Renault Master 2014 swb low
Owner Review

2014 Renault Master SWB Low review

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A Note from the Editor: CarAdvice has supplied a photo with this review as an image from the author was unavailable.

I purchased a white short-version L1H1 brand-new mid 2014, and have just done (only) 55,000km due to mainly local work and a genuine dislike of traffic jams. As a landscaper I need a variety of tools, and the 8m³ cargo volume is fantastic.

I have the wooden wall panels and put in a ply floor myself. Long lengthy materials sit on the aluminium roof rack. It can be awkward to get to when you've got to fasten or loosen the straps, but the roller at the back makes loading a bit easier and I’ve got plenty of room for a multi-ladder inside.

The engine is powerful. Pulling a loaded tandem trailer, whereby I was pushing the limits, was no issue at all. I opted for the manual and you’re in third gear by the time you’re across the intersection, but third has a good range, as do fourth and fifth gears. The economy indicator is helpful, as it often reminds me to shift up to sixth. The gears are smooth, and it has plenty of torque.

Fuel efficiency is often not as good, but I average 10L/100km. It’s got a massive 105-litre diesel tank, so I can run around quite a bit before I have to refuel. And given it fits the fast-flow diesel pumps, it’s never a hassle.

The letdown is the overuse of plastic, especially where steel should have been used. Twice I’ve had the little plastic rod, located between the clutch pedal and master cylinder, break/crack/snap. It renders the car useless unless driving without a clutch tickles your fancy, which means getting it towed to the workshop. I’ve had the sliding door handle and other cargo area handles come off, which can be a nuisance.
What you pay is what you get, and it lacks the build quality of other European vans, but it was also a lot cheaper.

Parking is easy, but I should have gotten a left side window in the sliding door for better visibility. The rear park assist mounted on the trade step is very helpful when reversing, and the bottom bit of the side mirrors are lifesavers, reducing blind spots to virtually zilch. It’s a high ride so the view on the road is fantastic.

The three-seater is basically two comfy seats and a desktop/jump seat, but the driving seat is great on both long and short trips, and I’m in love with the armrest. Trust the French to put in a cigarette lighter and ashtray. It didn’t stop them from putting in a second 12V point on the dash, which is handy.

Pairing my mobile is a breeze. Somehow my phone switches on its Bluetooth and the car instantly recognises it. The radio is okay and the sound system is fair. The air-con is average but works. I prefer driving with an open window anyway. The instruments are somewhat quirky, but it all works fine.

Now off the warranty and the free 200,000km/three-year scheduled servicing has expired, I’m yet to find out the true maintenance cost. I plan to trade it in when it’s five years old, but I’m led to believe that it should just be brakes, tyres and oil. We’ll see.

Would I buy it again? Probably. It’s a good workhorse with plenty of room and cargo space. Ignore the design fail on that clutch part, and thus far it’s very reliable. And to me, that is what I need for my job.