Pros - 1. Fantastic Fuel Efficiency. 2. Superb Safety. 3. Top Class cabin quality. 4. Good pull. Cons - 1. Reliability - Electrics sometimes go bad.
I am a very bitter former Renault owner - all of the magazines and reviews tell you how great the gizmos and gadgets are, but none of them, this mag included, emphasise how shocking their reliability is.
I owned a brand new saloon, which was my pride and joy, but after a year and a half of breakdowns, all of which the dealers were familiar with, I cut my losses and traded in.
If you are thinking on buying a Renault, please check out the insurance sites regarding reliability - they are not biased.
Having owned this car since March 2004 I can report almost complete satisfaction. Its overall pleasurable drive is only let down by a little too much lean on corners. The cause of this though, the soft suspension, makes for very comfortable driving on bumpy roads. Visibility is also a bit restricted, making it a hard car to manouver. Wind whistle at high speed can also rear its ugly head but I think this is more pronounced due to the lack of noise anywhere else. The car looks good on the road with a satisfyingly chunky look and solid stance.
Inside the seats hug you, luxurious feel to the trim, and chunky feel to the steering wheel and gear knob make you feel like your driving a quality car. Auto-Windscreen Wipers are irritating, never going off when you think they should, or shouldn't for that matter, and the Key Card sometimes doesn't work, needing a few attempts, though this is rare. Auto-Lights dont react to bad weather, just light levels. The equipment level has everything you need from AirCon to CD player and a neat button to lock all your doors whilst driving.
Running costs much the same as any other 1.6 petrol I have driven. I mostly town drive & average 34 mpg according to the trip computer under these conditions. Had to replace exhaust early on and AirCon broke down this summer, followed by a blown battery fuse that required the RAC a few weeks ago, but otherwise no problems. 3 years on and not a rattle or squeek can be heard anywhere. Great build quality.
I own one of the first examples of the year 2004. It's a very silent car both in town and on the motorway, and it's generous in space and luggage compartment. However, I still hate the boringly black, cheap-and-dull looking interior. The revised model has now a decent plushy beige upholstery. After a small accident, then a major repair, the steering do not feel the same as it used to be. I'm not sure about the handling - perhaps the hatchback versions could be better to drive. The repair procedure I mentioned covered for the auto gearbox - they told me that they'd changed the gearbox casings around for "just in case". However, last week as the screen said "check gearbox" following the engine to break down, I took it to the nearest service and we all found out that there was no gearbox oil!! (The accident took place in 2004 and since then, we drove about 49.000 kms.)The oil was filled, the problems solved out. May be in the UK, you Renault drivers are lucky enough to have better official Renault service stations.
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