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Reader Test: Renault Clio II

2009-11-25 08:10

Wynand Steyn

Yes, I know what you are thinking... Not another poor sod that bought a Renault.

My story however is a little different. I have owned a number of cars over the years that included a Renault 5 GTL. When shopping for something to replace my aging BMW 525i (1996 E34) I was looking for a small car with good economy, comfort and safety features. 

To be honest, the Clio was not on my list until I was offered this 2005, low mileage with full service history, diesel for R20k below retail. Having had no problems and good service from the Renault 5, I decided to take the plunge.

The interior is dark and the pattern on the seats and door panels are nothing to write home about. The front seats are extremely comfortable and the driver's has height adjustment. The satellite control for the factory fitted radio/CD on the steering column is one of the handiest features of the car. 

It also has dual front airbags, air conditioner, front electric windows, electric power steering, front headlight height adjustment, central locking, ABS and auto door locking on pull away. Ride is very good and since fitting Pirelli tyres (195/50/15) the road holding is much better. 

Diesel consumption is exceptional (compared to the BMW petrol consumption) and the savings over the BMW has been incredible. I average close to 18km/l for normal commuting and on the open road managed 23km/l. People are surprised when I tell them it's a diesel - only at idle can you hear the Massey Ferguson DNA. Open road cruising is on par with petrol engine cars and even though it only has 48 kW, the 160 Nm of torque ensures that you can keep up with traffic. 

"What has gone wrong" I hear you ask. Well, with 64k on the clock not much. Both front electric window lifts were replaced under guarantee. Front disc pads do not last long and I will have to replace both discs in the near future. There is a creak/rattle from time-to-time and the seat belt casing pops off intermittently.  

I must be honest and say that the service costs are very high. I paid close to R5 000 for the 60k service which included replacing the cam belt.

I was recently quoted R500 for the diesel filter (agents only item), which I also feel is too expensive. I have not experienced any bad service from Renault dealers, but trying to trade in an “old” Renault for a new one is frustrating. 

Yes, changing from a sweet howling six to a slow revving diesel has taken time to get used to. I really enjoy the car and reliability is not a problem. Some of these engines have done in excess of 400k before any major faults and I'm sure that if I look after it I will not regret my purchase.

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