“ Permanent 4x4 version of the popular mini MPV „
iT HAPPENED TO us JUST YESTERDAY!! I am so mad because I watched this programme when it first aired and it now feels like a full blown cancer that spreading throughout England to my car as well. I called up Renault UK and they said that they are unaware of this incident being an inherent problem and only 2 percent of owners are complaining about this problem out of 139,000 vehicles sold during that year 2004-2005. Also because I regularly service my car at a local dealer not a registered overpriced Renault dealer my They won't do the job for anything less than £100. I will never buy another Renault and I am advising all my friends not to buy another Renault. EVER.
My RX4 is 15months old now and some of my opinions have changed since my first report, some better, and some worse. Overall the vehicle is wearing the test of time & miles well.
The RX4's mileage is just shy of the 40,000 mark, about 4,000 less then I expected to cover over that period of 15 months and averages out at around 625 miles each week. Breaking -down the mileage of roads used a rough estimate works out like this: Out of the total mileage of 40,000 miles only around 2,000 miles have been on a Motorway. Trunk A roads have accounted for around 14,000 miles, A & B roads about 6,000 miles but by far the biggest percentage goes to single lane mountain roads, about 17,000 miles. Leaving around 1000 miles driven off-road.
The single lane mountain roads hereabouts are very punishing to vehicles if driven even at a moderate speed. These Roads are the sort that you can often see for a mile or two ahead, even when the roads bend in-between. They take their course across a bare mountain with no trees or hedgerows. You can usually see if there is any traffic well in advance of meeting the vehicles. This should mean you could sustain a moderately high average speed as the roads are deserted except for the odd occasion. The trouble is with the road surfaces. Whilst being single lane the surface is bumpy which can unsettle a lot of vehicles. There are often humps which if taken at even 40 mph will have you airborne for a short while. With spending so much time driving these mountain roads I do drive as fast as is safe 99% of the time. The Renault RX4 dci has such good poise with its suspension coping with every bump and hump so as to leave the occupants and myself comfortable. This enables brisk, unruffled progress across the mountains thus saving a huge amount of time. For example, if I drive at an average speed of 45mph instead of 40mph I would save 48hrs each 15 months.
Driving on the m
ountain roads has also shown how well the RX4's traction control and ABS with Brake Assist work. There has not been a single occasion when I haven't felt in total control of the vehicle, whether the roads have been damp and greasy or covered with a fresh fall of snow or layered with hard packed ice. One such instance was a rainy night, driving at around 60mph around a right hand bend over a hump a group of horses stood in the middle of the road. Even though the vehicle was unsettled because of the bend & hump the abs and brake assist worked so well I slowed up 150' short of the horses with the rx4 still on its original course.
The lack of a low ratio gearbox hasn't been a bugbear for me. On roads covered with hard-packed ice the Renault has climbed/descended 1:5 hills with the traction control operating smoothly. That isn't to say I wouldn't like the RX4 to have a low ratio box for that proper hill descent control, its that it is OK for my needs without a transfer box. Off-road driving has been painless too with one exception. During Boxing Day 2002 a lady needed to be rescued a mile from the road. She had collapsed and as time was of the essence I had to act quickly. The ground was sodden, and the route to her rescue involved driving up a very steep field and across what could almost be termed a boggy piece of ground. This section was half a mile in length and whilst being straight had another woe. It was a boggy ledge and had a drop on the left of around 70', which dropped at a rate of more than 1:2. On the right was an incline of more the 1:2. This ledge was only 12' wide as well. I would not have attempted driving here even in the dry yet because it could have been a matter of life and death I had to attempt a rescue. I also knew that I would have to reverse half a mile back along the ledge after picking up the stricken lady. But reversing didn't phase me, I rather enjoy the manoeuvre. I lined the Rx
4 up with the ledge,
and using 1st gear and burning the clutch the RX4 forged its way along. I remember a few dicey moments when traction was being lost and the vehicle lurched a bit to the left, yet all in all the RX4 coped well and made the trip across without too much fuss. Having carried the lady 10 yards to the RX4 I belted her into the front seat with another rescuer sat behind. I was a bit concerned about the extra weight for the return reverse! Must have been an extra 400lbs over the outward journey. To reverse along this ledge I had to be sure exactly where the wheels were. looking out the rear window or using the mirrors was not an option. The RX4 does have poor rear vision. So, I held the door open and made sure of the line I needed to keep the vehicle on to ensure it didn't go over the edge. I revved the dci, burned the clutch again to remain in total control and started moving back. At this stage I was unsure whether or not the traction control would work in reverse, yet it did and in no time I was back off the ledge facing down a 1:5 hill. I was as nearly relieved then as I was after my hand was freed from being trapped for 10 minutes in a sash window a few years before! But the RX4 did work, it drove over this virgin boggyish ground and left ruts 8' deep for nearly the whole ledge, and helped save a life because the lady made a full recovery after spending some time in hospital.
Other off-road driving has been good although I have never driven it over terrain to test its abilities. The RX4 has also waded through floods with ease.
Overall passenger comfort seems good with only one case of sickness, that from a baby which had been fed a bit too much. A good response from passengers not used to the vehicle has always been forthcoming, mostly concerning the comfort and smoothness of the vehicle ( or is that just my driving ) .
I think it would be good to point out to you all that the RX4 is no
t the only vehicle that I
drive and I cover many miles in others.
The Hum of the engine has become pleasant and I have discovered a novel way to enhance it. I sometimes enjoy hearing the whistling of the turbo kicking in yet this noise is very muted. That is unless I open the centre dashboard vents. With these open I can hear clearly the tunes being played by my right foot! The engine has been reliable and has always started in the same manner whether its hot or cold or in-between outside. Yet the engine has not given consistent performance. This is a problem. Sometimes it will drive with good performance, mostly its been indifferent, not sluggish but without that extra punch, while other times its performed as its pulling a 10 tonne trailer. The sluggish performance has only happened on 3 occasions however. I will come back to this point later when I tell you about the servicing! My driving style changes from vehicle to vehicle but some things remain constant, I drive hard yet respect laws and noise levels in built up areas; nobody who lives by a junction enjoys cars accelerating hard out of one.
The RX4 doesn't drive as I would like; yet I do like the way it drives! That doesn?t sound right but I have become used to turbo diesels having the torque low down in the rev range, yet the RX4 will take the torque seemingly uniformly right up to the rev limit. Now this results in a similar driving style to petrol engine cars, yet the dci does prove its got diesel torque in the mid range when it is much more responsive than a petrol engine. I am still getting to know it!
Fuel consumption has averaged out at nearly 40mpg, which I find astonishing really. As I have said before, I don't hang about. The worst ever consumption was 32mpg over about 200 miles and the best; well, I hate to admit it, but I did do my own economy run. Travelling over 300 miles in one journey with just 60 miles being on
a motorway, the rest A roads and mountain roads. Averaging 46mph I achieved 52.2mpg. Think of the money that I could save if I drove the RX4 gently!
At 33,000 miles the RX4 was taken to the garage on the back of a breakdown truck. This was because the front brake disc pads suddenly wore out. They were replaced and all is fine; no damage to the brake discs it seems. At 25,000 miles the front pair of Michelins needed replacing due to normal wear. Quite a good mileage for a vehicle that is front wheel drive mostly. The rear tyres are still the originals yet will need to replaced soon, I would estimate at around 42,000 miles. Michelin don't manufacture the type of tyre that the RX4 was originally fitted with anymore, yet their replacement, called the synchrome seems to be even better than those which were already first class. Purely for safety I drive with my headlights on all the time. The 4 headlight bulbs all blew within 1000 miles of each other at around the 27,000 mile mark, one of the rear number plate lights blew at 36,000 miles. One further fault seems to happen only after a few hours driving; the accelerator pedal sticks to the floor for no obvious reason after depressing it fully. To regain throttle control I have to hook it back with my toe. This problem has happened several times. Renault have not identified the problem either and say the pedal seems to working correctly. It feels like they don't believe me!
Servicing; as there is an 18,000-mile service interval I have only had to endure this painful experience twice. Yet because of these experiences I feel like saying I will never buy, own or run another Renault, yet this may not be true. I will give Renault the opportunity to prove otherwise over the next few services. I have dealt with dozens of car main dealers for service on their brand of motor. even with older cars yet have never come across such poor customer service as I hav
e with Renault. I said I would address the inconsistent running of the engine here, yet now I feel I shall just comment that the matter has not been dealt with satisfactorily and will be investigated again at the 54,000 mile service. When I received the vehicle it had some niggles, only one has been addressed. The others I have been told won't be. My rev counter is a petrol engine specked gauge, thus the redline starts at 6,000 rpm. My engine won't rev beyond 5,000 rpm unloaded. Renault?s response was "that's normal" amongst many other reasons too ridiculous to mention. Suffice to say that these experiences have tainted the RX4 experience for me and the probable result that I may never look at another Renault should say it all. If anybody from Renault reads this perhaps you should think about customer support for your products; I have never had a phone call returned or email answered. A bit worryingly Renault phoned me up 3 days after my RX4's 36,000 mile service to tell me the vehicle was ready and awaiting collection,3 days after I collected it!
Not many problems with the interior of the vehicle, no apparent wear on seats. The seat belts however are beginning to age, getting tangled with the door latch and now spotted with oil. Carpets are good, as is all the interior trim. ,no marks on owt. Everything works, the climate control, as I mentioned in my previous report is fabulous, the demisting setting provides a reasonable response yet isn't quick to clear the windows. The heated mirrors can only be described as adequate in operation. Storage space is really useful, as is the coolbox. I have an inverter, which I plug into the power outlets to run things like, laptop, TV, video etc. The interior is such a nice place to be, I can't really fault the layout for the vehicle size. It can be quite a shock driving other vehicles just by feeling their sheer lack of space and storage compartments. Making
some of these other cars feel like they have been designed without a quarter of the thought which has gone into the Renault Scenic! Other details that could be taken for granted are features that not all vehicles posses and I am left wondering why; Things like the interior lights work if the key isn?t in the ignition, the radio works not only when the engine is running. The doors lock automatically, the sunvisor mirrors and their excellent lights, the remote door locking works from over 200' away and through walls. Another feature common on cars nowadays are the remote controls for the stereo, the Renault's still ahead of even much newer designs for their ease of use.
Some annoying features too. The fog lights can be easily and accidentally switched on when indicating, just a firmer switch would solve this fault. The 'one' touch window operation is fiddly and often seems not to work but the truth being you probably haven't pressed the switch for long enough. There is no windscreen washer level low warning light on the dash. The hazard warning light switch is in a ridiculous position out of normal reach of the driver and next to a button exactly the same shape which operates the locking/unlocking of the doors.
Renault will be pulling the plug on the RX4 very soon without a replacement; the Kangoo trekka seems soon to be their only 4wd. There are rumours that Renault is jointly developing an SUV with Nissan however.
The motoring presses have slated the RX4 from the beginning yet, as in my first report, it is the only vehicle that fulfilled most of my criteria. My expectaions of the RX4 have generally been exceeded in many areas during the first 15 months. While my circumstances aren't unique, they are unusual and I can understand a lot of the slating from the press. However, there are some factors that still remain today even with newcomers like the
very fine Kia Sedona , (in my opinion) which holds the RX4 above the other SUVs. The spacious interior, comfortable, sure-footed ride and its excellent engine.
In summing up, I want to engage the real problem with the RX4, Renault themselves. What could have been a glowing report on a very capable vehicle is ending up as an unhappy one. My advice at the moment would be to steer clear of Renault altogether, yet this may not be the case if Renault prove otherwise. Dealing with their uncourteous, downright rude and argumentative staff (at several dealerships/ main dealers)(yes, argumentative too.) has been a stressful experience. I have lost my trust in them and I have had sleepless nights as a result. If compared to some problems I've read about concerning car dealership problems you could think my niggles seem trivial, yet they do cause stress and worry and the wish that you had never clapped eyes on the product. So long as I don't have to deal with Renault I am pleased with RX4; it is an incredibly capable machine for driving on poor quality roads. The RX4's build quality has been excellent on my example, as have the quality of materials used for its interior. With the vehicles overall reliability good too.
Update Novemember 2006
Got shot of the RX4 last December ( 12/2005 )
Following my 40,000mile report written above i managed to drive another 60,000 miles with the odeometer reading 99,000 miles the last time I saw it.
It was not a happy 22months.
I will keep this update short as its been nearly a year since I have enjoyed nice long sleeps at night! ....yes it was that bad.
I have honestly lost count of the number of times it left me stranded.......breaking down sometimes 2 or 3 times a month. Different faults but a diabolical experience. The main mechanical failings have included the gearbox breaking..........and I mean breaking including the casing. The exhaust fell off 3 or 4 times. Under the bonnet, theres a exhaust regulating valve ( egr ) ...........and when that goes, the car doesn't...and thats gone 3 times. The steering arms broke along with various other front suspension components ( and I don't drive off road other than gravel tracks etc ) . The propshaft broke.
........And so on , theres much, much more, but it just gets boring!!
However, the brake pads and discs are dangerous, they failed about every 9000 miles ..And renault service is dire, on one occasion the rx4 had to be recovered to the garage with brake failure, I was told upon picking up the vehicle the pads and discs had been replaced.....100miles up the road one of the discs broke .....no, they hadn't replaced the discs, just the pads.
I will never own another renault as you could guess. ( though the RX4's ride and poise is exemplary, and its spacious but that doesn't make up for the miserable all-round renault experience I've endured ) - I'm sincerely
of the opinion that almost all of the Renault RX4's mechanical faults are entirely due to the extremely poor standard of servicing. Properly serviced I doubt the vehicle would have broken down.
The only silver lining was the experience I gained in driving loan 4x4's whilst the renault was being repaired.
of the last 22 months the RX4 spent 4 months in total being repaired....and when it left it was whistleing like a banshee.......... the turbo was about to blow.
Not all car manufacturers are so bad, I have been driving a VW 4x4 for the last year and without a single glitch.