1987 Renault 21 Nevada 2.1 turbo diesel from France

Summary:

If you want a car to last you over 15 years without seriously going wrong, this is it

Faults:

Radiator split at 200000km.

Radiator split again at 285000km.

Glow plugs have broken up regularly from 150000km onward.

Small fires behind the dashboard caused by poor wiring. As a result, most of the dashboard instrumentation (OK, all except for the speedometer) no longer works.

Rear light clusters keep on falling out toward the interior.

Boot support broken and jammed since 250000km.

Windscreen lamination in poor condition.

Gearbox problems - not yet terminal - first gear jumps out regularly, third gear making worn out noises. Reverse often impossible to find.

General Comments:

Bearing in mind that this car is now seventeen years old and has done so many kilometers, the (many) faults are acceptable.

The problem is that the faults are becoming more expensive to fix; once the gearbox finally dies it will be time for the car to retire.

The interior has stood the test of time very well, with no holes in the seats or carpets.

All of the "extra" electrical equipment (windows, radio) still works, even if the standard stuff (dashboard, lights) doesn't always.

The turbo lag has to be experienced to be believed. The process of accelerating goes something like this: first, floor the throttle; second, wait one second for the diesel engine to catch up; third, wait another two seconds for the turbo to kick in. Not a problem if you can anticipate when you will need to accelerate.

The car has done Paris-Prague return three times since it passed 230000km, and the fuel consumption is amazingly low at 140kmh in fifth.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st October, 2004

1987 Renault 21 TS 1.7 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A cross between the TARDIS and the Millennium Falcon

Faults:

This car had a certain amount of rust.

Its sills needed work.

Some pipework underneath needed welding.

The seats were coming away.

The fan switch gave up.

The speedometer seized up and sheared the speedo cable.

General Comments:

As you can see, this car suffered a lot of faults, but is that so unusual for an eleven year old vehicle?

The electrics were a little temperamental, which is something I understand Renault sorted out in later models.

Eventually, I had to get rid of it as the garage told me it would probably not pass the MOT the following year, but I still miss it.

The control console was beautiful, a real work of 1980s art, with stepped slopes and sliders.

The interior was incredibly spacious, not so much a cabin as a piece of real estate. Some laughed at the sheer amount of beige, but I found it made the whole thing light and airy.

The engine made an endearing whine when I put my foot down on the accelerator. No other car I've driven has that.

This was a car with spirit, which never actually left me stranded anywhere.

I once backed the car into a Volvo by mistake and the Volvo came off very badly (as did my insurance, rightly) but the Renault just shrugged it off with barely a scratch; that's how solid she was.

The most impressive thing about it was the forward tilting bonnet hinge, which meant that, if you opened the bonnet and stood behind the boot, the open bonnet looked almost impossibly distant.

This car had a sort of stateliness, like a Citroen Xantia in some ways, even if she was a base model, and I can't believe I traded "up" to a Rover 214, even if it did have more gadgets.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2004

1987 Renault 21 ts 1.7 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Underated

Faults:

Front off-side shock absorber replaced at 65000 miles.

Noisy cam tensioner replaced at 79000 miles. Replaced timing belt at same time as a precaution.

Front off-side wheel bearing replaced at 80000 miles.

Anti-roll bar bushes replaced at 85000 miles.

General Comments:

86000 miles and the engine is as sweet as a nut.

The interior trim is in superb condition and the seats are the most comfortable I have ever encountered.

This car inspires confidence. I love the cavernous cabin and find the driving position to be excellent.

The engine starts first time whatever the weather and to date has not let me down.

I own a Ford Mondeo 2.0 glx estate. It is good, but the Renault is my favorite.

Although it is now 16 years old there is still no rust to be found anywhere and, given that I can still obtain parts for it, I intend to keep this vehicle to my dying day.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2002