Big Renault carving out a market niche
RENAULT NEW ZEALAND OFFERS FOUR VERSIONS OF THE Master, a well-equipped big van with usefully-large load spaces, good ride and handling and strong performance.
It was Renault NZ’S best-selling van in 2016, with 88 registrations – a shade over four times the number sold in 2015 when 19 were registered.
The 2017 NZ Master range starts with an eight cubic metre loadcapacity short-wheelbase model and continues through a mediumwheelbase 10.8 cubic metre van to long-wheelbase 13 cubic metre and 17 cubic metre versions.
The first three are front-wheel drive, but the biggest van has dual rear wheels and rear-wheel drive.
All Master vans share the same 2.3-litre twin turbo, intercooled, direct-injected, Euro 5 diesel engine. It comes in two states of tune, depending on whichww gearbox it’s mated to.
In six-speed manuals, it develops maximum power of 110kw at 3500rpm; six-speed automated manual gearbox (AMT) versions have 120kw of power at the same revs.
On manuals, peak torque is 350Nm, and AMT Masters have 360Nm. In both versions, peak torque arrives at 1500rpm.
Combined cycle fuel economy ranges from 6.9 litres/100km and 8.0 litres/100km for the eight cubic metre manual and AMT vans to 9.3 litres/100km for the 17 cubic metre dual rear wheel model.
The SWB Master has a 12 metre turning circle, the medium wheelbase model needs 13.6 metres, and the long wheelbase versions turn in 15.7 metres.
All Masters have Renault’s Grip X-tend system which provides added traction on soft and slippery ground. Hill-start assist is standard on all models.
The three front-drive models can tow a 2500kg braked trailer, and the rear-wheel drive can haul 3000kg.
Payloads vary from model to model, starting at 1620kg on the short- and medium-wheelbase models, dipping to 1534kg on the smaller of the two long-wheelbase models and peaking at 2128kg on the biggest van.
Vehicle lengths range from 5048mm, through 5548mm and 6198mm to a massive 6848mm. Width is the same on all versions – 2470mm, including the exterior mirrors – and heights start at 2310mm and peak at 2808mm.
Cargo area lengths start at 2583mm on the short-wheelbase Masters, and rise to 4384mm in the long-wheelbase 17 cubic metre model.
A left-hand side glazed sliding door is standard on all Masters, and a glazed right-hand side sliding door is a $1500 option. There are dual barn-style glazed rear doors that open to a maximum of 270 degrees.
Each Master van is a three-seater, with a bucket seat for the driver and a dual bench seat for the passengers. The centre seatback can be folded forward to reveal a table.
Driver and outside front seat passenger get airbags, and all models have cruise-control and a variable speed-limiter. Other standard equipment includes a multi-function trip computer, automatic engine stop/start, power-operated door mirrors and cabin door windows, cargo area lighting, manually-operated airconditioning, front and rear mudflaps, and rear parking sensors.
There’s a steel bulkhead with a window between the cargo area and the passenger cabin, and all Masters have automaticallyoperated headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
Masters have Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with audio streaming; a USB audio input and 3.5mm AUX jack are standard.
There’s also a CD/MP3 sound system with roof-mounted display and steering wheel-mounted controls.
Prices start at $51,990 for the short-wheelbase and peak at $72,990 for the long-wheelbase 17 cubic metre. The AMT transmission adds $2000 to the list price.