Renault Trafic 2021 l1 swb premium (125kw), Hyundai iLoad 2021 3s liftback

Spec shootout: 2021 Renault Trafic v 2021 Hyundai iLoad

White box battle; the Renault Trafic and Hyundai iLoad

White box battle; the Renault Trafic and Hyundai iLoad

Medium-sized vans are a mainstay of Australia’s small-business and trade workforce. Whether you are delivering, installing, repairing or building, a van is an essential tool in a market where reliability and cost-effectiveness are key.

It’s also a segment where measurements, details and data are important, so in this spec-comparison, we are running the 2021 Renault Trafic Premium up against the 2021 Hyundai iLoad to see how these hard-working machines stack up.


Price and specification

The Renault Trafic received an update about 18-months ago, that saw the long-awaited addition of an automatic transmission to the range. Trafic pricing starts from $36,990 (before options and on-road costs) for a short-wheelbase Trafic Pro with an 85kW engine and manual transmission and climbs to $53,890 for a long-wheelbase Trafic Lifestyle crew-van with a 125kW engine and an auto.

We’ve picked our van from the middle of the range, in a short-wheelbase Trafic Premium with a 125kW diesel engine and the six-speed auto, which lists at $44,890 before options and on roads. It is currently being offered for $44,490 drive away with a 3.9 per cent finance package for ABN buyers.

It’s a smart-looking thing, for a van, and is available in six-colours (premium paint is an $800 extra). Standard equipment includes a 7.0-inch touch screen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear view camera, three-abreast seating, rear barn doors, sliding doors on both left and right sides, LED head and running lamps and four cup holders.

2021 Renault Trafic Premium SWB2021 Hyundai iLoad
Price (MSRP)$44,890$41,710
Premium paint cost$800$695
Warranty5 years / 200,000km5 years / 160,000km
Service interval30,000km15,000km
Servicing cost (3-years / 5-years)$1797 / $3295$1083 / $1958
ANCAP Safety Ratingnot yet tested4-star (2011)

A business pack is available for $2000 which adds keyless entry and start, automatic climate control, a heated driver’s seat, body-coloured bumpers and 17-inch alloy wheels (replacing the standard 16-inch steelies).

The Hyundai iLoad scored a facelift and equipment update in late 2018, which has managed to keep the van reasonably youthful despite the platform now being 13-years old. Offered in just one wheelbase, iLoad pricing starts from $39,680 (before options and on-road costs) for a manual van and climbs to $44,730 for an automatic ‘crew’ van.

All models are powered by a 125kW 2.5-litre diesel, and we’ve chosen the $42,710 automatic van as our runner in this spec-race. Hyundai is currently offering a $2000 ‘bonus’ for ABN holders, which takes it to $40,710 before on-roads.

For your spend, the iLoad also includes dual sliding doors, a 7.0-inch touch screen with smartphone projection support, automatic headlights, three-abreast seating and a rear view camera. But barn doors are a $550 option (a rear liftgate is standard) and there’s no ability to spec it up like you can in the Renault.

Worth noting that both vans naturally offer air conditioning, heated rear windows, power driver and passenger windows and mirrors, and rear wipers.

Despite the lower entry price of the Hyundai, the extra equipment on offer in the Trafic, both standard and optional, gives it a competitive edge.


Engine and drivetrain

As noted, both our vans feature turbo diesel engines but vary slightly with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with front-wheel drive in the Renault, or a five-speed torque converter auto and rear wheel drive.

The Renault’s 125kW 2.0-litre turbo diesel is the most powerful in the range, with a 103kW 1.6-litre twin-turbo and 85kW 1.6-litre turbo diesel also available.

Power peaks at 3500rpm where the full allotment of 380Nm torque is there from 1500rpm. This results in a 7.3L/100km combined fuel consumption cycle.

2021 Renault Trafic Premium SWB2021 Hyundai iLoad
Engine format2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Displacement1997cc2497cc
Power125kW @ 3500rpm125kW @ 3600rpm
Torque380Nm @ 1500rpm441Nm @ 2000-2250rpm
Drive typeFront-wheel driveRear-wheel drive
Transmission6-speed dual-clutch automatic5-speed automatic
Weight (kerb)1769kg2062kg
Power to weight ratio71 kW/t61 kW/t
Fuel consumption (combined)7.3L/100km8.8L/100km
Fuel tank size80-litres75-litres
CO2 emission191 g/km231 g/km

While the sole engine option in the Hyundai offers the same power of 125kW (at 3600rpm), the slightly larger 2.5-litre turbo diesel brings 16 per cent more torque than the Trafic, with 441Nm available between 2000 and 2250rpm.

Fuel use here is claimed at 8.8L/100km, which equates to around 300-litres more than the Renault over a 20,000km driving period. This is mainly due to the iLoad’s near 300kg (293kg) weight gap over the Trafic.

So here, we give the Hyundai a nod for extra torque and the Renault a thumbs-up for better efficiency, which with an even round still leaves the Trafic in the lead.


Cabin space and comfort

A van’s cabin has to work for driving comfort as well as being somewhat of a mobile office, and both our workers have space for three-up across the bench.

Materials are hard wearing and simple, with both vehicles offering cloth upholstery and plastic finishes, although the Renault goes a step further to include a carbon-fibre look trim on the dash.

Worth noting too is the Trafic also includes a bulkhead between the cab and load area which helps for both noise and temperature insulation. There’s a load-through slot too, should you need to fit something extra long.

2021 Renault Trafic Premium SWB2021 Hyundai iLoad
Length4999mm5150mm
Width1956mm1920mm
Height1971mm1935mm
Wheelbase3098mm3200mm
Turning circle11.8m11.2m
Weight (kerb)1769kg2062kg

The centre seat converts to an armrest with storage and cup holders in the Hyundai, and an adjustable work desk in the Renault, which also includes a driver’s armrest. For comfort, both vans offer a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a tilt/reach adjustable steering column.

Storage is impressive in both, with each van offering four cup holders, dash-top storage, generous door bins and dashboard cubbies, and both offer twin gloveboxes which are great for keeping items out of view while parked. Worth noting the second glovebox in the Trafic is on top of the dash, so don’t leave anything temperature-sensitive in there on a hot day!

In terms of layout, the Hyundai requires almost no learning as features and control switches are exactly where you would expect them to be. The Renault might need a little more familiarisation time, but it too is laid out in an ergonomic fashion.

Again we’re at a tie and see the Renault still in front. The Trafic offers a slightly more ‘premium’ feeling cabin, to the Hyundai’s more traditionally practical one.


Load space and practicality

A non-slip vinyl floor covering is included with the Hyundai, as are ten tie-down points around the load area. As noted, you can add the option of barn-doors for extra flexibility too.

The Renault has protective trim to half-height on the load area sides, but a floor covering in either wood or vinyl is an optional extra. There are sixteen tie-down points

The cargo bay is illuminated in both vans and the Renault also includes a 12-volt socket.

2021 Renault Trafic Premium SWB2021 Hyundai iLoad
Cargo bay length2537mm2375mm
Cargo bay width1662mm1620mm
Cargo bay height1387mm1340mm
Load area width between arches1268mm1272mm
Tie-down points1610
GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)2985kg3160kg
Payload1216kg1098kg
Towing Capacity (braked)1715kg1500kg

While our Trafic is the short wheelbase version, there is a longer option available if you need more room. That said, the cargo bat at 2537mm (which can load items up to 3750mm with the through-flap) is nearly 200mm longer than the 2375mm Hyundai.

The iLoad's cargo bay is slightly smaller too, being 2mm narrower and 3mm lower than the Trafic. There are 4mm extra between the wheel arches, so there is that!

Payload is rated at 1098kg in the Hyundai and 1216kg in the Renault, although the French van has a lower GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) at 2985kg (to 3160kg), due to its overall lower weight.

Neither van is a bad or impractical option here, but the Renault's slightly more usable load bay and barn doors give it the win here too.


Technology

There is a trip computer for fuel economy feedback, but no digital speedometer in the Hyundai, which is included in the Renault

You get a USB port and twin 12-volt outlets in the centre of the iLoad’s dash, but there are no extra points around the cabin. The Trafic also offers a USB port as part of the media system and a 12-volt outlet nearby.

Both 7.0-inch touch screens support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which negate the need for native navigation systems and make jumping in and out of the van a much more cohesive experience.

Bluetooth phone and audio are also included in both, but the iLoad only gets two speakers to the Trafic’s four. Plus the Renault system offers DAB radio, which is the minor leg up it needs to get the win in this segment, and placing it back in the lead.


Safety

Sadly, neither of our contenders are a standout in the safety stakes.

The Hyundai iLoad received a four-star ANCAP crash rating when it was tested in 2011, and the Renault Trafic has never been tested and thus doesn’t have an ANCAP score.

Driver, passenger and side airbags are standard on both cars, and they both include ABS braking and a traction/stability control system, but there is no Autonomous Emergency Braking or Blind Spot Detection in either van. Newer vehicles like the Toyota HiAce have addressed this, so we hope to see safety take a major step forward in the next iteration from both Hyundai and Renault.

There is a rear view camera in both vehicles, and the Trafic also has a wide-angle mirror under the passenger visor.

Given equipment is the same across both vehicles, but only the Hyundai has been tested, that gives the iLoad the win in this section, but only just. Back to an even level.


Ownership

Both vans come with a five-year warranty, but the Renault is for 200,000km to the Hyundai 160,000km. Service intervals on the Renault are long at 30,000km (to 15,000 on the iLoad) but the service schedule is still annual.

Through the capped-price programs offered by both manufacturers, the Trafic will cost $1797 for three-years and $3295 for five, where the iLoad will run $1083 for three and $1958 for five.

In terms of resale, over a 3-year period, the Hyundai will retain about 83 per cent of its purchase value against the Renault which will retain 72 per cent.

Given this, and the lower cost of ownership overall, the iLoad takes the win in the all-important wallet stakes.


Verdict

A working van needs to work for you as well as your business, and so the combination of low-frills practical value from the 2021 Hyundai iLoad, paired with a slightly more premium but ultimate pricier option from the 2021 Renault Trafic Premium makes either of these working machines a solid choice, depending on your requirements.

If time in the comfortable and better-equipped cabin is your priority, then do consider a Renault Trafic. Where if the get-in-and-go nature of the Hyundai works, and the lower ownership costs make your accountant happy, then an iLoad is well worthy of your consideration.


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