Cutting-edge design can go one of two ways. It can either be accepted as a real classic of its kind and be as fresh in ten years time as it is now, or look horribly old hat by next Christmas.
Fortunately Renault’s Trafic falls into the former category. Its unique appearance looks as good now as it did when it was first unveiled towards the end of 2001.
Did we say unique? That’s almost, but not quite, accurate. It’s also sold as the Vivaro by Vauxhall and the Primastar by Nissan. It’s the badges that make the difference.
Trafic is marketed with two different wheelbases and two roof heights and with a load cube that extends from 5.0m3 to 8.4m3. It can cope with payloads ranging from 1,045kg to 1,247kg.
Power is courtesy of a 2.0-litre diesel generating either 90hp or 115hp, with maximum torque figures of 240Nm and 290Nm respectively. If that’s that not enough beef for you then you can always opt for a 2.5-litre diesel pumping out 146hp/310Nm instead.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range with a six-speed semi-automatic up for grabs as an extra-cost alternative.
Although Trafic’s exterior still looks up-to-the-minute, its cab interior is a little out-of-date now and could stand a complete redesign. That said, there’s a fair amount of storage space and we’ve no real reason to complain about the driving position.
While the 90hp model is a bit pedestrian and probably best confined to stop-start work in congested city centres, the performance offered by its stablemates should be sufficient to satisfy most buyers. The quality of the gearchange is perfectly acceptable, ride quality isn’t a major issue and the handling is safe and predictable with plenty of feedback through the steering wheel.
On the downside, it’s a pity Renault can’t do something about the wind noise. It seems to emanate from around the door mirrors and can be a bit of an irritation.
Service intervals are set at 18,000 miles and Trafic is covered by a three-year/100,000-mile warranty. Don’t forget that Trafic s also on offer as a crew van, a dropside and as a people carrier/minibus.