Now usually we post articles about things related to mountains; snow, bikes, hiking… It doesn’t normally include car reviews. But, when the car in question is the beloved Renault Traffic, we consider that to be news. Just.
If you’re not familiar with the Traffic, you’ve clearly never been to Morzine.
The humble Renault Traffic is the workhorse of the Alps, ferrying hundreds of thousands of visitors up and down the mountain from Geneva each year. There’s a very good reason the Traffic has become Morzine’s premier minibus, and it all comes down to the simple fact that it’s the only van the rental companies stock and the only van you can get in the kind of numbers required for a transfer fleet. Plus they are cheaper than the Volkswagen and Mercedes offerings. Designed and built in France, the old Traffic, somewhat excitingly named the X83, has been in service since 2000. In the following 15 years of service it gained two major upgrades; a Bluetooth stereo and a slightly different grill. Both these upgrades were eagerly sought after by transfer drivers, because having tunes and looking fly does indeed help to break up the journey somewhat.
Other features of the old Traffic include: Cloth seats, to absorb every last drop of spilt drink or bodily fluids. Opening side windows, almost impossible for the average tourist to open without a complicated string of instructions. Rear seatbelts, designed specifically to become stuck in the sliding door. Tiny front passenger bench seat, so you’re forced to touch the middle passengers legs whilst changing gear. Large rear speakers, positioned directly over the rear passengers head for extra bass. Holidaying families love bass. But all that is over. The new traffic is here!
Sarah from Getaway Vans has just taken delivery of the first of her fleet and reportedly the first in Morzine. She’s reporting the new van is an absolute dream; smoother, safer, bigger, more environmentally friendly, bigger load area, better passenger comfort, more cup holders and its face looks less ‘sad and confused’ and more cheerful.
It’s unsurprisingly that the new van is bigger and better in pretty much every way, mainly because it wasn’t designed 16 years ago. The question is, will all the transfer companies be making the switch this winter? All photos ©Sarah Whitemore