The Renault 19 16v is a true drivers car. It was not made for regular driving, like going from point A to point B following the speed limits, instead, it was made for aggressive driving on small, twisty roads, with the engine and the wheels screaming of pleasure.
Most things of this car just breathes racing, everything from the clutch to the precise steering let's you know about this cars sporty character.
The engine is a pearl when it comes to giving you smiles on your face all day long. It really feels just like a turbo coming in at 4000 RPM, just like people says, this is no joke, you have to try it yourself to believe it. Personly I don't think the engine is that sluggish under the 4000 RPM mark as some people say, it's just like your ordinary, everyday car at those revs - but when you hit the magic spot, you definitely know what kind of car you drive again, and the fun continues up to 7000 RPM!
The engine also sounds very good, and have a raw, big engine note that should please most drivers out there, especially if you let it breath a bit better.
The steering of this car is very precise, however, overall, I think it's a disappointment. Too light, and too much like something you would find in a computergame. It's precise, and pretty fast, but it just don't feel so good, and on regular, wide roads, driving in a straight line, the steering becomes nervous. Not fun at all.
The handling is this cars strongest mark. It always have an enormous amount of grip, and it always gives you the right amount of feedback of what's going on under the wheels, that you can make it go around small, twisy roads in serious amounts of speed.
To compare this car to other sporty cars that I've owned, I would say that the Renault 19 16v outhandles them all. My Alfa Romeo 75's that I've had are more fun to drive than the 16v, but when it comes to handling, the 16v wins. My Peugeot 205 CTi, (based on the GTi), is fun, better steering, but it just feels too nervous, especially the tail of the car, that comes out a bit too easily for my taste. The Renault 19 16v simply gives you the feeling of a more secury, faster ride than the Alfas and the 205 Cti.
The comfort of this car is pretty good, considering the lowered chassi of the 16v compared to the ordinary Renault 19. However, it truly is a sporty car, and the ride quality do suffers from this cars fantastic handling.
The seats are comfortable, very supportive, and looks ace.
The interior goes well with the outside of the car, and is actually quite solid for being a french car from the beginning of the 90's.
This is also a good car for serious audiosystems, since 6,5 inch speakers, no matter how deep they are, fits in perfectly in the doors in front of the car, and there are also room for tweeters or 4 inch speakers on the dashboard itself.
Fuel economy is pretty good, even when you drive the car the way it was meant to be driven. In average, from every 100 kilometers, the car wants just about 0,8 litres of gas, and it it's very hard to drive it in a way that you come over the 1.0 litre mark for 100 kilometers, even if you have a heavy foot on the gaspedel at most of the times.
However, the Renault 19 16v is a quite poorly built car, many minor problem, and unfortunately, even some major ones too. I'm not the only person out there who have experienced problems with the engine, far from it I'm afraid. The Renault 19 16v have to be taken good care of, and even if you do just that, it's absolutely not guaranteed that it will be rewarding to you.
It's a fast, sporty car, but it's not suitable for everyday driving, and you should be aware of the general quality of these cars before you buy one of these things. Buy it at your own risk.