Renault has added yet another commercial vehicle to its range, the 12-seater Master bus.
The starting point is the Master L3H2 long-wheelbase van, with Renault adding a raft of active and passive safety features and ample comfort items.
There is a sliding passenger door for ease of access, a centre aisle between the wide seats and, via the dual rear "barn doors", huge luggage space. Interior headroom of 1880mm enables all but the tallest occupant to reach a seat without ducking.
Power goes to the front wheels from the drivetrain shared with the van, a 2.3-litre four-cylinder (110kW/350Nm) Euro 5-compliant engine teamed with six-speed automated manual transmission.
Standard gear includes a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, Bluetooth, hill start assist and Renault's Grip X-Tend — a traction enhancer for slippery surfaces.
The Master bus has a decent 1252kg payload and, as with van versions, 2.5-tonne towing capacity.
The luggage area is 3.5 cubic metres, giving the bus more load space than that of a standard Renault Kangoo van.
All versions come with a secondary airconditioning setup designed to cope with Australian conditions
Overall vehicle height is 2475mm, thanks to the front wheel-drive layout.
In addition to seat belts at each position, two seats have ISOFIX connections and child seat top tether straps, in accordance with safety regulations.
All versions come with a secondary airconditioning setup designed to cope with Australian conditions. The blower unit over the luggage bay circulates air into the passenger area, complementing the front-mounted standard van system.
Features include a glazed emergency hatch in the roof, reclining seat backs for the two middle rows, hard-wearing vinyl flooring, quality interior mouldings, durable, two-tone grey jacquard seat fabric and a step that slides out when the sliding door opens.
The Premium Pack option brings powered sliding door, auto headlights and rain sensing wipers, R-Link satnav with touchscreen, keyless entry, four USB charging sockets, LED roof lighting, window curtains, premium carpeting and reclining rear row seats.
The Luxury Pack, due later in the year, adds leather upholstery for all seats, lane departure warning, storage under the front passenger seat, alarm, automatic high-beam and dark tinted windows.
Pack features are available individually to special order. The Premium Pack is $3590 and the Luxury Pack $7990.
Renault is developing a version without seats or elevated floor, suitable for converters to install wheelchair access equipment.
The Master Bus has the same cover as the vans: three-year/200,000km warranty (extendable to four or five years), 24-hour roadside assistance for the warranty period and capped price servicing for the first three scheduled services (intervals up to 30,000km, at $349 each).
Paint options include seven solid and three metallic colours. Prices start at $59,990.
Which do you prefer: the Master L3H2 or the Volkswagon T6 Transporter? Let us know in the comments below.