Test Drive: Renault Trafic Sport

By: Matt Wood


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What will the Trafic Sport be like when it arrives next year? We headed to the UK to put it through its paces

 

Driving the Renault Trafic Sport had an unexpected effect on me as I did battle with London’s notorious M25 motorway recently.

As those around me swung across lanes at over 70mph to reach their desired exits I found myself talking like 1980’s icon Mr T and using the word "Fool!" quite a lot. That said, I also used the other F word a few times as well, not least when a Polish registered MAN just about took my mirror off while changing lanes.

I blame my ride actually. The metallic black Renault was equipped with funky 17-inch alloy wheels, grey and chrome body highlights, side steps and red stripes.

It really did look like a 2016 interpretation of the van from the 1980’s hit TV show the A-Team.

The longer I drove it, the more I felt like weighing myself down with gold chains. I actually tried ordering at a fast food drive through using my best Mr T impression. They weren’t impressed, in fact I’m pretty sure someone spat in my burger, or that could just be the state of British cuisine.  

Given that this third-generation Trafic was launched in Oz over 18 months ago, you may be wondering what is the point of driving it in the UK?

In Europe, the Trafic is available in Sport trim – a higher spec trim and equipment pack for the currently available Trafic. And this more lifestyle-oriented option is heading Down Under.

Not only that, Renault Australia will be introducing a 6-seater crew van variant in 2017. 

The Renault Trafic Sport isn’t just a stripped out people mover. It’s first and foremost a commercial vehicle. But it’s a smooth and sophisticated one at that.

The Sport is essentially a trim package that adds some more kit into the mix as well as sporty-ish 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, metallic paint, side steps and spoilers. Oh and stripes….did I mention the stripes?

The Trafic Sport still uses a 1.6-litre dCi four pot diesel for power. While base commercial models are armed with a single turbo 66kW/260Nm version of the powerplant the high spec Sport variant gets the twin-turbo 103kW/340Nm version.

 

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To make the Trafic a little more A-Team and a little less Bob the Builder, the Sport features a 7-inch multi-media touch screen with DAB radio and nav, auto headights and wipers and highlights around the dash.

Funky colour-coded instrumentation, cruise control and speed limiter as well as Hill Start Assist and a Grip Xtend feature that helps with traction on slippery surfaces.

The short wheelbase Sport we drove had 5.2 cubic metres of load capacity and the Trafic can carry 1,200kg.

Access to the load area is via a sliding door on the passenger side or via barn doors on the rear. Crew variants get glazed sliding doors on both sides.

A steel bulkhead separates the cockpit from the load area. Crew versions have this bulkhead behind the rear seats. Apart from protecting occupants from flying objects in the load area this also nicely isolates any resonant rumble from the load area out back.

Word is that there’s also the possibility of a Maxi Crew version where the rear seats fold forward into the floor. The load bulk area bulkhead would then slide forward giving the Trafic full load volume.  

 

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Test Drive

Our drive of the UK version of the Trafic Sport took in motorways as well as rural back roads and the Renault was an easy drive on all.

The 1.6-litre oiler has plenty of poke with peak torque coming in at a relatively low 1500rpm. Peak power comes in at 3,500rpm.

Renault currently claims a thrifty 6.2l/100km for this van yet it happily buzzed along at the 70mph motorway limit.

The Trafic is only offered in manual guise which may be an issue for some. But the 6-speed manual is a light shifter and as we found in London peak traffic not hard work to stir through the slots.

The low torque curve of the dCi engine also helped when idling along in congested streets.

Pricing and local spec for the Sport package is yet to be announced by Renault Australia. However, expect to see it available locally mid-2017.

Crew variants of the standard Trafic are expected early 2017.

The Trafic Sport makes for a quite un-commercial commercial that could well be an easier way to transport your toys once you’ve hung up the tools.

 

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Specifications

Model: Renault Trafic Energy dCi140 Sport

Engine: 1598cc twin-turbo common rail diesel

Max Power: 103kW@3500rpm

Max Torque: 340Nm@ 1500rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Weight: 1,683kg

Fuel Economy: 6.2l/100km

0-100km/h: 10.8 sec

Price: TBA

On Sale: Mid-2017

 

 

 

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