Renault 19 (1988 – 1996) Review

Renault 19 (1988 – 1996) At A Glance


+Diesels are frugal, the 16-valve petrol models are free-revving, available for banger money

-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

The Renault 19 was the replacement for the underperforming R9/11, and like the 21, was neatly - if unimaginatively - styled by Ital Design. It was originally powered by Renault's new E-type (or Energy) 1.4-litre and F-type 1.7-litre power units - both of which were a considerable leap forward in terms of efficiency over their predecessors. However, the classic C-type Cléon 1.2- and 1.4-litre engines that had powered generations of Renaults remained in the entry-level models - a good move given how reliable they were.

The R19 was continually developed - the 19 Chamade saloon was launched in 1990, followed by the Karmann-engineered Convertible in 1992. As expected for a Renault of this era, all were good to drive, with excellent interior room, and lower-than-average build quality. In 1992, the R19 was facelifted with a new front- and rear-end, and the old Cléon engines were gradually phased out. New 1.8-litre engines topped the range, and they were powerful and economical.

Popular when new, but soon became secondhand bargains - and have yet to pick up any classic status, aside from the 16V and convertible models.

Ask Honest John

What do you think will be a classic in the near future?

"Will a Mk1 SEAT Leon Cupra, MG ZR, Renault 19 or Abarth Grande Punto ever become a classic as I would like to buy one of these as I have previously owned them. "
All have the potential to be classics (arguably, some of them already are). Buy whichever one you miss the most (and can find a good example of!) and don't worry too much about whether it counts as a classic car. For the sake of insurance purposes, many companies class classic cars as being more than 20 years old... that might be something to bear in mind as it'll unlock cheaper classic car insurance policies.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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