The best part of this car is its engine. It's so smooth and quiet. When overtaking in 3rd gear, you'll have to listen carefully to detect any engine or exhaust sound at all.
It was probably the last version (Z7X) of the good old PRV-engine. It's totally problem-free and cheap to maintain.
It's got timing chains instead of belts, three coils which are directly connected to the spark plugs and it has hydraulic valve lifters.
Its fuel consumption is not bad. I can do more than 10 kilometres on a litre of petrol.
The engine is converted to LPG. It does about a litre every 8.5 kilometres.
Renault automatics have a bad reputation, but it's not justified.
When used gentle and, very important, with good maintenance they can last very long.
When mileage gets higher, good gearbox maintenance is often overlooked.
And there's another problem.
Renault states a change interval of 60000 kilometres which is really the maximum for ordinary ATF.
When changing ATF, a lot of ATF stays behind in the torque convertor. You sometimes only get half of it out!
In such cases 60000 kilometers is way too much if you change only once each time.
I changed the ATF once. After the refill the ATF was still black (definitely not burned, just old)!
I changed it again several times until it was red again.
The auto-box has shifted very consistent since then.
Tip 1: my gearbox doesn't have a dipstick. There's a special procedure. The oil must be heated up until 60 degrees Celsius and then a special plug is opened for 20 seconds. If less than 0.1 litre comes out you have to put in 1 litre (yes 1 whole litre) and try again. This procedure is hard, if not impossible, to do at home.
If you know it is roughly at the right level, go for a drive and pay attention to the gearbox.
Does it go out of gear (revs go up) when doing a tight corner? Fill it with another 0.2 litre. Repeat until solved.
Does it bang into second gear? Take some oil out. There's too much in it.
Tip 2: it's unofficial advice from Renault to let the car idle for at least a minute when it's colder than 10 degrees Celsius outside. This is necessary for the gearbox to build up pressure.
I experienced it also helps to put the lever in D and wait for at least ten seconds before releasing the brakes.
The gearbox will shift more smoothly.
The car's reliability has been quite good. If you want better buy a Toyota...
I've had this strange problem for a while:
When the fuel-tank is less than half full and it's cold, the engine will start coughing a bit for a few seconds right after it has started.
If it's like a quarter full or less it will start, do some coughing and shuts down. Then I'm screwed. The engine won't get any fuel in the following attempts. Only when I put some fresh fuel in, it will start without a hitch.
The only explanation I have is that the fuel in the tank gets too old. But the fuel won't get older than about three months though...
The car has developed some (minor) aging problems. The fuel hoses where dried out (what's that smell?...)
The front springs were broken at the very top end because of rust. A common Renault problem.
You wouldn't notice when driving, but it's a MOT-failure.
This repair can easily be done by yourself. It's not hard to get the McPherson spring leg out. You can take it to your local garage to have the springs changed because you need a tensioner.
Its first electric fault was the rear window heater. Its earth connection was gone so I made a new one. This helped for a while, but recently it failed again. I found out it's a common problem with Lagunas. It's a corroded plug which can be found in the trunk behind the covering on the left side.
I cleaned it, but it failed again. Now it looks even worse. I'll make a bypass to cure this problem forever.
I'm also having trouble with the starter motor which was rebuilt a few years ago.
It makes a screaming noise right after the engine starts running. This is caused by a stuck bendix. I removed the starter motor, which is a pain to get to. The grease inside was all dried up. I cleaned and regreased it, but it still makes the noise. Argh!
Paintwork scratches easily.
Steering could be more direct.
I've had good and bad experiences with Renault dealers.
At a time, I noticed the temperature gauge was getting higher every day until eventually it got too high. I took the car to the dealer for a diagnosis. I mentioned it's probably the thermostat which will fail in any car sooner or later. They diagnosed it as a clogged up radiator. I was surprised, but hey, they are the experts. So I changed the radiator myself with an after-market one. It took me a day to get it in.
It didn't help at all! I went back to the dealer. It turned out they hadn't checked the thermostat. After the thermostat was changed all was fine again. They never saw me again...
Other dealers have been helpful, but I rather not go there unless I really have to (I do all maintenance myself whenever possible)