Transporting teams of teens can give teachers a headache. But Renault’s new Master 12-seat bus provides an easy and affordable solution.
The smart and sleek Master Bus sends all the right visual messages about an educational establishment’s commitment to modern, safe and environmentally efficient transport.
Renault has long been Europe’s favourite light commercial supplier and it is making rapid progress in Australia.
Joining its range of award-winning vans in 2016 is a new 12-seater bus based on the Master full-size van. It offers a comfortable, safe and spacious bus that can be driven on a regular car driver’s licence.
The economical four-cylinder, Euro 5 emissions compliant turbo diesel engine produces enough power to propel the bus at freeway speeds, and with a 100-litre fuel tank has a huge operating range between refills. Drive reaches the front wheels via a six-speed automated manual transmission that offers manual and automatic modes, so any driver will feel right at home behind the wheel.
The new bus has been configured for Australian conditions after more than two years of consultation with the factory and prospective customers. The result is a smart, well-equipped and impressively priced vehicle that will appeal to a wide variety of social and communal bodies; from schools to councils, hotels to retirement villages.
Safety is a prime concern for all school administrators so the Renault Master Bus is equipped as standard with seatbelts for every seat, while there are two locations when an ISOFIX child seat can be installed, along with top tether strap connection points.
Reclining seat backs and adjustable armrests for seats on the aisle, plus the option of an electrically operated sliding side door and a standard powered slide-out entry step, provide convenience, while anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill start assist and
Renault’s unique Grip X-Tend traction system ensure the Bus remains securely under the driver’s control in all conditions.
Standard equipment also includes cruise control and a speed limiter function, while Bluetooth hands-free connectivity ensures any phone calls made or received while driving provides the least possible distraction.
In line with current trends, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard, which means teachers unfamiliar with bus driving duties can manoeuvre with confidence.
The high roof and wide body, and generously proportioned seats mean everyone rides in comfort. There’s plenty of headroom so even the teaching staff don’t need to stoop when entering or exiting the vehicle.
An auxiliary air conditioner installed in the rear of the passenger compartment works in-line with the standard dashboard mounted system, and provides rapid cool down even after the bus has been parked in the sun. This means the engine does not need to remain idling to run the system when it is empty, reducing fuel use and emissions considerably.
All the seats are covered in smart, durable jacquard material that hides dirt effectively.
And even with 12 seats, there’s still plenty of luggage space behind the four-abreast rear bench; 3.5m3, or more than a compact Renault Kangoo van. A steel luggage safety barrier can be fitted in place because there is an emergency escape hatch in the roof of the passenger area. There’s also provision for up to 200kg to be carried on the roof, if necessary.
The Renault Master Bus can tow up to 2.5-tonnes, so a luggage or kayak transport trailer can be hitched behind the vehicle for weekends away, or when visiting other schools for sporting competitions.
Renault has devised a rich and detailed standard specification for the 12-seater Bus, but in addition, a host of options can be specified individually, or in packs, at the time of ordering.
A Lifestyle Pack combines a number of popular options that make the driving and operating experience easier or more enjoyable.
Chief among the options is the electric sliding door, which is controlled from the dashboard by the driver.
A sensor fitted into the leading edge of the door will retract the door to the open position should it meet resistance, effectively avoiding the possibility of trapping an entering or exiting passenger.
In addition to closing automatically once the vehicle moves off, the door has an emergency release handle mounted inside that can be operated after an accident in order to allow the occupants to alight.
In addition to the option of interior LED lighting, Renault is offering the availability of 4 double USB charge points inserted into the side panels of the bus, to recharge mp3 music players or mobile phones.
The Lifestyle Pack also includes curtains for the side and rear door windows, which help reduce heat soak, and provide privacy or additional comfort on long journeys at night.
In addition to the electrically-operated sliding side door, the Lifestyle Pack provides, auto headlights with high/low beam function and rain sensing wipers, Renault’s advanced R-Link enhanced satellite navigation with touchscreen, lane departure warning, hands-free entry key card, storage compartment under passenger seat, 4 USB charging sockets, LED roof lighting, premium carpeting and reclining rear row seats.
The Renault Master Bus is covered by the same high-value reassurance features as all members of the increasingly-popular Master range; a 3-year/200,000km warranty extendable to 4 or 5 years, 24-hour roadside assistance for the warranty period, Capped Price Servicing for the first 3 scheduled services at $349 each, with service intervals up to 30,000km apart.
The Renault Master Bus is available in broad range of 7 solid and 3 metallic colours.
“Renault recognised the need in Australia for a 12-seater bus more than two years ago,” says Justin Hocevar, Managing Director of Renault Australia.
“We began a detailed development programme including consolation with a variety of market segments including education, to find out which features were most highly-valued and we believe that we have now delivered a vehicle that meets the needs of most bus buyers,”
“We set out to offer an affordably-priced, high quality, well-equipped, comfortable and spacious bus that requires no compromises by customers or passengers, and we are confident we have achieved this with the new Master Bus,” he says.
“Renault has long been a supplier of buses for school, hotels, aged care and private transport companies across Europe, and we are pleased to be able to offer this product to similar customer groups here in Australia in 2016,” he says.
“We took our time to ensure the bus is suitable for Australian driving and loading conditions, and to meet the expectations of the Australian market in terms of safety, comfort, features, equipment and price.
“The Master Bus is produced in large numbers in Europe so it is built to a predictable, and high level of quality. Significant effort has been put into assembly and quality assurance to ensure a long and trouble-free working life.
“There is plenty of luggage space which may obviate the need to tow a trailer, adding convenience, security and fuel efficiency benefits,” he says.
“With up to 30,000km or 12-month service intervals, as well as proven mechanicals, a long factory warranty of 200,000km or 3 years, as well as our Capped Price Servicing of $349 for the first 3 scheduled services, Renault has a product that is extremely competitive in the local market,” Mr Hocevar says.
“Initial response from prospective customers in the educational market indicates the Master Bus will have a strong appeal to both the purchasing department and the staff who get to drive the bus,” he says.
The Renault Master Bus goes on sale on 7th January 2016, and is priced from $59,990 (Manufacturers List Price) plus on road costs.