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Renault Reviews

Renault was one of the first car companies, and has survived to the current day thanks to a loyal home market, strength in South America, and huge-selling small car offerings. Louis Renault built his first vehicle in 1898, and followed that by forming the self-named marque with his two brothers, with much early profit coming from taxis.

Post-WW2, Renault moved forwards with innovative cars suchas the small 4CV, utilitarian R4, stylish Floride and Caravelle, and impressive 16 of 1964 – regarded as one of the fathers of the modern-format family hatchback. Following an unsuccessful partnership with AMC in the USA, Renault is now allied with Nissan, a marriage which has benefited both in terms of design and creativity.

Good: One of the cars that mobilised the French in the post-war period, cute styling, cheap to run and buy, good fun in as slow way
Bad: Not as loved in the UK as the rest of the world, rusty and expensive to repair
Good: Roomy and rugged
Bad: Primitive, even by the standards of the day
Good: Large, commodious and charismatic
Bad: Rare, rusty and probably only a realistic in France
Good: Cool and charismatic
Bad: Leisurely unless you go for one of the brilliant Gordinis
Good: Classless, ageless, great to drive, exceptionally practical and good fun
Bad: Still in daily use in France, but in the UK rare and rusty
Good: Relatively lively, comfortable rear-engined saloon, with heaps of character, impressively smooth engine
Bad: Tail-happy handling in the wet, lots of corrosion issues
Good: Nice to look at, cheap to run and surprisingly fun
Bad: Bit of a rot box, best chance of parts support is via France
Good: Comfortable, practical, fast in TX form, and full of character
Bad: They can rust more comprehensively than an Alfasud, and they're not exactly easy to work on
Good: Good to drive, comfortable ride, exceedingly popular when new, mechanically rugged, many parts shared with other Renaults
Bad: Rare as hen's teeth now, rust and apathy with the non-converted
Good: Great styling, reliable drivetrain, cool and classless
Bad: Rusty and rare
Good: Agreeable coupe pairing, nice to drive, comfortable, full-length Webasto roof option on 17TS
Bad: Rust, rarity, smaller-engined 15s don't live up to their promise on the road
Good: Big, practical, and roomy
Bad: Underpowered in 1.6-litre form, overpowered with the V6, 2.0-litre dull and far too competent, rear seat folding system is baffling
Good: Roomy, quirky, capable, and an interesting Golf Mk1 alternative
Bad: Not easy to find parts for, capable of rusting anywhere, some jobs are tricky for DIY'ers
Good: Quick, chic and very stylish
Bad: Rare to the point of extinction in the UK
Good: Good to drive with positive steering, brakes and roadholding, simple mechanics, roomy, and surprisingly well-made
Bad: Poor traction in the wet, lack of serious rustproofing
Good: A proper rallying thoroughbred with bags of power and grip, mid-engined rear wheel drive creates a sensational overall package
Bad: The uninformed might assume it's a hot hatch wearing an aftermarket bodykit
Good: Nice styling, excellent dynamics, and punchy turbo engine
Bad: Lower powered versions are a little bit boring to drive
Good: Roomy and comfortable, interesting Electronic package which included digital dashboard and voice synthesizer
Bad: After decades of flamboyance, this was a step too far towards boring conformity for Renault, and its lack of fans bears testament to this
Good: Capable of high mileage with timely maintenance, owners love them
Bad: Old and unreliable turbos, automatics can give trouble, some repairs can be expensive
Good: Great to drive with strong performance and excellent dynamics
Bad: Overshadowed by the R5GT Turbo, few were sold new, and hardly any remain
Good: Extremely versatile, groundbreaking design, easy to drive and manoeuvre
Bad: Flawed driving position, flimsy trim, mechanical and electrical problems are all too common
Good: Blindingly fast, handling and steering are top drawer, one of the best 1980s hot hatches
Bad: Flimsy build quality, dodgy electrics, carburettor issues
Good: Quite comfortable and very cheap now, roomy airy interior is a particular delight, as is the excellent suspension set-up
Bad: Buy with care. Repairs can easily cost more than the car is worth. Not very well built. Electrical and mechanical problems.
Good: Fast, good looking and great dynamics
Bad: Fragile 1980s Renault build quality
Good: Diesels are frugal, the 16-valve petrol models are free-revving, available for banger money
Bad: Too old to consider these days, and not considered a classic yet, most are likely to cost more to repair than they're actually worth
Good: Proof that great hot hatches weren't just the preserve of the 1980s
Bad: Flimsy build, watch out for fakes
Good: Comfortable ride and refined around town. Clio Williams is a real firecracker.
Bad: The rear arches can rot from the inside out. Reports of auto transmission failures.
Good: Great styling, funky interior, optional full length sunroof, classless and dateless styling
Bad: Never officially imported into the UK, hence no right-hand drive versions
Good: Spacious, refined motorway cruiser with a comfortable ride. A cheap buy these days.
Bad: Electrics can cause trouble. Heater matrix is prone to leak and replacing it will land you a big bill for labour.
Good: Extraordinary looks. Quickly becoming a cult classic.
Bad: Totally pointless except as a 'design statement'. Uncomfortable back seat. No wonder it lasted barely a year.
Good: Plush, roomy and comfortable. The diesels are refined and the 2.2 dCi is reasonably frugal. Excellent crash test rating.
Bad: Not everyone will like the idiosyncratic driving experience but that's part of its charm.
Good: Spacious cabin, big boot and a comfortable ride. Estates are very roomy.
Bad: Too many problems to be a sensible buy.

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