- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 3 seats
2.0DT, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
6 Spd Auto (DCT)
5 Yr, 200000 KMs
- Ancap Safety
2023 Renault Trafic Premium review
After a long innings, Renault has updated its mid-sized Trafic van. Changes are most obvious from the outside, but safety tech gets a welcome boost too.
- Comfortable with car-like conveniences
- Great load area with opening bulkhead storage
- Good amount of active safety gear
- Dual-clutch not the best at low speeds
- Needs more cabin storage, like overhead
2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto
After seven years on the market, the Renault Trafic medium-sized van has finally been updated.
It's quite a comprehensive facelift, too, with improvements being made to its driveline, platform and electrical underpinnings. The brand claims it's more car-like to drive, and that the addition of advanced safety systems like blind-spot monitoring helps speak to that point.
Another thing that's greater than before is the price, too, with our particular 2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto test van up nearly $5000 versus last year's outgoing model.
That means it's more expensive than a comparable 2023 Toyota HiAce and 2023 Hyundai Staria Load also, which no doubt will come into play for small business and fleet buyers.
But, if the mighty HiAce is too utilitarian for your business, and the Staria Load simply too weird-looking, then this good-looking French van – especially in Cumulus Blue – might be just right and worth the extra spend.
Let's see what it's like to drive and carry things with.
How much does the Renault Trafic cost in Australia?
The 2023 Renault Trafic range is offered in eight variations in Australia and starts from $48,200 before on-road costs for the Trafic Pro short wheelbase with a six-speed manual.
The switch to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic costs $2000 more, or $50,200 before on-roads. Our test vehicle is a Trafic Premium model – essentially a high-spec version of the regular three-seat single-row work van.
It only comes as an automatic, but it comes in two wheelbase sizes. Our van is the short-wheelbase version that starts from $53,200 plus on road costs, or about $58,000 drive-away.
Reasons for stepping up from a Trafic Pro and into a Trafic Premium include extra safety gear like blind-spot monitoring and traffic sign recognition, wireless phone charging, keyless entry, and a glazed bulkhead with a load-through flap.
If you want the long-wheelbase version, it costs another $2000, or $55,200. Other versions in the range include a five-seat crew cab model that starts from $53,200, with both prices being before on-road costs.
However, our 2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto best represents the bulk of what customers will be ordering.
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|Key details||2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto|
|Price||$53,200 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Cumulus Blue|
|Price as tested||$53,200|
|Drive-away price||$58,451 (Sydney)|
|Rivals||Toyota HiAce | Hyundai Staria Load | Peugeot Expert|
How much space does the Renault Trafic have inside?
Work vans require large amounts of ergonomic storage. They're offices on the move, so everything from a decent-sized cupholder to an area for some pens and paper is critical.
There's a good amount inside a Renault Trafic, but it's also missing a few key items. The dashboard has a vast open storage pit behind the infotainment screen complete with two USB ports, making it great for charging simple devices. However, anything you leave there will be exposed to passers-by.
The other storage area located on the dashboard is beside the gearshifter lever, and is probably where you'll keep your phone plugged in to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
There's no overhead storage, which is a big shame, but the door pockets are big enough for notepads and a bottle of water. Folding down the middle seat reveals more storage – including a huge but shallow tray with Velcro tie-down strap – as well as another cupholder too. There are two larger ones on the dashboard that are better to use anyway.
The seats are decent enough for the coin, with the driver's pew featuring lumbar adjustment; however, you have to pay extra for the same thing on the passenger's side. Maybe short-change the first-year apprentice? I'm sure they won't mind. The driver's seat is comfortable yet firm, but I'd prefer a bit more contouring to suit my body type.
More broadly speaking, all the controls are in the right places and key instrumentation is nice and legible. The small centre screen in the gauge cluster is a high-definition and colour-screen item too.
It's possible to fit 5.65m³ into the cargo load area of a 2023 Renault Trafic SWB with a maximum load length of 2537mm. As our Trafic Premium model features an openable flap on the bulkhead, its load length can be extended through to 3750mm. It's only a shoebox-size opening, however, so consider it best for things like architraves or lengths of conduit. Its maximum load widths are 1662mm in total, with 1268mm offered between the wheel arches.
A Toyota HiAce's cargo area will fit 6.2m³ and will take items 2530mm long and 1497mm wide. The same specs for the Hyundai Staria are 4.9m³, 2670mm long and 1640mm wide above the arches.
Overall, the Trafic's cargo load area dimensions are on par for the class, but its extendable load length means it could potentially be a hit with some trades or professions. Note that our test car's rubber cargo mat is an extra cost accessory.
|2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto|
Length: 2537mm (3750mm through bulkhead)
Width: 1662mm (1268mm between wheel arches)
Does the Renault Trafic have Apple CarPlay?
The 2023 Renault Trafic range features an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There's also wireless charging found in the Trafic Premium.
The infotainment system itself is a bit laggy and it renders Apple CarPlay with low resolution, though it remained trouble-free during testing.
Bluetooth quality is great for a van too. Navigation isn't standard, but is available as part of the optional Business pack along with a heated driver's seat, climate control air conditioning, alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers.
Is the Renault Trafic a safe car?
The 2023 Renault Trafic has not been assessed by Australian crash-testing experts ANCAP. However, the facelifted model still rides on the 2015 platform, which has been crash-tested by European crash-test authority Euro NCAP.
Euro NCAP scored the 2015 model three out of five stars, with sub-par adult occupant protection (52 per cent) and low pedestrian detection (53 per cent).
|2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto|
What safety technology does the Renault Trafic have?
The 2023 Renault Trafic Premium features a decent array of active driver assist systems.
Standard fit on Trafic Premium models is autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, front, rear and side parking sensors, plus a rear-view camera.
A decent portion of those systems remains optional on the entry-level Trafic Pro model, so consider that fact when in the showroom. The side parking sensors are clever in that the vehicle uses different warning tones to denote different areas of the vehicle (side, front or back).
Once you understand the tones and the areas they represent, it makes backing up and kerbside parks easier. It also helps you to place the van where you want, or with enough room for unloading via the side doors.
How much does the Renault Trafic cost to maintain?
Servicing a 2023 Renault Trafic costs $649 per year for the first three years or 90,000km of travel or $1947 in total. The brand expects you to return every 12 months or 30,000km – an absolute boon for couriers and businesses on the move.
Years four and five cost $959 and $649 respectively, or $3555 for five years/150,000km worth of travel. Although expensive, the distance is what may work in your favour.
Toyota expects you to service its HiAce van every six months/10,000km, whereas Hyundai is 12 months/15,000km. Basically, if you're covering the miles, it makes the Renault Trafic level-pegging.
Insuring the Renault Trafic Premium (for private use) costs $1861 per year based on a comparative quote for a 35 year old male driver, living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances. That's about average for a commercial vehicle of its kind.
|At a glance||2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto|
|Service intervals||12 months or 30,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1947 (3 years)
$3555 (5 years)
Is the Renault Trafic fuel-efficient?
The claimed fuel efficiency of the 2023 Renault Trafic Premium with six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is 6.5L/100km.
Over a week-long loan and covering 550km, we saw fuel consumption finalise at 7.0L/100km. Around 150km of driving was conducted with approximately 600kg of load in the back (floorboards and tiles).
We spend 60 per cent of our driving on the freeway, too, so if you're more like 60–70 per cent around town, you'll see figures slightly greater again. Some cars we test are around 2L/100km more thirsty than the claim, so it's a good result overall.
Fuel Consumption - brought to you by bp
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||6.5L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.0L/100km|
|Fuel tank size||80L|
What is the Renault Trafic like to drive?
Around town and unladen, the 2023 Renault Trafic remains pleasurable to drive.
Unladen, it feels a touch bouncy and fidgety, but with 350kg on board it settles down instantly. With another 300kg on board (or just over 700kg in total) it remained a treat to drive up and down the Hume Highway in New South Wales at 110km/h, and in and around the rural towns near Bowral where 80km/h zones and flowing country roads are common.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is a workhorse, in that it felt much the same with just me on board, as it did with more than 500kg of load. The motor makes 125kW/380Nm, so a pinch less than the diesel engine found in the Toyota HiAce. It feels gutsy, however, and the French have a great historic reputation building reliable diesel engines.
It was efficient, too, using in and around the combined fuel consumption figure despite spending decent time in peak-hour traffic. Our test car was equipped with the optional six-speed automatic 'EDC', or efficient dual-clutch.
At low speeds there's some hesitation, but again it seems to smooth out with more weight behind it. On the roll, the gearshifts are swift, and it seems to have a knack for finding the right gear at the right time.
Refinement is decent, too, with no cabin vibrations or buzzy-sounding engine getting in the way of a good session of vanning. Things like its lane-departure warning system and automatic braking are well calibrated and not overly sensitive, meaning they don't get in the way of driving.
It's obviously not car-like, but it's not far off to be honest. The solid and glazed bulkhead does a nice job of insulating you from the vast space behind, and the cabin is all the better for it.
There are a couple of other user-friendly touches, like the inclusion of smart-key locking buttons on all doorhandles of the vehicle. That means your cargo area stays locked until you interact with it, and you can also lock the whole van from every handle if you have to. It's a must when you're carrying boxes or just generally rushing around in a hurry.
As I was carrying hardwood flooring, among other things, I personally found the extendable bulkhead storage area invaluable. It even has magnets on the door lid to hold itself open, meaning there's no excuse not to use it.
|Key details||2023 Renault Trafic Premium SWB Auto|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel|
|Power||125kW @ 3500rpm|
|Torque||380Nm @ 1500rpm|
|Drive type||Front-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Six-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||70kW/t|
|Spare tyre type||Full-size|
|Tow rating||1680kg braked
Should I buy a Renault Trafic?
It's a bit dearer than the staples from Toyota and Hyundai, but the 2023 Renault Trafic Premium is worth your consideration.
The extendable load area is one nice touch and its overall cubic metreage is on point, but the way it drives is half the sell. It's comfortable, quiet, and friendly to park in and around tight areas and up long driveways due to heaps of driver assist systems.
That'll go a long way in terms of mitigating damage by workers – or yourself – to minimise downtime. In terms of racking solutions, there are plenty of cool ready-to-go solutions both locally and from Europe depending on your budget, so fitting one out is cost-effective and easy.
I also think first impressions matter for an up-and-coming small business, too, so the way the Trafic looks is simply a bonus. It's clearly a cut above the average van, and things like bold colour options further sing from the same songbook.
Pick a bold colour, get some nice signage, and stand out from the rest on the way to, and on, the job site.