1995 Renault Express Combi 1.2i petrol
Useful piece of scrap
Catalytic converter blocked at 110000.
Rear engine mount at 110000.
Hazard warning switch at 110000.
Steering box at 160000.
Drive shafts at 160000.
Head gasket/engine at 170000.
This is my second express, my first one was a mark 1 which I rebuilt completely, but which died from a blown head gasket and the skimmed head never seemed to run right.
This one died from exactly the same problem, and as the car doesn't, I repeat doesn't, have a temperture gauge you normally burn the head to bits. Mine was so hot that the spilled oil was evaporating from the outside of the block.
I had a lot of problems with the cooling systems on both of them with leaking water pumps, leaking heater radiators, blowing head gaskets and other mysterious water leaks.
The car had what we diagnosed as a cracked exhaust valve for most of the time I owned it causing poor idling and a ticking noise, only obvious once the car had warmed up.
Sometimes if the engine didn't catch on first try, it would refuse to start after and the car would have to be left for a few hours.
The 1995 Mark 3 Express has the same engine as the Renault Twingo and is quite hard to source. The rest is basically a Renault 5 with a R5 turbo rear axle.
I had to change steering boxes a few times and the drive shafts wear quickly.
They do handle reasonably well in a French kind of a way and they are very practical with the huge cargo area and the lid in the roof for long pipes.
Build quality is diabolical as anything made of plastic will break if you try to remove it.
Overall, nice practical design, but shame about the quality and it ain't a looker.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 29th August, 2006