Posts Tagged ‘Renault’


 

Kangoo

 

 

On Friday I was treated to an update by the MD of Renault Ireland Mr. Eric Basset concerning the state of play when it comes to the Zero Emission future. As I wrote before on these pages the objective of the Renault project is “affordability” in the electric future of automobiles. To that end Mr. Basset announced the pricing for both the commercial Kangoo and the Fluence.

Back in July this year I got to test both cars which at the time were still prototypes and I was left with the feeling that I’d just seen the future of the city car, well today I see the future of electric transport and it comes from France.

Renault have decided to make a bold move of leasing the batteries that power all of the models, which means you buy the car and rent the batteries, this also means as new batteries come on stream you’ll be able to get upgrades, at the end of the battery life when it needs to be recycled Renault will look after that too.

The pricing for the Fluence is going to be very good, remember that the Fluence ZE is the same car that you see on the roads in Ireland at the moment, the electric version is to be priced around the same level as the current diesel model, it goes like this

RRP: €26,620, the Government will give €5,000 towards the purchase which makes it €21,620 which puts a couple of hundred Euro over the price of the mid range Fluence dynamique diesel. The leasing of the battery will cost €72 per month with a limit of 15,000kms, if you add to that the cost of charging the battery the total cost of ownership should work out the same as a diesel variant.

The Kangoo ZE is €20,000 exc VAT, again the government will give an incentive making the van €15,870, the same lease teems apply on the battery.

It’s a new method for selling a car, it’s all new even the car. It’s the intention of Renault to become a one stop shop even being able to sell insurance.

I have always derided EV cars on two fronts, the first was the purchase price, all of them are far more expensive than their alternative petrol model but Renault has addressed this with the affordability for everyone, the other problem was range.

The range of these cars is no better than anyone else, but Renault unlike every other manufacturer are bit researching and making the batteries, the leasing of the batter makes a lot of sense as currently to purchase one of these battery units runs to some €10,000 or more. Plus batter technology is moving so fast that if you bought a Nissan Leaf right now that can do 180kms and in twelve months time a new battery comes out that can make the Leaf do 250kms, where does that leave you?

With Renault you lease the battery, so when a better one comes along you just head to a Renault dealer and get your battery swapped, plus your old one gets recycled.

There will be 1500 charging stations to be installed country wide and mapping technology is being researched that will allow you to no only plan your route via the charging stations but will tell you if the stations are in use.

Such is the interest in the Renaults that more staff is coming on board to deal with the volume of enquiries, there’s two more models to come yet, the two seat and four wheel Twizzy along with the Zoe a medium sized hatchback that will be unveiled in Geneva this coming March.

I really do thing Renault have hit the nail on the head with the complete package for EV ownership, expect to see lots of these cars on the roads of Ireland.

 

Twizy

 

 

 

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Renault Kangoo 17

Image by 650cc via Flickr

RENAULT ANNOUNCES IRELAND’S FIRST EVER VAN SCRAPPAGE – NEW KANGOO FROM €8,990*, TRAFIC FROM €12,990* AND ALL NEW MASTER FROM €14,490*

Do you own a van that’s 5 years old? If your can answer yes to the above then get thee to a Renault Dealer.

This is a first for Ireland, no one else is looking to scrap your old van, Renault’s ‘scrap my van’ offer applies to light commercial vehicles aged 5 years and older, registered on the 31st January 2006 or before.

It’s a great offer from Renault, if your able to take advantage of it have a look at the pricelist below or head over to www.renault.ie

PR Renault Vans Price List


Renault are working very hard at the moment, and it’s not just the designers, every segment of the company are pulling out all the stops to push the brand forward. This “work hard” attitude is something I admire in any business. I work hard, there have been nights when I’m still working on something at one or two AM, that’s because I love what I do. The same must apply somewhere in Renault, someone near or at the top has surrounded themselves with people who love their jobs.
The new model Megane is the result of that love of the job, I remember the concept pictures of the Megane somewhere back in 2008, they looked fantastic. Obviously the car I’m driving looks nothing like the concept but ce la ve.
The current model comes in a variety of body styles from coupe to estate (called grand)and it’s the estate version that I’m driving at the moment.
When you think estate most of you will think of big agriculture type cars, well it’s not that kind of car, it’s far cooler than that. It looks like the designers were let loose and they came up with madness, then the Euro laws got involved and out of the two a very handsome sporty estate was born.
The long bonnet reminds me somehow of my Fathers Renault 12 TL, it looks nothing like it, it just reminds me of it. Sweeping down the sides there are some interesting quirks in the creases just before you reach the most interesting wrap around rear end on any car in it’s class. The boot lid looks one piece with the rear panels, it’s not, it splits to reveal a 486 ltr boot, more about the boot goodies later.


The back seat is big and comfy, there’s loads of head and leg room. If you don’t fancy carrying three people in the back then you can always drop the centre armrest which has some nifty cup holders build in.
From the drivers seat the car feels low and sporty but very comfortable. The steering wheel is weighted nicely to top dead centre, there is only one problem in here and it’s the gear shift, it feels too clicky. The gear stick feels like it’s attached to the gearbox with some plastic left over from the dashboard. It’s only a five speed box too, and that’s a shame, the gearbox in the Fluence felt fine I don’t know why they put a different box in the Megane. Other than the shift there’s nothing wrong in the cabin, everything is where you’d expect it to be in a Renault. This being a Tom Tom edition you get lots of toys, sat nav, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth and mp3 connection are all standard. Shame there’s no USB connection in mine but I’m sure it’s an option.


Out on the road the ride is firm but responsive, for an estate there’s no sign of a bouncy rear end that you get in most of the competition. The handling is very good too, even when you push it the Megane just keeps on holding the road. The 1.5dci 86bhp engine is solid and in the Megane it seems very quiet, at motorway speeds the lack of a sixth gear starts to show through, the rev’s sit at 2800rpm at 120kph, while that’s not bad it would be a better, more economical cruiser if there was another cog to get too.
Now we have to go onto a topic that will bore some of you, the boot. For those of you who are already yawning at the thought of me talking about boot space here’s a brief version, it’s big.
For those that are still reading let me explain, you buy an estate car to gain room over the hatchback version, so the boot space is very important. Even though the rear of the car is rounded on the outside, the boot opening is square and flat floored. There’s tonnes of space for any shape item to fit in there, there are some features in the boot too. There’s a flap near the opening that you can pin up allowing the whole boot to become a sort of bin, under that flap there’s more storage for drop in items, there are shopping hooks in the back too, they are set a bit too far back but nonetheless they are useful to have in the big flat boot. With all the seats dropped it’s 1600ltrs which is a decent size for any estate.
The Grand Megane is a very capable car, it’s adaptable, spacious and very stylish, the only flaw that I can find is the gearbox, it’s just too plastic feeling and it could do with another gear, if Renault would take the gearbox from the Fluence into the Megane be as near perfect as any car can be, in fact it’s so good my other half wants one.
If you’re interested in trying a Megane for yourself then log onto http://www.Renault.ie to find your local dealer.

Prices look like this, you should get the 106bhp Tom Tom with a 6 speed box it’s worth it.

RRP Trade-in allowance Renault scrappage for cars +8years old Government scrappage for cars +10years old Version from
1.6 16V 110 ETH ROYALE ECO 170 g/km €19,690 €3,300 €1,500 €0 €14,890
1.5 dCi 86 ROYALE 118 g/km €21,100 €3,300 €1,500 €1,500 €14,800
1.5 dCi 86 DYNAMIQUE 118 g/km €22,500 €3,300 €1,500 €1,500 €16,200
1.5 dCi 86 TOMTOM ED 118 g/km €23,600 €3,300 €1,500 €1,500 €17,300
1.5 dCi 106 TOMTOM ED 120 g/km €24,700 €3,300 €1,500 €1,500 €18,400

Let me know what you think, don’t be afraid; comment below.


This is the best kept secret in the auto motive industry.
Yes, by virtue of the fact that I’m even telling you this I am, at very least, breaking some kind of official secrets act, and at worst, signing my own death warrant.
You see, secrets are kept for  two very good reasons.

  1. It’s a complete lemon and the manufacturer doesn’t want the general public to know how bad it is or
  2. It’s so good, to tell the same public would ruin its exclusiveness.
    Sorry lads, but the rest of them deserve to know the truth – and it’s amazing.
    There, I said it.
    Yes people, you see before you the words Renault and amazing in the same sentence – the world’s gone mad.
    Recently I’ve used capable, enjoyable and even Reliable with the R word, but never amazing.

Now before you start screaming for the nurse, let me explain why.

We’ve been down this road quite a few times with our Gallic friends.

Take your mind back to the Laguna II or the Megane II or indeed the last real coupe from Renault, the Fuego.

All fine to look at, but not so pleasant to drive and a maintenance nightmare as the miles creep up.
We expected the same this time round. Why wouldn’t we?

So we weren’t fooled by the drop-dead gorgeous looks, bold lines, muscular physic or the spectacular Aston Martin-ish rear end complete with massive twin chrome exhausts.
Inside it just gety better, wall-to-wall leather, Audi TT-style steering, bucket seats, Bose sound system and Bluetooth hands free phone.

Couple that with the superior build quality you’d only find in super executive saloons that only a NASA engineer could tell it wasn’t German and you’re on a winner.
The boys over at BMW, Audi and Merc won’t like this one little bit, but the French outfit have really lifted their game here and the feel of a cabin is one of the greatest influences on buyers – especially women.

And this car has successful career woman written all over it.

The old adage ‘Men are from Mars’ is probably the greatest example of this argument as the fairer sex couldn’t care less about bhp, ABS, ESP, torque or transmission.

No, it’s far more scientific thatn that – if they like it, they’ll buy it.
That’s far to sensible for us men to get our little heads around, besides what would the lads down the boozer say?

Anyway its time for me to get all manly again with the most pertinent question – How does it drive?

Supurbly. The 180bhp GT version I tested had the full package – instant and endless poke, refined handling and as agile as a Romanian gymnast.

This is where Renault reveal their hand, their secret weapon called 4 Control Chassis.

For all you Grease Monkeys out there, here’s how it works.

At speeds of less than 60kmh the system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front, up to an angle of 3.5 degrees making parking and manoeuvring easier.

It’s also very frugal, returning a whopping 43mpg on long journeys.

That’s another major plus here – it handles like a true coupe  but has the comfort of a saloon.

Take the Mazda RX-8 – absolutely mental to drive, a laugh a minute …. but an hour on the motorway will soon wipe the smile off your face.

Not here though. This slick oil burner will devour mile after mile with absolute ease.

So it’s pretty much flawless?

Well, not quite.

For starters I’ve never been mad about the keyless entry card thing.

If scientists develop a keyless front door then maybe they are onto something otherwise you still have to lump keys around with you.

Anyway, the two biggest chinks in the armour are firstly it’s a Renault and changing a minor fault is a lot easier than changing a mind set.

The second and more importantly is the price at €47,300  (official list price).

It’s rivals, namely the Audi TT and the BMW 320D coupe which are cheaper.

That said, one real advantage it does have is its exclusiveness – the TT has been around forever and the BMW is a common enough sight on Irish roads.

It still gets my vote for sheer sexiness, fun and daring to be different.

A Dita Von Tease in a sea of blonde bimbos if you like!

Phil Hedderman


It’s not often I don’t like the look of a car before I’ve seen the one I’m going to spend a week with, the Fluence is one of those cars. I’d seen a few around the roads before I get a chance to drive one myself. The first drive I had of the Fluence was a couple of months back at the Renault ZE road show, I got to take one of the million Euro prototypes out on the roads around Carton house. I was greatly impressed with the electric version, but I wasn’t too happy with the look of the outside. It looks too high off the road, but this car was originally designed to be an electric car, so aerodynamics are playing a heavy roll in the look of the car.

The model I had for testing is the Tom Tom edition, that’s about as high a spec as you can get. There’s built in Sat-Nav, keyless entry/exit and start, dual zone climate control to name but a few, there is also the most comfortable seats I’ve ever had the great pleasure to sit in, you would have to go a few classes above to beat the comfort in the Fluence.

The boot has a great shape, it’s wide at the opening and gets a little narrower, it’s 530ltr can cope with just about any shape, and can happily take two prams and all the stuff that kids need. There’s also two shopping bag hooks that can keep your shopping where it should be; in the bags.

The back seat can cope with 3 adults, or as in my case, one adult and two child seats. Most important is the comfort in the back, there’s loads of leg and headroom, there’s also a pull down armrest in the middle that has cup holders built in.

Up front the dash is made out of fantastic materials, in fact the materials look like they are out of a car well above the Fluence class. Everything is where it should be in a Renault, I still think the radio has too many buttons and the steering wheel stalk is over complicated, but you soon get used to finding the buttons you need most.

My first drive took me on the motorway, the 1.5 diesel unit puts out 106bhp and I find it a little noisy during acceleration but that’s the nature of diesel engines. In the Fluence once you get up to speed you can’t hear the engine anymore, there’s no sound at 100kph and very little at 120kph. Testament to its aerodynamic background, there’s very little wind noise either. On the Motorway the Fluence is sublime, that huge comfy seat, firm suspension and a tonne of elbow room means that this is simply the best long distance cruiser. It’s no slouch in the corners either, for a big saloon it handles really well; you would really want to throw it into a corner before it looses any grip. Even at low speeds there’s nothing wrong in the Fluence, there’s no wobble over flat top speed bumps and it’s easy to park thanks to the good visibility and parking sensors on the rear.

I said in the video that the Fluence was the best car I’d driven all year; I meant it. There’s nothing in its price range with the same room and spec that you can get for the price of €23,500 before any discounts or a trade in. Yes it looks a little odd at first but if you see it in the right colour (black or White) it’s a handsome car. Renault didn’t go about trying to re-invent the saloon market, what they did was take all the good bits from saloons and tweak them, making every thing a little better. For me crucially, it’s original and that makes a huge difference because I don’t like driving around in one of the other Euro-boxes that inhabit Irish roads currently. Here’s the best endorsement I can give the Fluence, I want to order one for next January.


Sorry this video is up a little late today, I couldn’t get out of some meetings. Text review tomorrow, I promise. It’s a great car too, watch the video you’ll see why.


Small cars, by which I mean snack-box size have to be good at a number of things,
they need to handle like a house fly who just got the whiff of a bowl of sugar, enough
room for some shopping in the boot, be able to carry 4 people and be comfortable for
the driver. That to me is super-mini class, there’s more stuff you can ask of the small
car segment but if it can do my little list I’m happy.
The Clio is in this segment even though it’s gotten bigger over the years, it’s
borderline hatchback now, and if it gets any bigger Renault may do away with the
Megane altogether. Last week I was handed the keys of the little Clio and my first
thought when I saw it was “If that car was a woman, it would have a fat ass” which
was a strange thought to have about a car, but nonetheless around the rear of the car
there is a fat bit that sticks out at the bottom of the hatch. Don’t get me wrong here,
it’s a pretty car, but in the same way that once you see Jlo dancing you just can take
your eyes off her bottom, even though it makes her look a little out of proportion.
The Clio has grown up, both in terms of styling and use of materials, no longer does
the dashboard look like it’s made of bakelite and might just crumble at the next set of
traffic lights, now it seems to be made out of touchy feely materials, it’s really well
put together.


The drivers’ seat is very comfortable, the French know how to do comfort in a seat
and they have done it with the Clio, it didn’t seem to matter where I put the seat, I
still found it lovely. The back seats is a little on the tight side, but you’ll still get two
adults into it. The dash lay out is fairly ergonomic but Renault still use that overly
complicated radio, it’s just too fussy, having one button that simultaneously turns off
the power to the radio, sat nav and the blue tooth is just annoying.

The same can’t be said for the climate control, there’s three buttons that matter, Auto, hotter and colder
and it has them all right there in front of you, perfect. The radio and hands-free can
be controlled from a stalk on the right side of the steering wheel, the trouble with that
is you can’t see it when you drive in a straight line so you have to guess what button
does what, now I know you’ll get used to it but what’s so wrong with putting the
controls on the steering wheel? The USB/Aux connector meant that I could control
my Zen from the radio controls, and that my MP3 library gets displayed on the big
sat nav screen, which was nice. Other than some niggly points there’s nothing to
complain about in the cabin. The boot space is good too, 255ltrs but there’s a big lip
to get over, the up side is a deep boxy shape boot that can handle fairly big loads, if
you drop the seats you’ll get 1028ltrs and that’s a lot for a car this size.
The little 1.2ltr engine isn’t powerful, there’s only 75bhp but it is a fizzy little thing,
there’s a nice engine note when you rev it, it’s the kind of engine you push until
there’s little dents in the bonnet from the valves hitting the inside before you change
gear. If you drive it properly you’ll easily get over 40mpg, if you look at my video
here you’ll see me demonstrate that fact.


On open road the Clio is very quiet and pliant over all surfaces, the suspension set up
is just right for Irish roads, once you show it some corners the whole car comes alive.
The little engine roars what life it can give and I promise, on a dry road you would
think the car was on rails. There was no traction control on the Tom-Tom model I
drove, it is an option, to be honest I didn’t need it all week, there wasn’t a hint of
under or over steer the car passed all handling tests I could throw at it.
The Clio manages something that many other car makers would like to achieve, that

sense of style and substance all wrapped up in a little car that’s cheap to tax (€156 a
year), cheap to insure, cheap to buy and most important cheap to run. Gone are the
days of Papa and Nicole, this is a grown up super-mini with plenty to offer to the first

time buyer and the retired couple, let alone as a second car in the family. Go to your
local Renault dealer and get a test-drive, you might find that Gallic charm too.


Renault S.A. Logo

Image via Wikipedia

I wanted to find out if you can really achieve the figures that car makers put out with every new car, so I put one maker to the test, Renault…..


Some of you have reported problems with viewing the video from you tube so here it is hosted on Vimeo


I have never really had a desire to own an MPV of any kind, the only one that ever tempted me into buying such a thing was an S-Max, they look cool while still being big. Other than that the rest of them could all vanish over night and I wouldn’t have noticed. So when I was offered a Renault Grand Scenic I was a little, to use internet speak, meh. But when I saw it I changed my mind somewhat, it’s still a big long car but it’s understated and dare I say it, a bit cool. The lower than usual nose and long head lights give it a puppy dog who’ll bite look, there’s a high roof line leading to boomerang shaped tail lights and a flat square tailgate, it’s a good look and it works. Speaking of things that work, the keyless entry is great, just keep the card in your pocket, when you pull any door handle the car opens, get into the drivers’ seat push the start button and off you go; you can even turn the lights on from the key card. When you get out and walk away the doors lock and the alarm is set, it’s a little strange at first because if you go back to check the doors actually locked they open again but you soon learn to trust it. The boot is perfect, at 702ltrs it’s huge. The square shape of the opening mixed with a low rear bumper means you’ll have no trouble getting anything you want in; with the 7 seats in place its 208ltr which isn’t very big but it’s enough for short journeys. Now if you really need some room you can fold all the rear seats away and get a whopping 2063ltrs of space, that’s bigger than some vans. There are also lots of cubby holes around the car, under the floor and drawers under the front seats, if you add them all together you get another 84ltrs of storage, in fact there’s so much storage it’s a bit easy to forget where you put something in the car.


It’s in the cabin where this car comes into it’s own, there’s plenty of light and space, in 5 seat mode there’s tonnes of room in the back for 3 adults, the three individual seats means you can even put two big child seats and adult in the back. Each of the seats move forward, flipped up, turned into a table or removed altogether. Also in the back you get two airline type tables that flip up from the back of the front seats, there’s a hole in each for a cup but I couldn’t find a cup that would fit into them, also on the rear of the front seats there’s pockets galore, two at the top and a bigger one down low. The drivers’ seat is a very comfortable place, all the useful controls are at hand, and the big TFT screen is bright and easy to read, it tells you all the things you need to know without being over complicated. The Tomtom sat nav sits right next to it, the controls for the sat nav are on the arm rest in the middle of the car and if I’m honest the control unit feels clumsy, the control wheel in the middle (which does most of the work) seems to lag behind the screen a bit meaning it’s hard to spell out the place you want to go. Once it’s set its great, lane warnings and an ability to fix mistakes in the maps means you won’t get lost. The sound from the stereo is exceptional, but the interface is difficult to use, scanning for a channel seems to take a couple of key presses and using an iPod with it needs a degree in engineering.

The biggest problem was turning the radio off, you see there’s a button to do it but that same button turns off the sat nav and Bluetooth hands free, fine you say just turn it down then, but that means turning down the sat nav voice too. It would have been much easier to put in a button for the radio separate from everything else. The fit and finish along with exceptional materials used gives a feeling of luxury, the whole car seems really well put together.
The 1.5dci engine struggles to give low down power, it’s 106bhp but all of that is at the top end of the rev range, but once you get it up to speed it’s very quiet and composed on the motorway. Speaking of motorways, I took the family down to Galway in the Scenic along the M6, my god what a boring drive that is, never in all my life have I wanted to have auto pilot on a car as when I drove down that road. Not only does nothing happen but there’s nothing to look at, still the car was great, I kept myself occupied with looking at the points of interest on the sat nav; there were none, even the kids fell asleep. I pulled over for a rest and a coffee, that’s when I found the drivers’ cup-holder, it’s on the floor of the car, it’s awkward to get at and if you slide the armrest forward it becomes impossible.
Around the town the car feels big and the rear suspension is bouncy over speed bumps. If you get onto the back roads the rear of the car wallows around a bit, that said there’s no sign of under steer, as big as the Scenic is the turn in is fine.
The Grand Scenic is a fantastically practical car that can be put to any use, it’s just not desirable but none of the MPV type cars are. The key factor of this car is price, with all the best equipment in the Tomtom edition the retail price is €30190 plus €450 for metallic paint, but with discounts and the scrappage scheme taken into account you could have this car for €26,140, that’s cheaper than some hatchbacks on the market! It’s even in tax band B, €156 a year tax. So if you need a huge 5 seat car or a decent size 7 seat then look no further. Contact your local Renault dealer for more details or you can see the car I drove on www.renault.ie
Just incase you missed it, I did a video review of the Scenic, you can find it here.