Review: Renault Master (2010)
Strong value new or used, punchy 2.3-litre chain cam dCi diesel engine, huge choice of bodystyles and conversions, 3.5 tonne Master will carry payloads weighing up to 1500kg.
Earliest models are starting to feel their age, disappointing level of standard equipment, not as easy to drive as its rivals from Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.
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Renault Master (2010): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure
The Master is the largest and most versatile van in the Renault range. Affordable, easy to drive and offered with a wide choice of bodystyles and load lengths, the Master will carry up to five Euro pallets, weighing 2.1 tonnes.
The Renault Master will carry up to 1500kg in the 3.5 tonne van class, which means you don't need a special or older driving licence to access the van's heavy duty loan moving potential. The Master is also offered with front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Launched in 2010, the Master marked a big leap in terms of quality and refinement compared to the previous model, with higher levels of in-cab comfort and lower running costs. A comprehensive update in 2014 provides lower fuel costs and improved comfort further, while a model refresh in 2019 added better refinement.
Like its Vauxhall Movano counterpart, the Master comes with a powerful 2.3 dCi diesel engine that's been engineered specifically for a large van. You get the choice of three power outputs, with the145PS and 150PS being the sweet spots in the range.
Payloads range from 800kg to 2000kg, depending on which model you choose, with the largest panel van providing 17 cubic metres while the huge box van - which is popular with removal firms - provides a whopping 19.3 cubic metres.
Getting stuff in and out of the Master panel van is a breeze, thanks to the large side and rear doors. All vans get a single side sliding door as standard with a minimum width of 1050mm. The rear barn-like door provide a maximum opening of 1580mm.
Renault's big van isn't without its faults, the interior isn't as smart or as comfortable as its key rivals and the 2.3-litre diesel engine is also quite noisy under full acceleration. Advertised fuel costs are also lower than that of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The key to the Master's appeal is found in its value for money and abundance on the used van market. Cheaper to buy than many of its rivals, new or used, the Master is a solid all-rounder and an easy van to recommend.
What does a Renault Master (2010) cost?
Buy a used Renault Master from £20,943
Renault Master (2010): What's It Like Inside?
When it comes to carrying capacity, the Renault Master panel van has huge load moving potential. The 3.5 tonne van will carry up to 1500kg while the larger 4.5 tonne version of the Master will haul up to 2000kg, depending on spec.
As with its rivals, the rear-wheel drive Master provides the biggest carrying capacity with figures peaking at 2000kg. The front-wheel drive model will carry up to 1500kg and has a lower load height at 1627mm.
Load volumes range from 8.0 to 17 cubic metres and the Master is offered in three roof heights and four load lengths. This means you are looking at a 2500mm load length for the smallest version of the Master and 4300mm for the largest models.
Accessing the load space is easy, all vans get a single side sliding door as standard and the load width varies from 1050mm to 1270mm - depending on spec. The load width of the rear doors is 1580mm and the load heights start at 1650mm for the low roof model and climb to 1820mm the high roof Master.
The quality of the cabin isn't as high as the Master's rivals from Volkswagen, Ford or Mercedes-Benz. This is particularly evident on the earliest versions of the Master, with the dashboard and interior covered in a thick but scratchy layer of plastic. Things improve on the latest model, launched in 2019, but the interior is hard wearing and easy to clean.
Most vans get a wide overhead storage shelf but entry-level models do not get underseat storage. This means you need to buy a Business + model to get the mobile office features, like the seat back table and drawer to store a tablet computer or laptop.
What's the Renault Master (2010) like to drive?
The Renault Master isn't as refined or as involving to drive as the Ford Transit, Volkswagen Crafter or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. There is lots of road and engine noise on the motorway too, and most of the driver aids are optional extras that means you have to pay more for things like cruise control and parking sensors.
Touch Screen navigation is an optional extra, too, but you do get the choice of a rear-view mirror mounted screen that makes it easy to follow map commands on the move. The seven-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard features DAB audio and full Android Auto/Apple Carplay connectivity.
The Master is easy to drive and the light steering makes parking and low-speed manoeuvres simple tasks. You also get a huge windscreen and good sized door mirrors that feature blind spot micro mirrors that will ensure you spot vehicles, motorbikes and anything else that's alongside you.
The 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine isn't the last word in refinement but it delivers where it matters with strong acceleration and a smooth shifting six-speed manual gearbox. The more powerful versions of the Master are also offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
At launch, the 2.3 diesel engine was offered in three power outputs - 100PS, 125PS and 150PS. However, over the years this engine has received numerous upgrades with Euro6 status being achieved in 2016 with the use of an AdBlue system.
Since 2019, the 2.3 engine is offered with 130PS or 145PS for the rear-wheel drive model and 130PS, 150PS or 180PS for the front-wheel drive version. In our opinion, the 145PS/150PS outputs are the best and you'll only need to venture to the 180PS engine if you tow a heavy trailer or plan to buy the largest Master money can buy and use all of its payload capacity on a daily basis.
If you need your Master van to venture to rural or wintery areas then you can get the Master with Grip Xtend traction control, which allows the van to navigate slippery roads by controlling engine power to each wheel to improve the grip. A four-wheel drive system is also available, should you need to venture to the places other large vans daren't go.
Real MPG average for a Renault Master (2010)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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