2002 Renault Vel Satis Initiale 3.0 V6 diesel from UK and Ireland


The big french magic carpet


GPS aerial failed, so the sat nav didn't work.

Climate control panel illumination gone (fixed myself).

General Comments:

What a car this is.

I've only had the car six months, my aunt has just bought it off me (need to raise funds for the Avantime) and I will miss it A LOT.

What a bargain it was, took a chance and bought it from an auction for £1800. Obviously for that price I expected a dog, but I got a princess! It's the flagship "Initiale" model which means Carminat Satellite Navigation, full cream leather (heated and electric adjustment), Automatic Xenon headlights, climate control, Cabasse 6 CD Changer, ESP, Parking Sensors, need I go on? But the best feature of all is the voice synthesizer. A nice posh woman kindly announces any faults (none yet), fuel level low, doors open etc. Has attracted a lot of comments!

Now the looks. If you're reading this, you're probably a fan, as I am. Viewed from a distance, the car is absolutely gorgeous. The flowing french lines, 18" Villa d'Este alloy wheels and satin chrome detailing uphold Renault's excellent reputation for daring design. However, I have to confess I've found one or two angles which don't work!

The Interior. Maple wood, beige leather, automatic everything... it's like driving around in a luxury bedroom. However, creaky plastics and a few flimsy bits of trim remind you you're in a Renault!

The 3.0 dV6 automatic is an Isuzu sourced engine... so it's bulletproof. I can't see why anybody would choose the 3.5 V6 petrol. Yes, on cold mornings, there's a bit of volume outside the car, but inside you would NEVER know it's a diesel, it's very very quiet. The power and torque leaves you wanting for nothing, and does a great job of propelling this beast along while returning 35+ MPG (more than my Mégane!!!)

Now Handling. The Vel Satis doesn't do corners! It can be compared to a boat. It wallows and pitches like the Titanic, but it's all part of the character! Instead it floats along, ironing out every imperfection as it glides along the road.

Now for the dodgy issue of parts. Good news, the Vel Satis is based on the Laguna II, so that's no problem.

I'm really going to miss the "Beast" as my friends like to call it, but I just have to have an Avantime!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th March, 2010

2002 Renault Vel Satis Initale 3.5 V6 from UK and Ireland


Fab French Fancy


New battery supplied with car was grossly under-rated, so I had numerous electrical problems and flat batteries. All sorted with a brand-new correct spec heavy-duty battery replaced under warranty - everything works a treat now.

Temperature sensor in mirror replaced - exterior temp display now works and the climate control is more efficient.

250hp and front wheel drive equals tyre wear. I needed 4 new tyres after 22,000 miles as the originals all began to perish. The new tyres are wearing down already.

General Comments:

I struggled to find a replacement for my Ford Scorpio Ultima Estate, as I wanted something just as big, comfy, fast and well equipped. The only car I could find was the Renault 'What is it?' Vel Satis.

A 2 year old 3.5 V6 12k was only £13k and it was sitting in the showroom next to a brand new £13k Megane - it was an easy choice to make! It is an ex-Renault HQ car and had been very well driven, and was as good as new when I got it.

The interior is the best part, huge comfy seats covered in soft Bridge of Weir leather and everything has been made to a very high standard (lots of leather, real wood, metal etc) and a really good stereo.

Great car for going on a long journey thanks to the basic, but accurate sat-nav.

OK - it doesn't look that good on the outside, but neither did my Scorpio, but underneath was a great car. The V6 engine is very fast and feels very reliable (18,000 miles between services), but it likes a drink (22-28mpg, 35mpg on a cruise).

There are only 700 approx Vel Satis in the UK and I would recommend one, but the 3.0 V6 diesel is cheaper to run, but more expensive to buy & service and is a lot (lot!) noisier.


The engine is actually a Nissan engine and is used in their 350Z and Murano models.

More LHD Twingos have been imported to Britain than Vel Satis' sold by Renault UK.

The Vel Satis is the biggest 5 door car ever sold in the UK.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th January, 2006