Monday, October 25, 2021
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2021 Renault Master MWB Pro (car review)

IF Daenerys Targaryen is the Queen of Dragons, then the 2021 Renault Master MWB Pro could well be the queen of vans. Or something like it. It’s big, powerful and technology laden. Perhaps that makes it a dragon itself rather than their ruler.

That or we just went off on one hell of a tangent. Crazy connectivity to Game of Thrones aside, the mid-wheelbase version of the Renault Master came in handy when it was time to relocate the Exhaust Notes Australia offices, and the boss’s home, earlier this year.

Despite multiple suggestions to hire removalists, a combination solution was found to give us the best of both worlds. Less moving costs thanks to loading the van to its roof with the more than 70 boxes we had to relocate, being the primary target.

The big heavy furniture stuff was flick passed (or perhaps hospital passed) to the removal guys, and the van did the box loads. Thanks to its 3083mm cargo bay length, 1894mm height and 1765mm width, it made easy work of the hauling duties it was assigned.

Powered by a 2.3-litre twin turbo diesel powerplant that offers 120kW of power and 360Nm of torque, the front-wheel drive platform is mated to a smooth 6-speed manual transmission, that doesn’t bat an eyelid, even when climbing steep hills.

It has a payload of 1,623kg and a maximum braked towing capacity of 2,500kg. Pretty impressive for a van really, as is the 10.8m3 load volume. A kerb weight of 1,887kg means you’re not burning fuel hauling a heavy vehicle either.

But it’s the features and safety package that make it stand out from some of its competitors, including LED daytime running lights, auto headlights and wipers, an underbody spare wheel, and glazed dual rear doors with a 270-degree opening angle.

There’s a side sliding door on one side as well, making it easy to load up with stuff. The blind spot door mirrors are magic when playing in the traffic, and extra good when reversing into tight driveways (we tested that one out personally).

Likewise, the hill start assist with grip X-tend is brilliant, and heads a safety package that includes front driver and passenger airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, cruise control and a speed limiter.

Inside, there’s a stand-alone driver’s seat, with height, reach and lumbar adjustment, and a dual passenger bench seat with a fold down centre seat that turns into a table, with cup holders (it’s actually a great spot to work from on the roadside).

The 7.0-inch infotainment system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as all the normal features you’d expect, including satellite navigation. There’s a tonne of storage too. There’s literally options to put things, everywhere.

There are multiple pockets and a drink bottle holder in each door, cup holders, huge underseat storage under the whole passenger bench seat, and an overhead parcel/storage shelf as well.

It was truly hard to fault the Master van. It handles exceptionally well, even empty and feels very car-like on the road. Renault have done a great job finding the sweet spot between a big, practical van, and something that’s properly nice to drive.

It has a 100-litre fuel tank, which in theory means you could just about drive forever (obviously not literally), but we did see impressive fuel economy figures of as low as 8.1-litres/100km during our test. That equates to a fairly decent 1200-odd kilometres.

On the downside, there’s some safety tech missing, like autonomous emergency braking for example, and blind spot monitoring, and some rivals also have lane keep assist. It’s also a very tall van, making it difficult to get in and out of some sites.

Not being used to the height also meant we found ourselves reversing out of a couple of driveways after realising we were going to hit the maximum roof height board. Someone who owned it wouldn’t have that problem, and as our test wore on, neither did we.

Priced at $49,990 drive away, the 2021 Renault Master MWB Pro comes with a 5-year 200,000km warranty, 5-years worth of 24-hour roadside assistance, and 5-years capped price servicing.

It’s available in short wheelbase, medium wheelbase (as tested), long wheelbase and extra long wheelbase. It can be had in ten colours, including the Glacier White colour we had, Tempest Blue, Pearlescent Black and Star Grey.

You can also opt for Carmen Red, Caribbean Blue, Orange, Chrome Yellow, Urban Grey and Persian Blue. On a side note, the Renault Master can also be had in the form of a bus, should you require a vehicle to transport people, rather than boxes.

Our test vehicle was provided by Renault Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Renault Master MWB Pro van, contact your local Renault dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
7.75
Value for money
8.75

SUMMARY

Pros - diesel powertrain has power on tap; comfortable interior; impressive fuel economy.
Cons - tall roof height significantly restricts access to some sites; wants for more safety tech.
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

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