1999 Renault Megane Liberte E 1.4 8V
A solid engine let down by suspect build quality
Exhaust clamp failed the first day I got it. Fixed for free by Kwik Fit.
Numerous exterior bulbs were blown on the first day of ownership.
Seat belt return springs were not returning the seat belts all the way. Fixed with some dash cleaner sprayed on.
Numerous rattles from the interior trim. Still trying to trace some of them.
Engine sometimes idles erratically; goes from 600 RPM to 1000 RPM. Putting my foot down and revving the engine high seems to cure this. Possible sticky throttle body or cable.
Power steering problem; very creaky when the car is first started. Goes away after 10 minutes of driving.
Rust appearing on rear arches and sills. Didn't think Renaults rusted. Have treated it with rust eater until I can get it sorted.
Rear offside passenger door doesn't lock or unlock with the central locking.
Knocking from the front suspension area; probably requires a complete suspension replacement owing to the age of the vehicle.
OK, the faults list does seem extensive, but bear in mind this is a 14 year old car, and it's only had an elderly owner from new, hence its stupidly low 60k mileage.
Generally been a reliable car. I work as a pizza delivery driver, so it does get a bit of a harder life than it was used to with its elderly owner.
The amount of kit you get on a base model car is impressive, but I heard Renault upped the equipment levels in the facelift era to keep these cars competitive. You get electric windows, power steering, a 6 speaker stereo (which sounds amazing), ABS, 6 airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners. No wonder this car was the safest in its time.
The engine is very strong, but just lacks poke. It has to be worked hard to make any sort of reasonable progress.
Handling is great. Renault got the set up just right; not too firm, not too soft, with good grip in the corners. The car will let you know in good time if you're pushing it too hard.
The biggest problem with this car's performance is its gearing. It is awful. It has a really close ratio box, which is great for city driving, but terrible on the motorway. The engine is spinning at 3600 RPM at 70mph, which makes for a noisy motorway cruise. You can't help feeling this car could do with a longer 5th or a sixth gear. My old Astra Merit had a 1.4 8v unit in it, but had a very long fifth gear, so motorway cruising was lovely.
As a result of the poor gearing and the fact it's a big car with a 75bhp engine, fuel economy suffers. I get around 30 MPG doing deliveries and around town. And between 40-45 MPG on the motorway.
Overall I am happy with the car. It's comfortable, safe and generally reliable. The build quality of some of the interior is a little suspect, as is the fact this is the first rusty french car I have seen.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th April, 2013