Renault C 430.32 - Tipper truck review

Colin Barnett
June 23, 2019

Jump to: In the cab, Highlights, Vehicle specifications, The engine.

Although Renault’s Range C tipper is designed for lighter-duty construction work, it is nevertheless robust, with well thought-out design flourishes.

While some manufacturers have dedicated ranges of trucks for the construction industry, Renault continues its long tradition of having two. Nowadays, it’s Range K for heavy-duty operations with plenty of off-roading, but for more gentle, highway-based work it’s this one, the Range C. Not that there’s anything soft about it. Its generally chunky appearance, more a retired boxer than supermodel, is backed up with good ground clearance under the front, with a flexible underskirt beneath the multi-section front bumper, and purposeful guard grilles protecting the headlights and fog lights. The test truck has the Day and Night sleeper cab, extended rearwards but with a low roof, which combine to give a rather sleek look when viewed from the side.

 

In the cab

The predominantly grey cab interior seems durable without being unattractive and the one-piece moulded floor covering doesn’t look like it would come to too much harm with a little gentle hosing out.

Renault’s contribution to the driving interface is generally good, with chunky knobs, clearly labelled and logically grouped. The only non-intuitive bits are the “mouse” for the multi-function dash display, hidden behind the steering wheel spokes, and the slightly fiddly sequence to shunt gears between forward and reverse on the right-hand column stalk, but these only need learning once. Very much on the plus side is Renault’s still unique dual-setting cruise control, with S1 and S2 set to different speeds, so obvious you wonder why no-one else has copied it. Although its operation is largely automated, there’s no missing the big electronic park brake button on top of the dashboard.

The instrument panel is dominated by a typically Renault digital speedometer, above the driver information display and flanked by a rev counter and fuel/ AdBlue, air and water gauges.

The driving seat displays another piece of clever design.

Simple but effective.

You wouldn’t call the after-market tipper controls particularly well integrated, though. The switches are scattered around, with the PTO switch in the centre of the dash, the tailgate opener by the driver’s right knee, and the tipping behind the seat on the right.

Meanwhile, the monitor for the Brigade multi-camera system, including a useful view inside the body, appears to have landed at a jaunty angle on the far top corner of the dash. We apologise if this is a scientifically calculated and ergonomically optimised position, but we doubt it. Visibility from the driving seat is generally good. The mirrors have thick frames but clear vision all around them. A rather minimalist racing-style air deflector does enough to keep the sun out of your eyes. Monitor angle apart, the Brigade system does a good job of keeping the driver informed and we never felt the absence of a glazed passenger door. Safety on the Renault was helped by the gap between the nearside axles being filled with a yellow panel with a “Warning, Keep Clear” message.

Considered as a home, the cab’s low roof inevitably compromises internal space. However, the bunk just about gets away with being high enough to sit on, although 6in higher would allow more storage beneath without affecting headroom too badly. As it is, storage is reasonable, with a big drawer under the bunk that has a heat-sensitive lock behind its handle.

Above the screen is a lockable cupboard in the centre, although filled up here by the rather enormous handbook pack, and an open net-fronted shelf next to it.

The thick, firm mattress feels comfortable. The bunk area contains plenty of coat hooks, a multi-function controller on a wander lead, mounted centrally so accessible from either end, and a couple of power sockets and reading lights.

Another Renault trademark is the radio/CD/Bluetooth with the usual remote display and satellite controller behind the multi-function steering wheel. Nowadays, it’s augmented by USB inputs on the overscreen tachograph panel, shared with the VPG weigher unit.

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The engine

Although Renault and its Swedish cousin have moved apart a little operationally, the group’s sharing of technical resources continues, a situation that harms neither from the driver’s perspective. This Range C 8x4 has the mid-rating, 430hp, of the 11-litre engine line-up, which is still perfectly adequate for 44 tonnes and makes for a spritely performance in a 32-tonner.

Every bit of the engine’s output is efficiently harvested by the 12-speed Optidriver transmission, which is, of course, Renault’s version of the I-Shift hardware but with in-house software, here optimised for economy, but with easily switchable power mode. Despite having all-steel suspension, the Renault ride is suitably comfortable, whether on or off-road, laden or unladen. Diff locks for inter- and cross-axles are within easy reach.

Renault still remains a brand that tends to get overlooked or underestimated by potential buyers, but those who take the plunge are rarely disappointed. We certainly aren’t by this example, an excellent all-round workhorse.

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