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Renault and Opel go commercial

Vans to go: Renault's revised Master range (above), Opel's updated Vivaro/Movano twins (below, top) and the tweaked Renault Trafic due on sale here early next year (below, bottom).

Renault and Opel take swipes at Fiat's new Ducato with revised commerical van models

6 Jun 2006

THE dust has hardly settled from the fanfare for Fiat’s new-generation Ducato van, which was revealed this month alongside co-developed sister models from Peugeot (Boxer) and Citroen (Jumper), and now Renault and Opel have revealed revised contenders for the lucrative commercial van market.

While the redesigned Ducato range and Renault’s facelifted Trafic and Master models will appear Down Under from early next year, Peugeot Automobiles Australia continues to investigate local prospects for the new Boxer.

But the odds of ever seeing GM Opel’s new Vivaro and Movano vans in Australia are long, with GM Holden admitting the business case to sell Opel-built commercials in Australia still doesn’t stack up.

35 center imageRenault says it’s the number one van brand in Europe and makes no bones about the fact it has ushered in a facelifted version of its large Trafic and Master vans – both of which are available here – via revised interior and exterior styling and a range of Euro IV emissions-compliant engines, in direct response to its new rivals from Fiat, Peugeot and Citroen.

Trafic’s new front-end comprises one-piece headlight units with integrated indicators and a new grille with bolder Renault Renault signage.

Similarly, a new footplate and tail-lights – plus the Renault logo, as on passenger car models - echo the changes at rear.

Meantime, the revised Master also features a bolder new grille and bumper unit, the latter with 10 per cent larger air intake and provision for factory fog lights.

Renault says "significant improvements" have been made in dashboard assembly quality for both Trafic and Master, both of which feature new trim and interior finishes. Master also gets new storage facilities, including two five-litre overhead parcel shelves and a two-litre cubby on the centre console.

In Europe, the revised Trafic will be available in short (3098mm) and long (3498mm) wheelbases, short (1960mm) and high (2500mm) roof heights and three body styles: panel van, commercial passenger vehicle (Trafic: nine-seater) and platform cab.

The top-selling SL (short wheelbase, low roof) continues to have a load volume of five cubic square metres, a load length of 2.41 metres and an interior height of 1.38 metres, while the long-wheelbase has a load volume of 5.93 cubic metres an extra 400mm in length.

The six-seat Trafic Crew Van will also continue to be available in both short and long-wheelbase versions of the low-roof models, with a load area of up to four cubic metres.

The big changes are in the engine department, with two revised versions of Renault-Nissan’s 2.0 dCi (M9R) engine now offering 67kW/240Nm and 86kW/290Nm – both mated to a six-speed manual and the latter soon to become available with a six-speed robotized "Quickshift6" transmission.

Meantime, the 2.5 dCi engine gets a power upgrade from 100kW to 112kW, now employs a particulate filter and will be available with six-speed manual or robotizes transmissions. The 90kW 2.0-litre 16V petrol engine, borrowed from Scenic, Laguna and Espace, now also meets Euro IV standards.

Both Renault vans have also received safety and comfort upgrades.

In Europe, Master will be available in three wheelbases (4890mm, 5400mm and 5890mm), three roof heights (2250mm, 2480mm and 2720mm) and panel van, commercial passenger vehicle (for six, nine and 16 people) and platform-cab bodystyles. Master load volumes will range from eight cubic metres to 13.9.

As for Opel, new versions of the Movano (first released in Europe in 1999) and Vivaro (available overseas since 2001) will be officially unveiled at the European commercial vehicle show at Hanover in September after becoming available for order from July and August respectively.

Opel hopes the new models will lift its presence in Europe’s 2.8 to 3.5-tonne gross weight commercial vehicle category, with Vivaro presenting new front-end styling, new dropside versions, more equipment and two new 2.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engines.

The revised Movano gets a revised engine line-up based on the 2.5 CDTI engine, which now meets Euro IV emissions regs and comes in 74kW (was 73kW), 88kW (was 84kW) and 107kW/320Nm guises, the latter replacing the 100kW 3.0 CDTI engine.

Panel van and Combi versions of the revised 2007 Movano will also come with the option of ESP Plus stability control.

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