Renault Australia has launched the 12-seat Renault Master Bus, which is based on the Master L3H2 long wheelbase, with a starting price of $59,990.

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The front-wheel drive Master Bus launches locally with the availability of a single front-wheel drive offering. The Master Bus is powered by a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder Euro 5-compliant turbocharged diesel engine that produces 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque. The engine is mated to an automated manual six-speed transmission.

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Load and passenger carrying is the Master Bus' main game, managing a 3.9 tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and 1252kg payload with a legal carrying capacity of 12 passengers. The luggage area caters for 3.5m3 of cargo capacity, while the roof is rated to carry 200kg including the roof racks.

The door configuration caters for passenger hauling with a kerb-side sliding door and dual barn doors at the rear that can swivel 270 degrees to cater for wider loads.

The seating configuration on the other hand features an aisle to cater for easy access, while two of the seats feature ISOFIX points with tether straps. Hot weather conditions are overcome thanks to a front-end air conditioning system for driver and front seat passengers, while rear seat passengers are catered for thanks to a forward-facing air conditioning system located over the luggage bay.

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All specifications receive an emergency exit hatch in the roof, vinyl floors, two-tone seat fabrics and an automatically opening side-step adjacent to the kerbside sliding door.

Two option packages — the Premium Pack and Luxury Pack — are available, priced at $3590 and $7990 respectively. The Premium Pack will be available from launch, while the Luxury Pack will arrive later in the year. The options include:

Premium Pack:

  • Electric sliding kerbside door;
  • Automatic headlights and rain sensing windscreen wipers;
  • R-Link enhanced satellite navigation system with touchscreen;
  • Hands free proximity key entry;
  • 4 USB charging sockets;
  • LED roof lighting;
  • Side and rear window curtains;
  • Premium carpets, and
  • Reclining rear seats.
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Luxury Pack. Includes Premium Pack contents, plus:

  • Leather upholstery for all seats;
  • Lane departure warning;
  • Storage under the front passenger seat;
  • Alarm;
  • Automatic high/low beam headlight function, and
  • Tinted windows.

Versions of the bus without seats or a raised floor are being developed by Renault to cater for installers of wheelchair access equipment.

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The Master Bus and Master range comes with a three year, 200,000km warranty, which can be extended to four or five years with 24 hour roadside assistance for the warranty period.

The first three service schedules, which occur in 30,000km intervals are capped at $349 each. The Master Bus will come with the option of seven solid and three metallic colours.

“We’ve decided to bring the Master Bus to the Australian market because we recognise the demand for an affordably-priced, high quality, well-equipped, comfortable and spacious bus that requires no compromises by customers or passengers,” says Lyndon Healey, model line manager for Renault Australia LCV.

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“Renault has long been a supplier of buses for hotels, schools, aged care and private transport companies across Europe, and we are pleased to be able to offer this product to similar customer groups here in Australia in 2016,” he says.

“We have spent 18 months talking to prospective bus customers and refining the product, to ensure it is suitable for Australian driving and loading conditions, and to meet the expectations of the Australian market in terms of features, equipment and price.

“The Master Bus is produced in large numbers in Europe so it is built to a predictable and high level of quality. Significant effort has been put into assembly and quality assurance to ensure a long and trouble-free working life.

“There is also a significant amount of luggage space which may obviate the need to tow a trailer, adding convenience, security and fuel efficiency benefits,” Lyndon says.

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“The specification allows the bus to be driven on a regular car licence, which will make it easy for schools, churches, local councils, sports and social clubs, hospitality, local government, rental and shuttle operators to allow a wide range of staff to drive the vehicle.

“In addition, we can see opportunities for car dealerships to utilise this vehicle for transferring service drop-offs to public transport nodes or city centre locations,” he says.

“With up to 30,000km or 12-month service intervals, as well as proven mechanicals, a long factory warranty of 200,000km or 3 years, as well as our Capped Price Servicing of $349 for the first 3 scheduled services, Renault has a product that is extremely competitive in the local market,” Lyndon says.

“Initial response from fleet customers indicates the Master Bus will be a popular addition to the expanding Master range,” he says.