a winner, reports  Steve Banner

Our Master has certainly been the target of positive attention of late. Local LCV owners who have examined it like its looks, but have also expressed some enthusiasm for its build quality – not something Renaults usually win plaudits for  – with one operator contending that it is better-built than Ford’s Transit.
The cargo area has been given the thumbs-up too, especially the big side and rear door apertures. They make life a lot easier when you are trying to load tall, wide objects with a mind of their own.
Not that we’ve been carrying anything like that over the past few weeks. Cargoes have included heavy petrol-powered lawnmowers plus assorted parts, defunct domestic appliances destined for legal and environmentally friendly disposal, and a large quantity of bagged wastepaper – whatever happened to the paperless office?
To all that can be added a folding metal stand once used by a French newspaper vendor (he or she sold ‘France-Soir’, which ceased publication last year, according to the sign attached) and bought from a local junk shop (“It’ll look nice on the patio with a plant pot on it”).
Heaving these items in and out of the cargo bay made us appreciate the low loading height that front-wheel drive allows. Rear-wheel drive would have meant a higher loading height and harder work.
Front-wheel drive also appears to provide the Master with all the traction it needs when chugging in and out of muddy car parks at county shows and small rural race courses.
Otherwise our Master trundles along quite happily and the individual who praised its build quality might have a point. The squeaks and creaks it emitted earlier in the year have totally disappeared.
The suspension also seems to be becoming more used to Britain’s  highway surfaces, now suffering from flood damage thanks to this year’s heavy downpours. Potholed and patched, our Master copes with the lot with aplomb. We still worry about those alloy wheels though. They haven’t been scraped or dented yet – but there’s still time.



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