Small bus choice has never been better in Australia and it’s getting better with more players offering some capable, well priced vehicles.
Renault has one of the better offerings, certainly the sharpest priced in its Master 12 seater bus currently pitched at $59,990 drive away. That’s sharp, so sharp that competitor brands have cut their margins to get near it.
However, a Premium Pack should be factored into Master’s price adding an extra $4000 bringing with it curtains, lane departure warning, carpets, multiple USB outlets, auto headlights and wipers, electric side door, satnav and other desirable goodies.
But it’s still a good deal.
Built on a pressed metal chassis with front wheel drive and an automated six-speed manual (two pedals), Master is built in France and fitted out in Turkey.
Power comes from the ubiquitous Renault/Nissan 2.3-litre, turbo diesel, four cylinder engine churning out 110kW/350Nm while sipping around 10.0 litres/100km.
A simple suspension system is used; strut front and torsion beam rear but the Master has an impressive ride and feels a lot like a large SUV from behind the wheel. The cabin is big and airy and the seats are comfortable particularly when the optional sprung driver seat is fitted.
Plenty of performance is readily on tap and the boxy-looking Master has a payload of 1.3 tonnes while towing 2.5 tonnes – not bad by anyone’s measure.
Fixed costs are controlled by 30,000km/12 month service intervals at $349.00 a time for three years.
Warranty cover is for three years/200,000km.
Master has plenty of headroom for passengers over 183cm tall and a huge luggage space down the back. Access through the barn rear doors and side slider is facilitated by wide door openings.
The reverse camera is handy and the internal aircon’ unit is a decided advantage over externally mounted units.
Master is 6198mm long with a 4332m, wheelbase and weighs in at 2638kg. Definitely worth a look.