1997 Renault Safrane RXE 2.5 20V from UK and Ireland
Great cars, built to last, Volvo powered
Spark plugs needed replacing - engine vibrating when accelerating. Still doing this, so HT leads and distributor are next on the hit list.
Windscreen demister became intermittent - Driver side would demist leaving the passenger side needing a scrape or wipe. This turned out to be the glass windscreen had COME AWAY from the windscreen bond! - WEAK POINT!
Not much else yet, but I suspect the disconnection and reconnection of the battery may be responsible for remote locking faults.
This is our 2nd Safrane - being so impressed with the first, the choice was obvious for the next car.
To be honest, like the first it's been a pretty decent car. It has a problem where the engine is slightly misfiring and vibrating when accelerating - this was temporarily cured for 3 days with new spark plugs, and then returned, so I can only assume it's the HT leads - the middle one didn't like clicking back on to the spark plug properly.
Like most Safranes it's quiet, full of power and for a 2.5 auto pretty economical fuel wise.
Again this model has the 2.5 litre 20 Valve VOLVO engine and Aisin-Warner gearbox from the Volvo 850. Renault certainly meant to make a solid car when they designed and built the Safrane phase 2, but the electronics are without a doubt a bit iffy.
When disconnecting and reconnecting the car battery, there is normally a spark between the terminal and wire. This seems to upset the central locking, which won't always flash the hazards when you lock and unlock. Once the hazards start to play up, this seems to be the start of the locking decoders death, so watch out. I recently met another Saff owner who's central locking had also packed up. Luckily the locking can still be activated from the button inside.
Apparently the engine breathers are a weak point on this car - that's not down to Renault but Volvos design. I must stress that at 126K miles it's still going strong.
These cars are now peanuts to obtain - £500 seems a common price, and to be honest you really cannot get a better car for your money.
There is one issue I discovered however - Speedos. The needles have a habit of jamming. I found this is down the clear plastic cover being a bit warped, which puts pressure on the entire speedo back plate and forces the needle spindle against the side of the hole, thus jamming it. I've taken a speedo unit apart after purchasing from a scrap dealer and found that the speedo servo's are of a magnetic gauge type, which is sprung to reset it to zero. If yours jams, then it is not an electronic problem, but a physical obstruction of the moving parts, because they would simply reset to zero due to the spring. Found it suddenly sky rockets upwards at high speeds? - That's due to the voltage supply to them being far higher giving it more strength and thus it overcomes the mechanical jam. Simple cure? - Remove the clear cover.
The above fault hasn't happened with this car, but did with our other - that's why I thought I would mention it. Renault want £600+ for a new unit (which resets the car mileage) as they don't fix them (in fact one Renault employee told me that they never found the fault). Five months of research and investigation by me found the clear plastic warping fault.
Anyway these are good cars, look nice and are built to last. The engines will give you years and miles of faithful service to the point that the death of the car will be driver error or the car is dropping apart around the engine.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 6th May, 2009