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Renault Trafic 2004 Review

In the Trafic, Renault might have produced a van that will change this perception.

It goes against "van law" by actually having character and delivering respectable performance, ride and handling while offering secure transport for two pallets in the boxy load area.

Trafic is new on the scene and breaks with tradition by having a high tech, 74kW/240Nm, common rail, turbo diesel engine and a six speed manual transmission.

This combination gives Trafic an impressive turn of speed (for a van) and impressive fuel economy.

The four cylinder engine is just 1.9-litres in capacity but punches above its weight.

The six speed gearbox helps immeasurably with this and also helps Trafic return something like 8.0L/100km fuel economy. A range exceeding 1000km is easily accessible from one 90 litre tankful.

But what really impresses is Trafic's taut feel.

Drive most 1.2 tonne vans and they tend to rattle and squeak a bit when you drive on bumpy roads. The back "barn" doors always seem to jiggle and rattle.

Trafic makes no noises at all, its rock solid.

The chassis is responsible for this and also gives Trafic a most un-van-like handling and ride characteristics. It is quite wieldy in tight going and despite its size, can be pedalled through traffic with confidence.

The driving position is relatively comfortable thanks to well positioned controls, good seats and an upright steering wheel. The gearstick is mounted high in the dash like a rally car. The only real criticism is the lack of a left footrest but there isn't room for one in the foot well.

Trafic is unusually styled and has a definite Gallic look to the front, a real French face if that's possible.

The roofline bulges over the passenger compartment and all doors are large and open wide to facilitate loading.

Passenger access demands a high step up into the cabin to a high seating position – good for a clear forward view. From a working point of view, the dash area is functional and well laid out. The load area floor is low and access is easy through the barn doors or a slider on the left.

Quite a few Trafic variants are offered in four comfort levels and three body types – short wheelbase low roof and long wheel base low and high roof. All share the same powertrain. The test base model took a tonne without objecting.

Prices start at $33,490 but you don't get air condition for that – it costs an extra $2800.

Other vans might be cheaper but the front drive Renault is (currently) in a class of its own in this segment.

Pricing guides

$6,870
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$4,500
Highest Price
$9,240

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LWB 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,000 – 7,700 2004 Renault Trafic 2004 LWB Pricing and Specs
LWB Comfort 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,100 – 7,920 2004 Renault Trafic 2004 LWB Comfort Pricing and Specs
LWB Hi-Roof 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,300 – 8,140 2004 Renault Trafic 2004 LWB Hi-Roof Pricing and Specs
LWB Hi-Roof Comfort 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,400 – 8,360 2004 Renault Trafic 2004 LWB Hi-Roof Comfort Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$4,500

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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