It was an exciting time for the people who drove this van – with its jacked up rear end, twin rear wheels and huge plastic protectors, it looked meaner than a Hell’s Angel with haemorrhoids.
And with a 3.0-litre common rail diesel powerplant under its bonnet pumping out 156bhp, there are few vans on the road which can touch it.
In fact, such was the macho stance of this van that I refused to allow anyone behind its wheel who hadn’t had previous LCV driving experience.
This van is not a vehicle for beginners or the faint-hearted. Those who did venture out on the roads all came back singing the same song: ‘What a monster!’
They also had rather large grins on their faces, having loved every minute of the experience. That’s the good side dealt with – there is unfortunately a downside too.
The Master RWD is specifically designed for heavy usage over rough terrain – hence the extra ground clearance. But it’s so heavy that it only has a 897kg payload, almost half of what normal vans of this size offer.
However, there is no shortage of room in the back – 14 cubic metres to be precise.
When the Master arrived here, it appeared to be plagued by a mass of squeaks and rattles, but a close inspection revealed that the rattles emanated from a door pocket where someone had dumped a load of wheelnut covers, while most of the squeaks came from the passenger seat rubbing against the bulkhead.
Both these problems were fixed with ease, leaving a few minor ‘twitters’ that appeared to come from the rear ply- lining rubbing against the outer walls.
Turning to the price, this van weighed in at a hefty £27,925 ex-VAT, which might put some buyers off.
And when it comes to selling time, fleets may have cause to wince too – residual value experts at CAP estimate that the Master will be worth a paltry 18% of its cost new after three years/60,000 miles – the lowest predicted RV I can ever remember.
Now I don’t like to argue with the experts, but I take that figure with a large pinch of salt.
OK, there won’t be too many second users who want a vehicle like this, but I believe it will have sufficient rarity value to make it a much sought-after buy. Only time will tell.
Model: Renault Master RWD 3.0 dCi 160 MWB
Price (as tested ex-VAT): £27,925
Final mileage: 9,344
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 23.1
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Load volume: 14 cubic metres
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,825/18%
Final expenditure: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles
What the team thought
FOR such a big van, the Master is relatively easy to handle and makes a comfortable, capacious and powerful load transporter. The traffic jam alert feature on the sat-nav system (an extremely useful but expensive option at £1,250) will save fleets time, hassle and money.
DESPITE being the biggest vehicle we have had on test, the Renault proved surprisingly nimble and, despite the lack of a reversing sensor, I was soon backing into spaces accurately. The small payload is an issue, but is offset by its ‘go-anywhere’ nature for the right fleet.