Watch out Ford Transit! New Renault Master aims to conquer the large panel van segment

The all-new Renault Master van will be available to order from early next year

Revealed at the Solutrans Commercial Vehicle Show in France, the new Renault Master is the largest model in the brand's UK commercial fleet, sitting above the smallest Kangoo and mid-size Trafic. It promises to be the most efficient and connected van in the range, and it's the first to use the new Renault logo that first debuted on the Megane E-Tech.

In terms of design, Renault has introduced a new front end to the Master with large C-shaped LED headlight signatures and a horizontal strip stretching across the grille. The rear features a fresh set of rear lights but overall it’s unsurprisingly a recognizable shape.  

Renault is touting improved aerodynamic efficiency compared with the old one thanks to a shorter bonnet, reduced angle of the windscreen, and a tapered rear end that has yielded improvements of around 20 per cent compared with the current model. These improvements bring benefits in reducing wind noise at speed, as well as reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Those emissions are under 200g/km, which should challenge the latest Ford Transit. There are two versions of the 2.0-litre diesel engine ranging from 128bhp to 169bhp. You can have front or rear-wheel drive configurations, depending on the wheelbase you go for. Gearbox options are a standard six-speed manual, or nine-speed automatic. A maximum payload figure of 2396kg is competitive, although there are versions of the Transit that can handle up to 2800kg.

Renault also announced that a hydrogen-powered Master using fuel cell technology developed with joint venture partner Plug Power is coming (and will be the only Renault van available with it). This will be an evolution of the 2022 Master Van H2-Tech hydrogen van which comes with a maximum range of 310 miles.  

For the all-electric E-Tech, that now gets a bigger battery than before, increasing from 52kWh up to 87kWh. Power almost doubles from 76bhp for the old E-Tech up to 141bhp for the new model. Payload capacity also increases from 1,420kg up to 1,625kg in the short wheelbase, low roof model. The official range for the larger battery pack version also increases from 126 miles to over 255 miles.

Auto Express attended the Solutrans Commercial Vehicle Show but there wasn’t the opportunity to drive the new Master - although we did get the chance to climb aboard. The new interior has a much more driver-focused shape to benefit ergonomics, with the standard 10-inch touchscreen display using Renault OpenR Link backed up with Google software. In typical van fashion, there are plenty of cupholders, and storage areas totalling 135 litres - a 25 per cent increase on the old model. We were impressed by the comfortable driving position, because the bulkhead doesn’t hinder your ability to push the seat back, and you can actually recline the backrest and not have to adopt a bolt-upright driving position. 

Pricing and trim specifications have yet to be announced but the new Master will be available to order from early 2024 with first deliveries taking place from September. It’ll once again rival the likes of the Peugeot Boxer, Citroen Relay and Vauxhall Movano - all of which will be updated in the coming months. 

Is hydrogen power a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

Online Reviews Editor

Max looks after the reviews on the Auto Express website. He’s been a motoring journalist since 2017 and has written for Autocar, What Car?, Piston Heads, DrivingElectric, Carbuyer, Electrifying, and Good Motoring Magazine.

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