Renault Trafic review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

The improved version of Renault's third generation Trafic van looks a stronger proposition. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Review

In this improved version of the third generation design, the Renault Trafic mid-sized LCV gets smarter looks, a redesigned cabin with extra technology, a range of more efficient 2.0-litre dCi diesel engines and the option of a full-EV E-Tech version. As before, there's a choice of two lengths and two roof heights for the panel vans and the cabins have been designed to function as mobile offices. It's still a strong contender.


Renault's Trafic is one of those vehicles that has quietly inveigled itself into an almost invisible ubiquity. They're everywhere, but are such a part of the automotive landscape that they barely register. Unless, that is, you're looking to run a fleet of vans and then the Trafic registers front and centre of your buying decision and has done since it first appeared in Renault dealers back in 1981.

That first generation model was replaced here in 2001 with a second generation model that saw service for thirteen years. In 2015, this third generation model waded into the fray against rivals like the Volkswagen Transporter and the Ford Transit Custom, not to mention its design sibling, the Nissan Primastar. It was updated in mid-2019, then again in mid-2021, with a full-EV E-Tech version joining the range in late 2023. All of this creating the LCV we're looking at here.

Driving Experience

A full range of 2.0-litre Blue dCi diesel engines suit the needs of all Trafic drivers, with three powertrain options ranging from 130 to 170 horsepower, offering more torque for stronger pulling power. All Blue dCi 130, 150 and 170 versions are coupled with a manual transmission, while the Blue dCi 150 and Blue dCi 170 are also available with an EDC dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Whatever the combustion powertrain you select, you should find that this Renault remains a tough workhorse whatever its working conditions. Maybe that'll involve towing; diesel Trafic operators get a braked towing capacity of 2.0-tonnes. Maybe it'll involve deliveries over loose surfaces such as gravel, light snow or mud. If so, a standard 'Grip Xtend' feature allows one wheel to spin to help you gain traction. Or maybe it'll involve long motorway mileage. If so, you'll appreciate refinement that's aided by an acoustic windscreen using a special resin that filters out vibrations, minimises hum and restricts the amount of transmission noise you get in the cabin.

With the EV E-Tech version, the usual diesel Trafic engine gets replaced by a front-mounted 122bhp electric motor powering the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. There's a 52kWh battery pack offering a potential 184 mile range, providing you operate your Trafic E-Tech electric exclusively in its most frugal 'Eco' mode. If that's not enough and the vehicle will only be used for urban deliveries, then you'll want to look at the alternative 'Long Range' model, which offers a longer operating range but has a top speed restriction of 55mph.

Across the Trafic range, the driving position's as commanding as you would expect and big door mirrors with convex surfacing on their lower and outer edges are present and correct to help with manoeuvring that can be aided by the neat wide angle mirror fitted to the back of the passenger sunvisor. Further embellishments intended to help you avoid urban scrapes include options like parking sensors and two kinds of rear view camera.

Design and Build

True, there's only so much a van designer can do with a rectangular box with a wheel at each corner, but there's clearly been a concerted effort to distinguish the Trafic from the workaday LCV norm. This revised model gets more expressive front-end design, with full-LED headlamps incorporated into a C-shaped lighting signature that represents the identity of the Renault line. A bolder upright grille and smarter wheel designs complete the changes.

Inside, there's a smarter dashboard design defined by a horizontal trim feature that stretches across the width of the cabin and into the door panels, giving a greater sense of space. A revised instrument panel features additional chrome detailing, which also features on the door panels and gear lever. Naturally, the interior of New Trafic continues to offer one of the best storage capacities in the market with 84-litres of stowage space, including under passenger seat storage of 54-litres. Additionally, by folding down the backrest of the middle seat, the New Trafic's cabin transforms into a mobile office, with enough space for a laptop and an A4-size swivel stand to hold working documents. The backrest of the central seat can also be used for a comfortable lunch break in bad weather.

Connectivity and the office-like feel of the interior are intensified with the availability of on-board multimedia solutions. Renault's EASY LINK infotainment system offers drivers control over multimedia and vehicle settings via an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, with integrated navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. A wireless phone charger, three USB ports and a 4.2-inch colour display in the instrument panel add greater convenience.

Market and Model

The Trafic is offered in two body lengths and two roof heights. Prices for the diesel versions start at around £29,000 ex VAT and on the road charges. Depending on the version, there are a choice of three trim levels - 'Advance', 'Extra' and 'Extra Sport'. In addition to the Panel Van version, and as with the previous model, the Trafic is available in a minibus Trafic Passenger body style. This variant has also benefitted from the improved styling and drivetrain upgrades of the Panel Van, with the family-focused Passenger model also receiving smarter upholstery, rear air conditioning booster and sliding windows.

Sticking with the panel van range, you'll want to know that the 'Extra' trim level includes a hands-free key card and automatic high beam assist as standard. And that all Trafic models now get Active emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver attention alert, and tyre pressure monitoring. various other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are included, along with a redesigned front airbag that protects both passengers. Among the features available are adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition with overspeed alert. Aiding manoeuvres are front, rear and side parking sensors, plus rear parking camera.

This improved Trafic is available with a comprehensive suite of customer finance packages including a 5 Year PRO+ Promise designed to offer a complete peace of mind package for customers. This integrates 5 Years' 0% APR Finance, 5 Years' or 100,000 miles Free Servicing, 5 Years' or 100,000 miles Warranty and 5 Years' Roadside Assistance.

Practicalities and Costs

The Trafic panel van is offered in two lengths. The standard L1 configuration measures 4,998mm from stem to stern, with the L2 breaking the tape at 5,398mm. There are also two roof heights to choose from. Cargo capacity ranges between 5.2 and 8.6 cubic metres. Renault has also been smart about accommodating even longer loads too, with a flap that extends through the bulkhead and below the front seats to allow up to 2.95m long items. Need even more length? Then simply open a secondary flap that extends into the front footwell, allowing up to 3.2m long items to be taken on board. Of course, you could always just opt for the longer L2 model with its cavernous 4.15m load length (inc. the open-flap cabin section), the longest in the segment.

Efficiency is improved in this revised model. All the 2.0-litre Blue dCi engines meet the latest Euro 6D-Full standard and are equipped with Stop & Start to reduce fuel consumption.

The Trafic E-Tech electric has a choice of three types of chargers: first, a single-phase 7 kW AC charger that works with all types of home outlets. Plus there's a 22kW AC fast charger for public stations, providing a WLTP-rated 31 mile range top-up in less than 25 minutes. Finally, Renault plans in the future to also offer a 50kW DC fast charger option.


The van market is changing - and this Renault Trafic has needed to change with it: it has. We especially like the careful touches: the load-through facility in the full-steel bulkhead that lets you poke long items into the cab. The 'Eco Mode' driving option that makes it easy to lower your running costs. The Mobile Office package with its folding front seat. The way you can mount your smartphone or tablet on the dashboard to work with Renault's clever R&GO app. And the wide-angle passenger sunvisor mirror that helps when reversing.

Though we've seen some of these things before in other LCV products, they've been delivered here with a greater level of thought and thoroughness that operators will like.

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