Renault Trafic Best Small Panel Van at What Van? Awards 2006
Renault’s revised Trafic van has only just gone on sale, but it’s already winning awards, not just new customers. This time, it’s taken the highly coveted ‘Best Small Panel Van’ title at the What Van? Awards 2006, for the third time.
Citing a whole host of reasons behind the Trafic’s win (and sister re-badged products Nissan Primastar and Vauxhall Vivaro), the What Van? judges started by commending it on its driving characteristics, interior and styling, all of which were refined earlier this year by Renault’s designers. “Styling that still looks fresh and exciting even after several years, sharp handling, compliant suspension, a well-designed cab and a user-friendly optional automated manual transmission. In our book they’re all good reasons for awarding Renault’s recently revised Trafic our Small Panel Van of the Year award for 2006.”
Their praise for the performance improvements and variety of Trafic’s new Euro 4 engine line-up, plus its Quickshift6 automated manual transmission was equally unequivocal, “Those revisions include the introduction of a new 2.0-litre diesel engine up for grabs at either 90bhp or 115bhp. That’s a useful increase in power compared with the 82bhp and 100bhp offered by the 1.9-litre diesels fitted previously, and torque increases by up to 26 per cent. If that’s not enough beef for you then you can always opt for the reworked version of the 2.5-litre diesel that’s also installed. Carried over from the previous model and equipped with a particulate trap (on the exhaust) it boasts 145bhp as opposed to 135bhp. Torque has gone up by 7.4 lb/ft to 234 lb/ft at 1,500rpm…Formerly available solely with the 2.5-litre diesel, the six-speed automated manual transmission referred to earlier can now be specified with the 115bhp version of the 2.0-litre as well. That should result in its virtues being appreciated by a wider audience.”
In addition to its innovative design and engine diversity, the Trafic’s safety, security and general ease-of-use were also well received by the panel, “ABS comes as standard and what is arguably Britain’s most stylish looking small panel van is now available with a three-button ignition key that enables you to lock the cargo area and cab doors separately. It means you can keep the cab secure while you are loading and unloading the vehicle.”
A partnership agreement between Renault and GM saw Renault design and engineer the Trafic and GM manufacture all low-roof versions at the IBC plant in Luton, so one of the most pleasing aspects recognised by What Van? was its British production. Indeed, the judges said, “With Britain’s motor industry under huge pressure, it’s worth noting that Trafic (Vivaro/Primastar) are built in the UK as well as Spain. So in most cases you’ll be able to slap a Union Jack on your purchase with a clear conscience.”
Collecting the award in London’s upmarket St James, Renault UK’s LCV Brand Manager, Louise O’Sullivan, beamed, “The original Trafic took the market by storm in 2001 with its radical design, so we’re delighted that this latest version, with its refreshed styling and wide range of engines, is continuing where its predecessor left off. We’re particularly pleased that the revised Trafic range has won an award so early on, especially in the UK where many of them are built.”