Three months in, here's the latest on our 2016 Renault Trafic long-termer, which is spending its days as part of our production team, and is proving to be a valuable tool.
After a couple of months doing the rounds with our video and photography team, the 2016 Renault Trafic van is really settling in.
As mentioned in long-term update two, the premise of this loan was to get the thoughts of our video and photography team. The previous update focused on the thoughts of Mitch Oke, while this piece is based around the feedback of Glen Sullivan.
The mid-sized Trafic was chosen because we thought it would be the ideal size for the crew in L1H1 specification – after all, it has 5.2 cubic metres of load space and can haul items up to 3.7 metres long, thanks to its clever load-through porthole. Oh, and with three seats up front, there's space for a couple of crew on video shoots.
Glen reckoned that during his time with the Renault, it didn't feel as big as the numbers suggest.
“For such a big vehicle, it is super easy to drive,” he said, and part of that came down to the fact that it's easy to position the Trafic in, er, traffic. And while there's a big over-shoulder blind-spot, there are some items that help when parking.
“There's pretty good visibility from the driver's seat, with a small rear-view camera positioned in the rear-view mirror, and the large side mirrors and back windows help,” Glen said.
But he made a good point about that camera setup.
“I'm unsure why Renault didn't just put the display for the camera on the centre screen as opposed to its current location on the rear-view mirror, with that tiny screen,” he said.
As for comfort and convenience, Glen was pretty pleased with the work-focused aspects of the van.
“It seats three people with no worries. I've driven it with two colleagues and it did not feel too squishy,” he said. “And it looks and feels like a proper courier van, with a nice high seating position.”
But as with any new relationship, there are a few little gripes that Glen is still coming to terms with - the two even had a bit of a break during their time together due to an unforeseen and apparently inexplicable handbrake problem. It didn't hold at one stage, according to the van's driver at the time, but the park brake system has been working fine ever since it was trucked to a Renault dealership for assessment.
Still, once Glen got back in the driver's seat, he managed to find some minor quibbles of his own.
“The driver's seat could do with a little more room to slide back, for me,” Glen said – he does lay the backrest back more than most drivers, though… And then there are the same media system quibbles that other testers have found.
“The Bluetooth audio seems to struggle to keep up and is jumpy at times,” Glen said. “And when driving through tunnels the radio drops out of reception, going to static.”
As if driving in Sydney isn't entertainment enough, Glenno! And just like Mitch, Glen said the phone holder is too small for his smartphone (iPhone 6 Plus) “and probably quite a few of the more modern larger phones”.
Another complaint common between Mitch and Glen was over the stop-start system. Glen described it as “pretty annoying, although it can easily be switched off – but it needs to be turned off every time you restart the van if you don't wish to use it”. The main issue being that it is slow to re-fire the engine when you come to a stop.
Glen is a bit of an extreme sports guy – he's in to big wave surfing – and our racking on the top of the Trafic is a little easier to conquer than big swells. He's climbed up the rear ladder to shoot high-angle images on reviews and comparisons, and he's convinced the racks could come in handy if we were to ever run out of space in the cargo area (though “it has more room than we ever actually need, that's for sure!”).
We haven't needed those racks to use on the move, though, and Glen made a good point about driving the Renault at highway speeds.
“The platform/roof racks we optioned seemed to cause a fair bit of noise in the cabin,” he said.
As well as that, Glen has found that there are some pretty bad reflections on the inside of the windscreen in sunlight, and with the seasons changing, the section below the windscreen and above the bonnet has acted like a catcher for falling leaves more so than most cars.
So while these little quibbles are the sorts of things you'd find out as you spend time with someone or something new, Glen said his time with the van has been “great”.
“It has plenty of room for all our gear, and has a nice and high platform for shooting photos from if we need it,” he said.
But the thing Glen likes most about the Trafic is that it's “easy to drive and comfortable to be in”, which is exactly what someone buying a work van would want.
Still, he said he feels for parents (like him) who may need to use their work vehicle for child delivery or pick-up duties (like he does), as the Trafic doesn't come with any means of fitting a child-seat: there is no ISOFIX, and no top-tether anchor points, either.
Still, for a purpose-built work van, he said he has come to like the Trafic a lot - so much so that he doesn't really want to hand the keys over to his brother, Brett Sullivan, for the next long-term update. We'll make sure Brett gets his hands on the keys.
Renault Trafic L1H1 dCi140
Date acquired – January 2016
Odometer reading – 4489km
Travel since previous update – 1880km
Consumption average since previous update – 9.0L/100km