1987 Renault 21 Nevada 2.1 turbo diesel from France


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


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

11th Mar 2015, 18:15

Update: the car finally went to the scrapyard in 2007 with 315000km on it. It became impossible to get 1st gear when the gearbox was cold, and I had to hold 3rd gear in place to prevent it jumping out. A second dashboard fire took out the speedo shortly before it was scrapped. The steering also would sometimes block at low speeds (unable to turn left), making roundabouts tricky - the only option was to force the wheel around, which often resulted in a violent jerk to the left when the blockage cleared. It sounds like a bit of a nightmare, but when you think of the service I got out of the car (and my in-laws had out of it before me), the faults at the end of the cars life were a small price to pay. It was a great car in its time, and for quite a while afterwards!

14th Mar 2015, 13:56

Well, of course it will be cheap to run if you don't rectify any of its faults...

16th Mar 2015, 23:56

I find the idea of criticism of the OP or the car at this age and mileage kind of trite.

1987 Renault 21 TS 1.7 from UK and Ireland


A cross between the TARDIS and the Millennium Falcon


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