Besides cars, automaker Renault also masters the development and manufacturing process of a full range of light commercial vehicles. There’s the compact Kangoo, the mid-size Trafic and the full-size Master. The first generations of the Trafic and the Master were introduced in the summer of 1980, the Kangoo arrived in the fall of 1997.
The current, third Master-series was introduced in 2010, with an update and facelift in 2014. The customer can choose from a FWD, RWD or AWD layout. This means that Renault’s full-sizer is playing in the same league as the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter.
And just like these competitors, the RWD heavy-duty versions also have dual rear wheels. An example is the orange panel van, pictured above. The heaviest Master is rated at a maximum GVM of 4,500 kg (9,921 lbs).
The vans are offered in four lengths and three roof heights. In the best Euro-tradition, minibuses and chassis cabs can be found on the price list too. Renault also offers a platform cab, which is lower than the chassis cab.
If you want the very same product, but not with the Renault diamond logo on the grille or steering wheel, then you can ask Opel-Vauxhall for a Movano or Nissan for an NV400.
Multiple second and third gen Masters were present at the 2018 edition of the biyearly Renaultoloog festival. Vans and trucks always look better in the owner’s vehicle livery, so let’s walk along the event’s FWD Master collection.
This 2006 ice cream truck (ice cream van?) represents the 1997-2010 second generation. Obviously the sales department is situated on the van’s right side.
A 2007 horse transporter, towing a Humbaur trailer from the same year. Just like the ice cream truck, it’s powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder diesel.
A third gen 2010 panel van; 125 DIN-hp from a 2.3 liter diesel engine. These days you can also opt for a Master EV.
2012 panel van, also with a maximum power output of 125 DIN-hp. It’s rated at a maximum GVM of 3,500 kg. Given its curb weight of 1,865 kg, the van’s payload capacity is 1,635 kg (3,605 lbs).
This is what owner Gosens B.V. does for a living. With a bit of clever thinking, I’m sure you can translate all of it into perfect English.
2018 box truck, the 2.3 liter engine in this one is good for 170 DIN-hp.
The whole body and tandem axle set-up was custom-built by KBK from Venlo, the Netherlands. This vehicle perfectly demonstrates a major advantage of a FWD layout: behind the cab, you can have any bed or coachwork you want.
I found this picture of the box truck on the website of a Renault dealership. The truck’s rear axles have a kneeling system; no need for a heavy and expensive hydraulic platform.
You can still get bigger and heavier Renaults than the Master, but realistically and technically, those are Volvos. Most likely we can rely on Renault’s own expertise when it comes to light commercial vehicles for many years to come; the company is simply an Expert! Oh wait, I accidentely used a competitor’s mid-size van model name…