This could be the end of an era. I am giving serious consideration to selling my trusty Blue & White Renault Master (Surely not. Years of value left in that - Ed). I have owned this vehicle for six years and in that time it has taken us to and from our house in France over 20 times, covering over 1200 miles each time. It has been 100% reliable. Yes, I have had to do various repairs over that time but it has never failed to get us where we were going.
It has spent most of the time travelling at up to 70 mph on the excellent French roads and has returned a steady 28 mpg. We have decided that it would be a sensible idea also to dispose our Daewoo Matiz which, these days, seems to spend more time being repaired than actually being driven. Well it is a 2002 car with 120,000 miles on the clock. But with only an 800cc 3 cylinder engine it has done very well. We have owned this car from new and it has had a busy life. For a time it was our only transport. My wife drove it during the day, and I drove it to my night shift.
Over the years we have acquired other vehicles but now it is time to reduce the fleet. The Matiz and Master will go and be replaced with a medium sized panel van that will cope with our trips to France and be a daily driver for me. The range available is very wide but our budget is limited to a maximum of around £2500. There are many things to take into account such as the London Emission Zone which prevents vans registered before 2001 from entering any distance inside the M25. Ignore the signs = £100 penalty. It also must be capable of carrying an 8’x4’ sheet of plaster board flat on the floor.
We buy a lot of construction materials here as it is easier to get your requirements at a competitive price in the UK. Also it is more convenient to have the materials to hand rather than 40 miles down the road. For my safety I would also want to have windows fitted behind the doors to improve visibility at junctions and as most vans these days do not have windows in the back doors I would want a rear view camera (£35 on Ebay).
Because of the price differential of fuel in France a diesel engine is a must. She who must be listened to will have to approve the passenger seat or seats as most vans have 3 seater cabs. Some of these seats could never have been sat in by their designers and my wife will spend many hours sitting there. I will be looking at any information I can find and talking to as many owners as I can. I will also try and drive as many as I can. I am looking forward with some trepidation to the quest as there is always the thought - why are they selling the van - as in the price range we are looking at the warranty lasts until you start the engine. Caveat Emptor!