1995 Renault 21 Savanna RT 2.0 8v from UK and Ireland


It's a majestic creature


The trouble with these old J7R-engined Renaults is that the cooling system always goes wrong. Usually the coolant temperature sensor stops working or the radiator fans seize up. Next thing you know, the engine overheats and the head gasket starts leaking. This first happened at about 90000 miles due to the CTS, so the (non-renault) mechanic changed the HG, but didn't bother to work out why it had blown in the first place... wonderful.

Inevitably, a few traffic jams later and the same thing happened again, so the coolant is now 30% antifreeze, 40% water and 30% engine oil. Eventually I replaced the CTS and the fans (which were seized) and it doesn't overheat anymore. The lesson is that you can drive about with a leaking HG for 20000 miles without anything going wrong... Cylinder compression is still spot-on, so I guess it's just leaking between the oil and coolant passages.

Other than that, you get the odd electrical problem, but it's basically a solid, reliable car.

General Comments:

This car is great. You can carry seven people, provided the two who sit in the back are either children or midgets, plus a fair bit of luggage in the boot. You can fold down the middle and back seats and you've got a van.

The 2.0l engine with catalyst only has about 105bhp, but it still goes pretty well, 2nd gear after 3000rpm is always enjoyable. The handling is hilarious, with immense body roll and screeching understeer if you like to take corners over about 20mph. The morbidly soft suspension is great for long journeys, but the excessive cabin noise is less welcome.

You can get 51mpg if you overinflate the tyres and waft along at 60mph, but if you use the car for short city trips in cold weather, then 15mpg is more likely. I look after the mechanical side of things myself, and it costs next to nothing to maintain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th December, 2007