As many of you will know, in 2018 I bought a Volvo FH16 750. However for the last 3 years previous I have predominantly run Renault Trucks, in 2015 Renault Trucks released their new T range of trucks, replacing Premium and Magnum range of trucks. Those of you that don’t know here is a little video about the history of Renault Trucks.
So what are we talking about here? Well underneath the Renault T range is a Volvo group product. Powered by either a 11 litre or a 13 litre engine I have sampled both over my time with the product. An 11 Litre 460 BHP and a 13 litre 480 BHP, again both Volvo products.
The cabin on the T Range is spacious and offers a comfortable bed. There is enough storage lockers to keep things for the driver to tramp (tramp means stay out & sleep in the lorry) in this vehicle all week.
I have found the truck menus simple to use and easy to get on with, unlike the Volvo product you can access all menus while driving. The menus give the driver all the information that he will need to complete his job, from driving hours to truck statistics. The driver can also set the night heater to come on at a pre-set time to keep the cab cosy. The wet lockers are big enough to store all a driver’s needs. One down feature of the Renault is the large hump in the floor, but model can be specified with a flat floor, which the Volvo FH does not have even in the Globetrotters XL version (Renault Trucks T range High is the flat floor version).
On the road T range rides rather well, the steering is precise but no effort required. The gearbox is a Volvo I shift which is better than the competition in class, offering smooth and instant changes when you need it. The suspension handles British roads well, whether that is potholed country roads around England or smooth motorways around the country. The T range over the years has pulled a mixture of weights and goods and has returned an average of 10 MPG for the 11 litre and 12 MPG for the 13 litre. The lorries have averaged around 300 miles per day 300 days of the year. One feature that is standard on the Renault is the electric hand brake, this works better than the Volvo, when it on it is on (The Volvo sometimes its not engaged when you think it is.). All the buttons in the T range are designed to be used with gloves on, a neat feature for those cold winter days. Another neat feature is the second folding bed, it folds away nicely.
I have slept in the cab numerous occasions over the 3 years I have used the vehicle, each time I have woken up fresh and relaxed ready for another day. The foam is firm but comfortable enabling the driver to get a good nights sleep. Just do not park next to fridge lorries (they are called Reefers, and no not that type!).
The fridge draw is wide and able to accommodate a lot of food and drink. One criticism is the lack of areas to hold a large drink bottle and the lack of cup holders in general. It is also a shame that the truck only comes with 520 BHP maximum output. I suppose that it is Volvo not wanting to harm their FH16 sales.
So overall my opinion of the product is rather good if I was in charge of a large fleet, the Renault Trucks product offers a very good, competitive package. Strong engines, great gearboxes, lots of space. One area which any operators will worry about is fuel consumption. I have found with the Renault that the larger engine offers a more complete package, but the 11 litre is not to be discounted if you are doing small journeys, mainly motorway miles and less than 30 tonne gross vehicle weight. If you run heavy and have a lot of gradients to climb & descend then the 13 litre is your friend.
So why are we changing after 3 years? Well we aren’t, the 13 litre isn’t going anywhere. We have decided to keep that as it is a strong truck. Although the 11 Litre has surprised and undertaken any task we have asked faultlessly, we knew that we wanted something a little more special going forward. So onward to new pastures, the 11 litre must go. One thing that I have not mentioned is after sales service, this has been excellent. A driver of mine had a problem in Newquay, Cornwall at 11.00 pm at night, one phone call to Renault and their Renault 24 team had dispatched a mechanic from Exeter (the nearest depot) and was with the driver by 1.00 am, the problem was sorted quickly and the driver able to proceed with his duties the following day after his rest period.
So bottom line, as a driver or an operator the Renault should be high on anyone’s list to try. An engine and gearbox combination that is a match for any of the competition from DAF, Iveco, MAN and Mercedes. The cab and instruments are user-friendly. With good mpg and decent service intervals enabling operators maximum uptime with their vehicles.
Next time a review on another vehicle.
** since writing this the 11 Litre has improved its MPG, it is now returning 11 MPG.
All videos above are mine, apart from the History of Renault Trucks.
© Wooshy 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file