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Old 12-06-2016, 09:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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STiG: The Greenest Vehicle on Ecomodder...

...by far.







After a 13 month wait, my new van is finally here. It's a fully loaded LWB Renault Trafic dCi140 (1.6 litre twin turbo diesel, 140hp, 340Nm). It directly replaces the VW T5 that I had, and I've also done away with the Kangoo+ trailer combo I was running while waiting for this to arrive (although that's kind of replaced by my vintage pick up). Yes, that's 1.6 litres rated to a GVM of 5 tons!

The engine has some interesting tech like variable flow oil and water pumps. The warm up time is certainly very short, up to temp in under 2km.

Factory stop start, works great. If you're in neutral the system responds when you just start to push on the clutch pedal - by the time the pedal reaches the bottom of it's stroke, the engine is already running. This makes in impossible to beat the S/S. With the car in gear, obviously it can't start until the clutch is fully disengaged, so it's not as quick, but still excellent.

For a company that heavily pushes the 'eco' angle, they sure did do a poor job of the push button start system. Push once for the ACC position, push with clutch or brake pressed engine starts, that's fine.

But, let's say you want to let the car cool down before driving away, well you can't because the ACC only turns on the radio, you can't so much as open a window without the engine running! Same goes for the vent fan. You can imagine how annoying this might be if there's a summer afternoon storm (or you decide to wash the car) and you have to start your engine just to close the windows fully. I might have the get some rain shields just so as to reduce that issue. At least I optioned manual sliding windows in the cargo doors, so there's some chance of keeping temperatures while parked low.

When I arrive, I like to switch of the engine immediately (of course) and the vents will continue to blow cold air for a minute or two while I get my things, put up the silver foil on the windscreen etc. Well I can't! The stop button kills everything dead, which is also bad for bacteria building up in the A/C system. So basically you're forced to idle the engine the minute you get in, and until the moment you're ready to get out. When stop start works, the A/C fan keeps running so at least that half of the issue is mostly solved.

It's a relatively minor thing, but it's a major annoyance.

The push button start also means an electronic steering lock, so you can't roll down a hill to start without (almost guaranteed) the steering locking up. The manual warns that sometimes you might have to wiggle the steering wheel for the unlock to work (like with a manual system), so roll starts are a no-no. There's no way to EOC, not that I'd do that much with a turbo diesel anyway, but still. UPDATE: I tried gingerly rolling down hill with the engine off from an ignition off start, and the steering DID unlock automatically, but that assumes the steering is straight ahead, if you've parked with some lock on, it's not going to work.

The old key start would be much better for pure hypermiling, but the trade offs are more or less worth it so I don't have to constantly dig around in my pocket for the key fob (it's a working van).

Economy for the first tank came in at 7.86 in mostly city use (I did a few highway miles in the interests of break in) - that's already No2 in the Diesel trucks category. That's 0.3 (lifetime) better than the VW it replaces, though it doesn't have the outright grunt that the 2.5 did, but it's still does 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds which is more than adequate, and it doesn't have that tyre spinning lag that the VW did ( you know, nothing, nothing, BOOST, wheelspin). The tiny twin turbo is much more pleasant to drive around town. So the first 1000km tank is already under it's belt, this current tank looks set to hit 1100.

Once the van's fully broken in, I expect 6's or better will be possible, with mods that could be lower still! Best commute to date was a 5.9.

Renault Australia are offsetting CO2 emissions for all green coloured vans sold up to 210,000km. So Stig is zero carbon too.

The stock CD is quoted as a disappointing 0.352, with European Opel Ecoflex models scoring 0.34 - I've been unable to determine what the differences are, they look identical outwardly, so I assume the Ecoflex must have some undertray panels, which of course I will look to acquire and retrofit or just make my own. I've spotted one or two anchor points on the underside.

Rear box cavityish:



Size comparison to Prius:



Mods so far:
LED Stop/ Tail and interior lights (DRL's on back order at VLEDS)
Tow bar
Powder coated wheels black

Phone holder is too small for my phone with it's Lifeproof case, but I don't really want it there anyway, so it makes for a handy SGII mount. I'll buy a spare mount and cut it down in time for a better fit:


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Last edited by oldtamiyaphile; 12-07-2016 at 07:25 AM..
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I like!!! We don't get Renaults in Canada
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That is indeed a VERY green van!

What's up with the colour/CO2 offset program? They're literally and figuratively marketing them as green?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
For a company that heavily pushes the 'eco' angle, they sure did do a poor job of the push button start system.
That does sound really annoying. I don't like pushbutton starters for several of the reasons you mention. Give me a traditional key, please.

Might it be possible to reprogram the behaviour of the button? Some cars are electronically more configurable than others either with the right equipment or at the dealer.
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Dude 29 is amazing in a van that size. I sure wish they would have stuff like that in the states!
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm jealous. I drive a similarly sized van for work, a Chevy Express 2500. It has pleasantly tall gearing but even so I'm struggling to extract more than 18-20mpg out of the 6.0L V8.
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's not so fair to compare those American full-size vans designed around a full-size truck driveline and their Euro counterparts developed from the ground up with ease of use and efficiency in mind. Even though they're usually smaller on the outside, their loading bay can be quite roomy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
After a 13 month wait, my new van is finally here.
I didn't know it would take so long for a shipment from the UK to reach Australia.


Quote:
Yes, that's 1.6 litres rated to a GVM of 5 tons!
Are you sure it's a 5-ton gross vehicle weight instead of a gross combined weight? Anyway, it's still impressive that a 1.6L engine would do that task.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
That is indeed a VERY green van!

What's up with the colour/CO2 offset program? They're literally and figuratively marketing them as green?
They don't really push it in marketing that I've seen, I only found out from their commercial division newsletter.

Quote:
That does sound really annoying. I don't like pushbutton starters for several of the reasons you mention. Give me a traditional key, please.

Might it be possible to reprogram the behaviour of the button? Some cars are electronically more configurable than others either with the right equipment or at the dealer.
Renault don't even tell you the oil grade or set out a service schedule, they're probably not going to offer any alternative, but yes some do allow you to chose programming like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baltothewolf View Post
Dude 29 is amazing in a van that size. I sure wish they would have stuff like that in the states!
Well, 30 actually
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
I'm jealous. I drive a similarly sized van for work, a Chevy Express 2500. It has pleasantly tall gearing but even so I'm struggling to extract more than 18-20mpg out of the 6.0L V8.
That's 1.6 vs 6.0 for you. It's still faster than some hatchbacks and the like so no complaints there. It's also a unibody and FWD so it drives pretty much like a car or smaller SUV. FWD means the load floor is only 24" above the ground, much easier to load and get into the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
It's not so fair to compare those American full-size vans designed around a full-size truck driveline and their Euro counterparts developed from the ground up with ease of use and efficiency in mind. Even though they're usually smaller on the outside, their loading bay can be quite roomy.

I didn't know it would take so long for a shipment from the UK to reach Australia.

Are you sure it's a 5-ton gross vehicle weight instead of a gross combined weight? Anyway, it's still impressive that a 1.6L engine would do that task.
Load space of my van is 6.0m3 vs 6.7 for an E250. An E250 is 4" longer and about 1" wider.

I looked at the Iveco that's built on a 'full size' truck chassis, but the compromises weren't really worth the slight advantage of RWD. But even those manage 30mpg without issue.

Yup, I meant to write GCM. Renaults even in RHD are French built, not rebadged Vivaros. It took a while because demand exceeded supply.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Renault Australia are offsetting CO2 emissions for all green coloured vans sold up to 210,000km. So Stig is zero carbon too.
Any restrictions on a full vinyl wrap? Will you need commercial signage?

With the sculpted body sides I see some opportunity for Larry Watson (1950s Bellflower, CA)-style panel painting.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I want to do some hand written old fashioned sign writing on the F-1, but I think the van will just stay as is.

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