Renault reinvents Trafic panelvanComment on this story
One of the most badge-engineered vehicles of recent history has been completely re-imagined and re-invented, with new styling, new engines, more space and more volumes - but one look at the distinctive raised 'eyebrow' over the driver's and front passenger doors and you'll know that you are looking at the third-generation Renault Trafic van, or the new Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro, or the latest Nissan Primastar, since they're all actually the same vehicle with slightly different grilles, bonnets and front bumpers.
But since Renault has been responsible for the platform and the new engines - and has converted the former premium sedan plant at Sandouville in northern France at a cost of more than €230 million (R2.5 billion) to build the new van, we'll call it a Trafic unless we're talking about a specific variant.
The 2014 edition has crisper edges than its predecessor, with a more raked windshield, a more prominent bonnet and longer, more slender headlight clusters stretching almost all the way back to the base of the A pillar, over a deep, wraparound plastic bumper.
LONGER AND STRONGER
More importantly, both short and long-wheelbase chassis are 220mm longer than before, making the shorter version almost exactly five metres long overall and the long-wheelbase van 5.4 metres from bumper to bumper.
The two new 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbodiesels were developed from the 118kW R9M twin-turbo Energy dCi announced last month as the engine of choice for future Renault D and E segment cars.
No power or torque figures are quoted for the Trafic's version of this engine but the maker is claiming a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption over the previous generation Trafic for the base version with single variable-geometry turbo, and less than six litres per 100km in the combined cycle for the upmarket biturbo version with sequential turbocharging and a twin-cooler system.
PICK AND CHOOSE
When they go on sale in Europe in the third quarter of 2014 the Trafic - and its Opel and Vauxhall siblings - will be available in a bewildering 270 variations, in two different lengths (but you knew that already), two different heights and three trim levels, configured as a delivery van, a Combi, a crew van, a minibus or even a platform cab.
No decision has yeat been made as to when the third-generation Trafic will be released in South Africa.