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).
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