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2003 Authentique 1.9D.
Purchased at 60000 miles for £6000 so great value - a lot of car for the money.
Loved the styling ever since it appeared- front still looks great but the rear end is too plain and rather dull . Has darkened windows on this Authentique, so looks even more classy. Even the wheel trims don't look too bad but aren't as stylish as alloys. Metallic grey paint is ok, if not as good as a proper silver, and finish is not as deep and shiny as my 10 yr old Audi.
Black trim needs regular treatment with "gel" otherwise it turns grey and grotty-looking.
The interior is in parts futuristic, and in parts, decidedly inpractical. Some of the door trim is a strange textured material which is very difficult to clean, especially with young children present. Some plastics are very cheap and brittle. Again, my old Audi is superior in every way. digital dash is good looking but creaks and groans all the time. I have taken it out and added foam strips to quieten it but with limited success. This is really really annoying as it seems to be a design fault- plastic touching plastic is not a good idea!
Ventilation is fine but needs the fan up reasonably high to get the air flowing throughout the cabin. Air con is quick to operate. Wipers are good (not set up for UK drivers) but cost £50 for two!!!!! Even in France/ on e-bay!. Seats are versatile but heavy and awkward to fit. As someone else has noted, the catches are fiddly and you have to move seats forward to get ones behind installed properly. Great that seatbelts are built in.
Engine is not particularly quiet. It buzzes a bit and makes the trim rattle even more. Failed engine mounts have been diagnosed and this will cost £250! As the whole car shakes at certain revs then this will have to be done eventually. So much for the "advanced" mounts, Radio is fine but CD makes strange rattling noises when loading and often fails to load anyway.
Electronic handbrake is (mainly) a good idea but failed ON twice, and OFF for several weeks. A local garage sourced a used one on the internet , total £150 to supply and fit instead of £300 from Renault.
Performance is OK for a heavy car but mpg is only 30 around town and 37 on motorways. Handling is not bad for a tall car but turn the traction control off in snow!
Despite myself , I DO really like this car but it has many faults and examples of poor design. Its not cheap to run and parts are expensive for a"bog standard" manufacturer. However, its comfortable and quiet (apart from assorted rattles) and does feel a cut above the rest, for some reason, even just being a Renault! Much of the styling is still great looking though the slightly more rounded version a couple of years back looks more modern.
When I think of more , I will add it to the review!