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I have owned this car (a 2003 52 plate) now for approximately 18 months having taken the gamble of purchasing it privately, albeit at a relatively cheap £4500, and my experience of it has been mostly positive. The warning I read online with regards to temperamental electrics has proved unfounded in this case. The one exception being an intermittent fault with one of the tyre pressure sensors. Mechanically the car has required a new Injector (costing around £350) and one front suspension ring in addition to regular wear and tear items (tyres, brake pads and the likes).
Having read concerning stories of turbo failures I have gone along with the general consensus of others writing such articles online, that a 17,000 mile service interval is rather optimistic, and opted for oil/filter changes every 7500 miles or 6 months and would advise others to follow suit.
As we know the car has a 5* NCAP safety rating, so cannot be faulted on safety. Furthermore, in my opinion the car is far more attractive than equivalent age Vectras, Mondeos or Passatts. With regards to fuel economy I average around 40mpg and around 45 on the motorway. Incidentally, this car really comes into it's own on the motorway and utilising the cruise control found as standard on this model, the miles seem to pass effortlessly.
At 150bhp the car has plenty of power although there is a noticeable turbo lag. My final criticism would be that the ride is rather hard on poor surfaces.
My local Renault dealership have always been pleasant and helpful although it has to be acknowledged that parts are rather pricey.
Given the relatively cheap prices these cars come onto the second hand market for I would happily buy another in the future. The overall quality and reliability is clearly not that of a German or Japanese equivalent but nethertheless in my opinion still presents value for money.
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