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Manual only Renault Trafic Crew checks in

New Crew: The Renualt Trafic Crew can fit six people and four cubic metres of cargo.

Six-seater Renault Trafic Crew offers alternative to dual-cab ute work vehicle


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23 Feb 2017

RENAULT’S six-seat Trafic Crew van has arrived in Australia priced from $42,990 before on-roads and the car-maker hopes it will appeal to tradies and small businesses as an alternative to dual-cab utes.

It is offered as two variants – the base Crew, which can be optioned with a $2490 Premium pack, or the $45,980 Crew Lifestyle, which adds features such as automatic climate control, chrome front grille highlights, body coloured exterior mirrors, rear light surround and slide door rail, and opening rear windows.

Renualt Australia hopes the Crew – which is based on the top-spec long-wheelbase L2H1 Trafic – will further bolster sales of the Trafic after a strong showing in 2016, the first full year that the new-generation model was on sale.

However, the bulk of Trafic sales will still come from the three-seat variant, with Renault Australia light-commercial vehicles (LCV) senior model line manager Lyndon Healey saying that the company was aiming for around 2000 sales of the Trafic this year, after scoring 1730 in 2016.

He said that the company would be able to increase that number if the manual-only Trafic range, including the Crew, was expanded to include an automatic variant.

“We’re expecting somewhere around 2000 sales, it would be 3000 if we had an auto as well, because there would be some cannibalisation of manual,” he said.

While buyers of the previous-gen Trafic preferred the automatic transmission to the manual, Mr Healey said the problem of not having an auto is diminished by the torque of the Trafic’s 1.6-litre twin-turbo diesel engine that requires fewer gear changes.

“If you look at our split of the old one it was about 60/40 in favour of the auto, but one of the advantages of this particular Trafic is being twin-turbo it has a lot of bottom end so you don’t really need to change gears as much any more,” he said.

“But I understand why guys who are working all day might not want to get into a van and use a clutch when they’re stuck on the Monash freeway or the Tullamarine freeway or whatever.

“We’ll get (an auto) hopefully in the not-too-distant future, but for now its a manual. I like it, and a lot of customers like it.”

Mr Healey was hesitant to put a timeframe on the arrival of the auto at this stage.

“Tomorrow would be nice – once again we won’t get it any time in the near future,” he said.

“I’ve seen some timings for this thing, but I also know that those timings can move around a lot and our dealer network harasses us constantly about when they’re going to get this thing, and if they see we’ve quoted a time, you can put any number of qualifying statements behind it, all they’ll remember is the fact that you’ve said this day. And if we don’t get it, it just creates problems.

“Kangoo diesel auto is a good example. We were expecting to have it in Q3 last year, and it will now be a Q3 product this year. So that was moved out three months in a six or seven month timeframe so you can imagine as you get out further that timeframe becomes more and more stretched.”

Mr Healey indicated that when the auto variant arrived in Australia, Renault LCV could expand the Trafic range to include the people-moving Combi variant that is sold in Europe, which can be configured to seat up to nine people.

He said that the case for a manual people-mover was not strong enough to warrant bringing it over at this stage, but when the auto arrives it could slot into the range without cannibalising any current models, given the Scenic MPV was discontinued Down Under in 2009.

That could change if the new-generation Grand Scenic is offered here, which, as GoAuto has reported, Renault Australia is considering.

Sales of the Trafic have risen sharply over the last five years, jumping from 423 sales in 2012 to 1730 last year.

Mr Healey said Renault LCV was aiming for a 20 per cent share of the van market this year, up from 18.5 per cent last year, but added that he was expecting sales to plateau.

“We’ll run out of opportunity there simply because the van market over the past five or six years has wobbled up and down around that 25,000 (sales) line,” he said.

“You just run out of opportunity to grow. Looking at our growth in share decline will probably top out next year.

“Until we get new products or price repositioning, or our network grows, you get to a point where you can’t keep growing forever.”

The Trafic is powered by Renault’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel producing 104kW/340Nm and paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crew has a 1118kg payload and braked towing capacity of 2000kg.

It sips 6.2 litres of fuel per 100km, giving it a range over more than 1000km from its 80-litre tank.

Standard specification on the Crew includes glazed sliding doors for the second row, a glazed bulkhead behind the extra seats, two 49-litre storage boxes with extra pockets, a 12V socket and second-row trim that matches the front seats.

Adding the premium pack nets buyers additional features such as body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, 17-inch alloys, heated driver’s seat, Arkamys stereo, deadlocks, 800-amp battery, upgraded multimedia system with 7.0-inch touchscreen, and ‘mobile office’ features that include tablet holder and premium dashboard.

Opting for the top-spec Lifestyle adds a hands-free entry card, automatic climate control, opening windows for rear passengers, chrome grille headlights and a gloss black badge surround.

All variants come with three-point harnesses for all seatbelts, an integrated bulkhead that meets Australian AS4034 barrier standards, and six airbags.

2017 Renault Trafic Crew pricing*
Trafic Crew$42,990
Trafic Crew with Premium Pack$45,480
Trafic Crew Lifestyle$45,980
*Excludes on-road costs

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