2003 Renault Vel Satis Initiale 3.5 V6 from Germany


Unique and really comfortable travelling car


1. Hand brake would intermittently show errors despite being 100% functional.

2. Rear suspension knocks on bumps, but passed MOT no problems.

3. Dashboard material scratches very easily.

General Comments:

Well, I decided for a Vel Satis in a country which doesn't recognize a non-German car as a vehicle, and that was pretty tough. Let me first of all give some pros and cons so we know what we've got here.


1. Unique and head turning, for not many people have even heard of it. My American car enthusiast friends never even saw one before.

2. Luxury; I am talking about an interior which is incomparable to more than 95% of the cars on the roads nowadays. I feel my muscles are useless after driving it for some time.

3. Cheap to get second hand; you can get it in pristine condition for the money of a rusty old Audi.

4. The powerband is very respectable and you get all the power you need sub 2000 RPM!!

5. You never ride alone, they have an annoying voice that scares the s**t out of you on a highway going 160kph to inform you of a number plate light that's gone out.

6. Passenger compartment is very well noise isolated for a car that old.

7. Power steering very light and responsive; also I have very wide tires.

8. Dashboard is very neat and easy to navigate through while driving.

9. The seats being engineered fantastically, seat belts coming out through the upper sides, separate lumbar support and back adjustment make for a painless journey for older people.

Now for the cons:

1. Renault, which means the electrics go haywire when you least expect them to, but I have to say mechanically they are bulletproof thanks to the VQ35DE engine.

2. Having rebuilt the engine before in my backyard and alone, I have a lot to say about servicing the engine compartment and how it is almost impossible to do anything to the engine without taking it out of the car, and I mean totally out and on the table to change a water pump for example, which usually takes me 1 hour on my father's old Corolla.

3. Trunk space is a joke; forget transporting the luggage of a 4 member family anywhere; the rear seats end already beyond the rear car pillars; a Focus would carry more luggage than my Vel Satis.

4. Interior rubber like surface finish will show wear almost immediately if you accidentally scratch it with your finger nails. You have to take the front bumper off to change a light bulb; takes me 30 minutes in total, but I don't get why you need to do that in the first place.

5. Changing an oil filter on the 3.5 engine needs some special skills and you won't be able to do it yourself if you're the YouTube video type person.

To sum everything up, I have to say that knowing buying a car, you're investing money in a consumable product, which means it's going to suck down money sooner or later. Better buy a car you like so you won't be cursing your life buying that 60 euros lambda sensor when they all cost the same for every car manufacturer in the end.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2016

2004 Renault Vel Satis 2.2 Dci turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Luxury and comfort at a cheap price tag!


Heater / climate control display illumination didn't work; I repaired this myself.

Rear N/S window motor not working, replaced myself (£45.00) from eBay, fairly easy to fix, took about two hours.

Front discs & pads replaced, not a fault but due to the high miles covered. Easy to fit.

One of the diesel injectors was blowing smoke past the copper seal and fumes were entering the passenger cabin. Repaired at Dieseltech Blackpool, £145.

TPMS was always showing a tyre needing inflating, a total pain!!! Got this feature switched off at Renault dealers,(£75); these are notorious for faults on many makes of car.

Clunky and rattle noise on the rear suspension. Annoying but not a real problem as the car has passed its MOTs with this noise. I have taken time to research this fault and it seems the Vel Satis is notorious for this noisy rear suspension!!

General Comments:

These luxury Renaults are a rare sight and to drive one is nice as they are so uncommon. The 2.2 Dci in my car runs beautifully, and whilst it doesn't tear up the tarmac, it is lively enough when you need to put your foot down. Attached to the auto gearbox, it delivers a lovely smooth drive and is fantastic on fuel economy (40 MPG on a motorway journey)

This car is a real gem on long journeys and eats up the miles with ease. The passenger cabin is a pleasure to ride in and has tons of room and superb comfy seats; the Cabasse music system is excellent and sounds great.

The car is now 11 years old and the bodywork is a credit to Renault for its endurance; polished up in the summer it looks fantastic. I have found this car to be reliable and well made; if you look after it and accept that it is a flawed French diamond, then you've got a real gem to travel around in.

My criticism of this car would be that for a top notch luxury car from Renault, the suspension is noisy and fidgety off motorways. They could have done a lot better with the ride. To end on a positive note, it's a pleasure to travel in this rare and quirky looking motor car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2015