First Look: Renault Has A New Master

By John Beltz Snyder

January 25, 2010

In a move to make us jealous, Renault has revealed the new Master panel van. It comes in front- and rear-wheel drive, and offers up to 600 cubic feet of cargo space. 

Ok, so we’re not that jealous. We do have the Dodge Sprinter here in the U.S., and we’ve had our share of fun with that thing. And with Ford bringing the Transit Connect stateside, we have an even smaller, more drivable mobile office at our disposal. We just get excited whenever we see a new panel van, and we’ve been thinking about the new Renault Master since we saw the spy shots last year (pictured below).
Europe, you can have your Master (such a cool name). We won’t get angry or jealous. Just make sure to show us pictures if you turn one into a mobile nightclub or luxury limousine.
Click through the gallery to see the new Renault Master, or get more details than you could ever want in the press release, below.
After a successful career spanning more than 12 years, with more than one million units sold in 45 markets worldwide, Renault is renewing its Master range. New Master is due to go on sale in April 2010. New Renault Master's assertive styling previews the new design trend for Renault vans.
The cab offers the market's most comprehensive range of practical stowage solutions. Shaped around the specific requirements of business users and the equipment they need for their everyday work, these stowage solutions are both user-friendly and perfectly integrated into the design of the cab.
New Renault Master aims to become the segment's benchmark for comfort thanks to a complete reappraisal of the driving position and controls, enhanced visibility and the availability of a raft of comfort-enhancing features normally associated with passenger cars.
With an average fuel economy gain over the current Master range of 1 litre/100km, the front-wheel drive versions of New Master return class-topping combined-cycle fuel consumption as low as 7.1 litres/100km (187g of CO2/km). Servicing costs have been slashed by 40 per cent compared with the previous model and figure among the market's lowest.
The new rear-wheel drive versions, developed entirely by Renault, feature a monocoque construction for improved on-road performance and extra payload. The range has been extended to include an additional length option (L4, offering a carrying capacity of up to 17m3). Also new are 3.5 and 4.5 tonne versions (with twin rear wheels), as well features that give coachbuilders greater scope for conversions. 
New Renault Master is powered by the new 2.3 litre dCi engine which was developed to take on board the specific requirements of commercial vehicle users. The range includes three power outputs (dCi 100, dCi 125 and dCi 150) and is identical for both the front-wheel drive (transversally mounted) and rear-wheel drive versions (longitudinal).
New Renault Master will be manufactured at Renault's SOVAB* plant in Batilly, France. (*) SOVAB (Société des Véhicules Automobiles de Batilly) is a wholly-owned Renault subsidiary.
With a style that is clearly businesslike, rugged and high in quality, New Renault Master establishes a new set of standards for the Renault range of vans. 
The bold front-end design features a broad, painted grille and large, expressive headlamps. The muscular wheel arches and blunt bonnet convey a feeling of power, while the distinctive form of the asymmetric rear windows is one of New Master's visual hallmarks. The model's unmistakable rear lighting signature is founded on three triangular stop lights.
The ruggedness of New Master is clearly evident in its pleasing proportions, prominent protective bumper, and broad side protection mouldings. The rear lights are wider than those of the previous model and give the vehicle a more grounded stance, while the big door handles ensure a secure grip and improved strength in operation.
New Renault Master exudes a powerful aura of quality thanks to the particular attention that has been paid to the flushness of the body panels. The double-optic headlights and turn signals incorporated in the exterior mirrors are redolent of a high-end passenger car. 
The cab interior has been completely re-evaluated. The additional 5.7cm in length have been used to enhance travelling comfort, especially for taller occupants. The design of the interior reflects the results of research into drive-station ergonomics and practical stowage solutions. The two-tone theme of the sturdy, high- quality dashboard is echoed on the interior door trim. All the stowage bins and controls fall readily to hand, even while on the move. Special attention has also been paid to the quality of the materials and the sub- assemblies, with materials and fabrics carefully selected to cope with the high standards of durability required for heavy duty business use.
Three trims are available:
• Dark charcoal fabric.
• Dark blue with a hint of orange.
• 'Leather Look', an option that offers even greater resistance to wear for ultra heavy-duty use. 
The inside of the driver’s cab is a fully-fledged workspace for those who spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles and therefore need a comfortable and practical environment. 
A fully-fledged workspace in the cab
New Renault Master launches two major innovations which enhance the workspace inside the cab:
• A retractable document holder on the dashboard, positioned so as not to obstruct the driver’s vision.
Delivery documentation and other paperwork can be clipped onto this holder.
• A swivelling desk mounted on the backrest of the centre seat, and which pivots round to face the driver.
The design incorporates an adjustable table specially designed to house a laptop computer; it can also be used as a desk for writing and includes two cup-holders, as well as stowage space for stationery.
A raft of carefully designed stowage spaces
New Renault Master has the highest number of stowage spaces in the large van segment. These stowage spaces are practical, fall readily to hand and are designed to accommodate the paraphernalia of everyday working life:
• An overhead rack extending the full width of the cab.
• Provision for overhead fitment of the tachograph.
• Sunglasses holder.
• A dashboard compartment to accommodate a laptop computer and/or A4-size documents.
• A large oddments tray above the glovebox.
• An A4 file shelf.
• A mobile phone holder with a 12V socket for charging, a coin holder and a holder for cards or motorway
toll tickets – all within easy reach of the steering wheel.
• An MP3 player holder close to a second 12V socket, plus audio connectivity.
• Four can holders and a removable ashtray.
• A large 7.6 litre chilled glovebox (with optional Climate Control) with capacity for two 1.5-litre bottles or a single 2-litre bottle.
• Capacious door bins incorporating internal divisions and space for a 1.5-litre bottle.
• Roomy under-seat stowage accessible by lifting up the cushion of the passenger bench seat. The uninterrupted space allows larger items to be stashed away.
• Numerous trays to accommodate items such as keys, gloves, cigarette packets, folding umbrellas, etc.
Comfortable, user-friendly driver's environment
Thanks to the more reclined position of the driver’s seatback and the car-like steering wheel that is smaller in diameter and set more vertically, the driving position of New Master is much closer to that of a passenger car.
The combination of the numerous seat adjustments and the height-adjustable steering wheel allow drivers to find the driving position of their choice. 
Precise alignment of the seat, steering wheel and pedals helps minimise any subconscious effort made by drivers to correct their driving position during the course of a long journey, while most of the extra 6.7cm cabin length has been devoted to providing extra legroom.
All-round visibility in New Renault Master is among the market's best. The revised forms of the windscreen and side windows, the steeply sloping bonnet and the raising of the driving position by 49mm have improved the vertical field of view by 1.3 degrees and the horizontal view by 7.2 degrees.
A comprehensive list of equipment for saloon car comfort
New Renault Master takes its inspiration from passenger car design with a view to delivering a more comfortable and more occupant-friendly package. The main features include:
• Keyless locking allows users to lock and unlock doors without having to use the key. All they need to do is touch one of the front or rear exterior door handles' locking buttons. This feature is particularly useful when making frequent deliveries, for example.  
• Fixed cornering lights broaden the area illuminated by the lights at night when cornering and when parking.
• New, enhanced-performance automatic climate control: rapid attainment of the desired temperature, noiseless ventilation, improved distribution of airflow, uprated heating for cold-weather markets and improved thermal insulation thanks to the lining of the bulkhead, standard on the range's higher-level models.
• Extensive audio range with a choice of four different radio packages. The top of the range package comprises a radio and CD player with MP3 compatibility, a Bluetooth hands-free kit and multimedia connectivity for USB devices or an iPod. Albums and tracks can be selected via the steering wheel- mounted fingertip remote control, while song titles are displayed on the screen.
• The Carminat TomTom navigation system incorporates IQ RoutesTM*. Moving the display to the top of the windscreen [has enabled dashboard space to be freed up for stowage. The screen can be pivoted to the right or to the left to ensure the driver has the best possible view.
• Optional heated seats (depending on market).
• Reversing camera (accessory fitment).
• A full bulkhead is standard on the core models in the range. It improves sound insulation and provides security for goods in the cargo carrying area.
(*) The TomTom IQ RoutesTM system uses real-time traffic speed measurements to calculate the quickest possible route to your destination. By refreshing the TomTom® routings database with information derived from the actual journeys of millions of road users, the IQ RoutesTM system can calculate the optimum route for that particular day and time. 
TCO, or 'Total Cost of Ownership', is a highly influential factor in the decision to purchase a large van. Renault has therefore made a special effort to minimize the TCO's two most preponderant parameters: fuel consumption and maintenance costs. As a consequence, New Renault Master features the new 2.3 litre dCi engine (M9T), which combines outstanding performance with low running costs.
New 2.3 litre dCi engine: downsizing for both performance and economy
Derived from the 2.0 dCi (M9R), this new engine has been engineered to meet the specific needs associated with commercial vehicles. Although smaller than the G9U (2.5 litre dCi), it delivers more torque (+30Nm) and is available in a choice of three power outputs (dCi 100, dCi 125 and dCi 150). This engine is fitted transversely
in the case of front-wheel drive versions and longitudinally in rear-wheel drive versions.
Front-wheel drive versions are market leaders for fuel economy  
New Renault Master shows just how much progress Renault has made when it comes to reducing the fuel consumption of its light commercial vehicles. Compared with the previous-generation Master, consumption has been cut by an average of 1 litre per 100 km in the case of front-wheel drive versions, and by up to 2.7 litres per 100 km on rear-wheel drive versions. These results flag up the front-wheel drive versions of New Renault Master as the market leader regarding fuel economy (NEDC). Fuel consumption figures for New Renault Master begin at 7.1 litres per 100 km (187g/km of CO2), with the core model (L2H2, 125hp) returning 7.8 litres/100 km. These improvements represent a cost saving of €1,300 over a distance of 150,000km (based on a pre-tax diesel price of €0.87/litre). Renault Master has an operating range of more than 1,400km on a single tank of fuel, which is almost 200km further than its predecessor.
Maintenance costs are among the market's lowest
Maintenance costs have been cut by 40 per cent compared with the outgoing Master. This represents a saving of €500 over the course of 150,000 km or four years. This saving has been made possible thanks to:
• An oil change interval extended to every 40,000km or two years, whichever comes first. This is 10,000km
(or one year) more than before.
• Maintenance-free camshaft drive chain.
• Brake pad and disc life improved by 20 per cent. New Master is fitted with a brake pad wear warning light on the dashboard.
• Long-life coolant now allows change intervals to be extended to 160,000km compared with 120,000km previously.
Total Cost of Ownership has fallen by €1,800 on average over 150,000km (or four years, whichever comes first), for a monthly saving of €37 (*based on a pre-tax diesel price of €0.87/litre).
A significantly broader range
New Renault Master is one of the market's few large vans to offer the choice of either front- or rear-wheel drive. This is how the range has expanded:
• A new length option (L4) offering carrying capacity of up to 17m3 and a load length of up to 4.38 metres.
• 3.5 and 4.5 tonne versions with twin rear wheels permitting a higher payload.
• Towing capacity of up to 3 tonnes, bringing the gross train weight to 7.5 tonnes.
• Greater scope for conversions by coachbuilders.
The addition of these new versions means the New Renault Master range is unmatched at more than 350 configurations:
• 40 body options (panel van, combi, bus, chassis-cab, platform cab, etc.).
• A choice of four lengths (three wheelbases and two rear overhang options).
• Three height options.
• A choice of front- or rear-wheel drive (with single or twin rear wheels).
• Four GVWs: 2.8 tonnes, 3.3 tonnes, 3.5 tonnes (single and twin wheels respectively) or 4.5 tonnes (twin wheels)
Additional scope for conversions
With the previous Renault Master, 35 per cent of the panel vans sold and, naturally, all the chassis-cab and platform cab models provided the basis for conversions. The suitability of New Renault Master for conversions has been enhanced thanks to its basic design features and specific options. For example, the removable rear cross-member facilitates determination of the rear overhang and makes it easier for coachbuilders to convert. The availability of rear-wheel drive options will help New Renault Master increase its market presence, especially in segments such as flatbed cabs, tippers and high-cube panel vans.
New: monocoque construction rear wheel drive models
In contrast to the previous rear-wheel drive model, which had a separate chassis,the new rear-wheel drive
Renault Master features a rigid, monocoque construction, with the body forming a integral part of the chassis. This construction provides numerous advantages. The vehicle is lighter, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, manoeuvrability is improved, and the sill height can be lower while the payload is raised.
Rear-wheel drive versions of New Renault Master come as standard with load-sensing ESC and ASR traction control for enhanced road holding and stability performance by taking the different possible load configurations into account.
The optional differential lock helps traction on loose or slippery surfaces. 
Made-to-measure load space
Thanks to a choice of four lengths and three heights, the New Renault Master range offers ten different carrying capacities, ranging from 8m3 to 17m3.
Moving the spare wheel to a position underneath the vehicle has resulted in extra carrying capacity, while the doors and access to the load-space have been improved:
• The sliding side door has been widened by 17cm, making it one of the widest on the market.
• Twin sliding doors are available, enabling the vehicle to be loaded from either side.
• At the rear, access to the load-space is facilitated by one of the market's lowest sill heights: 548mm in the case of front-wheel drive versions, or 674mm in the case of rear-wheel drive versions (which have a step fitted as standard.)
Safety remains at the heart of Renault’s concerns and the company has designed New Master to be one of the safest vehicles in its segment thanks to a long list of high-end features:
Renault Master passive safety features include:
• A full complement of airbags (frontal and side-impact airbags for driver and passenger).
• Seatbelts fitted with pretensioners and load limiters.
To deliver top-level active safety, New Renault Master has:
• The market's shortest stopping distance (from 100kph to standstill, laden, on a dry road surface): 44.7 metres in the case of front-wheel drive versions, and 46.6 metres in the case of rear-wheel drive versions.
New Renault Master is able to achieve this performance thanks to 302mm-diameter ventilated disc brakes at the front and 305mm-diameter solid discs at the rear. Other technologies aimed at maximizing braking efficiency are ABS, emergency brake assist, and engine torque overrun regulation. 
• ESC is standard equipment for rear-wheel drive versions and optional in the case of front-wheel drive versions.
• Fixed cornering lights.
For the security of goods in the cargo area:
• Full steel (standard) or glazed bulkhead.
• Wood floor for standard duty (10mm gauge) or optional 15mm wood floor for heavy-duty use.
• Wood lining panels to protect body sides (accessory fitment). 
For the business user, vehicles play a key role in keeping the company running. The network that looks after such vehicles must therefore meet the highest standards of quality and service. Renault was already ahead of the game in 1999 when it set up a specific network to accompany the renewal of its light commercial vehicle range.
Renault is now building on this initiative and has expanded its range of services aimed at business customers in the form of a single network: Renault Pro+.
Renault Pro+ is a bespoke network dedicated to business road users. It delivers a tailor-made service geared to the demands of its customers' respective activities:
• Professional, brand-trained teams of sales and after-sales specialists.
• High visibility for products from the Renault LCV range, including vehicle conversions.
• Proximity thanks to the one-stop availability of all LCV-related services: new and used vehicle sales, specialised accessories and fittings, conversions, finance solutions, servicing and mobility contracts, leasing, etc. 
• Proactive operation thanks to a flexible organisation and equipment/tools suitable for vehicles up to seven tonnes: speedy customer support and agreed work time, with promises that are met in order to favour repeat business. 
• Profitability: thanks to its understanding of the individual requirements of each profession, Renault Pro+ helps optimize the time its customer spend focusing on their business activity.
The Renault Pro+ Customer Charter sets out the twelve points it sees as essential in sales and after-sales transactions. 
In the course of 2009, Renault opened 66 Renault Pro+ centres in 14 countries. The 2010 schedule year will see an acceleration in the network's international expansion, both within and outside of Europe. The target for 2012 is to have a network of 400 Renault Pro+ centres.