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Renault 21 (1986 - 1994)

Last updated 21 March 2014

 
3

Buying Guide

Good

  • Cheap.
  • 175 bhp Turbo and Turbo Quadra were flyers in their day.
  • Comfortable enough but, apart from enthusiasts for the turbo, the market is not really interested unless the cars are seriously cheap.
  • Two completely different drivetrains: 1.7 petrol engines were transverse, but everything else was longitudinal, overhanging the front wheels.
  • Option of seven forward-facing seats with reasonable luggage space behind.
  • Diesels are economical, but diesel range was complicated:
  • 67 bhp 2068cc non-turbo from Jan-Sept 1989;
  • 65 bhp 1870cc non-turbo from Sept '89-Oct 95;
  • 88 bhp 2068cc turbo from Jan '89-Oct '90 and then again from Nov '93-Oct '95.

Bad

  • Cheap, flimsy build.
  • Quite a few parts are hard to get, such as rear discs for turbos and TXis.
  • 19 model tended to be much stronger, better built and more reliable.
  • Dashboards expensive to remove to replace bulbs or heater matrix.
  • Automatics often troublesome.
  • Two completely different drivetrains: 1.7 petrol engines were transverse, but everything else was longitudinal, overhanging the front wheels. Lousy ventilation - particularly bad for rearmost passengers on long hot summer journeys. 
  • Not cheap to repair.
  • Dashboards expensive to remove to replace bulbs or heater matrix. 
  • Automatics can be troublesome. 
  • In June 2001 Renault was rated by Motor Warranty Direct as Britain's joint 4th worst out of 22 marques for used car warranty claims (www.warrantydirect.co.uk)
  • Most 21 Savannas likely to have been scrapped by 2011.

Watch

  • Have to be cheap to be worth buying.
  • Check all electrics carefully. Look for uneven front tyre wear.
  • Check coolant for mayonnaise (blown head gasket).
  • If has ABS, make sure it works.
  • Sniff for fishy smell - a sure sign of a failed heater matrix (putting this right will cost a lot more than the car is worth).
  • Mild steel retaining straps of plastic fuel tank rust through, leaving the tank to drop into the road with potentially dire consequences.
  • Repaired accident damage (high used values used to make them worth repairing).
  • Rust.
  • Family and dog damage.
  • Torn upholstery.
  • Sagging suspension.
  • Don't buy one that's been towing because seven occupied seats and a caravan is just too much
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