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Renault TRAFIC

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Both more practical and more premium, the 2020 Trafic also brings new styling and a superb automatic transmission option.

Did you know that the Renault Trafic celebrates its 40th birthday this year? This iconic French van may have only surfaced in Australia in 2004, but in Europe it replaced the Estafette way back in 1980! So what you’re looking at here – the new- decade refresh of the third-generation Trafic – has literally millions of development kilometres behind it, in order to make it the standardsetting van that it is today.

What Europeans haven’t traditionally been known for, however, is automatic transmissions. Any visit to the Continent will tell you that most people still prefer manuals, though that is definitely changing. And in the Trafic’s case, literally changing – gears, that is. All by itself.

For the MY20 model year, the Trafic combines an up-to-date makeover with the availability of a gutsier turbo-diesel engine option plus an automatic transmission – one that’s perfectly suited to Australia’s heavily populated major cities, and not just because it only has two pedals.

In conjunction with a new 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine producing 125kW almost imperceptibly and features a ‘tip-shift’ section alongside the regular P-R-N-D gate that’s set up for ‘manual’ shifting.

The two-pedal Trafic is a terrific companion for its general dynamic abilities. Renault’s staple van is renowned for its car-like competence when stringing a twisty road together, and the dual-clutch model expands on that even further. It’s torquey enough to be left in Drive virtually all of the time, and the Trafic’s well-balanced handling and pliant ride make that combination a relaxing, yet rewarding experience.

Along with the exterior and interior changes wrought for the Trafic’s MY20 makeover (see sidebar), Renault has shuffled the model line-up to provide greater value than ever.

The range kicks off with the Trafic Pro – available in both short- and long-wheelbase configurations with an 85kW single-turbo diesel engine and six-speed manual ’box, starting at $36,990 (not including on-road costs) for the SWB and $38,990 (not including on-road costs) for the LWB. Now standard is a rear-view camera, ‘dusk-sensing’ headlights and ‘rain-sensing’ wipers, front fog lights, a leather-boundsteering wheel, under-bench seat storage and a new foldable-insert key.

The Trafic Premium kicks off at $39, 990 (not including on-road costs) for the twin-turbo 103kW six-speed manual. Also available in short- and long-wheelbase forms, it introduces a fuel-saving idle-stop system, a workstation bench, a load-through flap for its cabin bulkhead, rear barn doors, a sliding door on the driver’s side, a 7.0-inch touchscreen ‘Media Navigation’ system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a mobile phone cradle and security deadlocking.

The Premium also offers the 125kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel/dual-clutch auto drivetrain as an option, starting at $43,990 (not including on-road costs) for the SWB, and $2000 more for the LWB.

Then there’s the uniquely appealing six-seat Trafic Crew Lifestyle. Kinda like a modern day version of what large Aussie station wagons were in the ’70s, the Crew Lifestyle features two rows of essentially three individual seats for unparalleled van comfort, plus four cubic metres of cargo space thanks to its long-wheelbase layout.

Powered by the 125kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel with dual-clutch auto, the Crew Lifestyle gains 17-inch ‘Cyclade’ alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, side door protection, a chrome grille, keyless entry and start, a heated driver’s seat, climate-control, and rear privacy glass. This Trafic flagship starts at $52,990 (before on-road costs).

Renault offers several options packs to allow for easy personalisation, as well as a huge range of dealer-fitted individual features and accessories.

A $1600 Trade Pack for the Trafic Pro includes a smartphone cradle, a key with single-door opening, a wide-view mirror, wooden cargo floor and full-height wall lining, LED ceiling lights, a heavy-duty battery and a spare-wheel basket. Further individual options include a right-hand sliding side door, a steel bulkhead, a single passenger seat, rear barn doors in place of a tailgate, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto.

A Trade Pack is also available on the Trafic Premium, as well as a Business Pack with body-coloured bumpers, 17-inch alloys, keyless entry, tinted windows, climatecontrol, and heated seats.

The updated MY20 Renault Trafic is available in Renault showrooms now.

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