2009 Renault vel satis | new car review

Posted on Jun 19, 2009 by

Bored of the usual default choices? Don’t want to drive an identikit 5-Series/E-Class/A6? thinks there’s a niche for a completely unique, individual-looking alternative – although as a whole, the number of total sales of cars this size is declining each year. It’s these non-conformists is after, and the Vel Satis will certainly stand out in a crowd. Full marks to , then, for trying something different and original, and not merely imitating the benchmark models in the class.

To tempt buyers out of their German saloons, the Vel Satis offers more headroom, thanks to its higher-than-average roofline, a more original interior design, a new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, a luxury-level specification and plenty in the way of gadgets and convenience features.

The Vel Satis appears very well screwed-together and is made from good quality materials. Attention to detail, especially in the cabin, is particularly impressive.

You’ll either love it or hate it, but one thing’s definite – it will get you attention. It also looks less outlandish in context, i.e. on a city street, rather than on a motor show stand or in a picture. The Vel Satis is intended to stretch Renault’s reputation upmarket and if nothing else, they’ll strengthen the brand’s individuality – and if you buy one, yours too.

The high seating position and MPV-style cabin make the Vel Satis seem rather cumbersome – it drives more like an MPV than a low-slung executive saloon. It feels a good ten feet wide at first, but once more familiar, you start to benefit from the commanding driving position, good all-round vision through the big windows and the light steering.

 

 

The handbrake is electronically controlled (with emergency manual override) but its position low on the dash requires you to reach forward to use it; it only applies automatically when the engine is turned off, negating its convenience. The cabin is very pleasant, the deep windows making it feel light and airy, and the dashboard has an original design and is easy to use. The materials and fabrics are tactile and attractive, and the equipment levels high.

Top-spec models have big soft multi-adjustable front seats – the upper portion of the backrest is adjustable too – with memory functions. All of which feels remarkably armchair-like during gentle driving. Noise levels are very well contained, with little intrusive engine or wind noise.

Engine Size (litre)3.5V6
Power (bhp)241
Maximum Torque (Nm)330
TransmissionAT
Body type

 

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