Episode 176. Renault Avantime. MFZ 3927. (Part 5).

After my chat with the Avantime fan over a burger at Burger King a couple of weeks ago I pretty much thought that I'd never hear from him again.

WRONG!! Oh so wrong. Before the week was out I'd had a couple of texts asking me if I would budge on the price. I wouldn't, and so I put forward an idea to him that was suggested to me, and that was that I would keep the Avantime for a couple more months, this would give him time to save up and set aside the readies, and me time enough to enjoy it. He didn't seem all that keen on that idea, as he felt that at some point someone might offer me more money than him, and I would sell it to the other fella. So I continued that for reassurance, if he would like to give me a small deposit, and then he's invested in, and I have a deal with him so I couldn't sell it to anyone else. Therefore he would know that it will come to him a couple of months down the road. He wasn't that interested in that either. It seemed to me that he wanted it, and he wanted it as soon as possible.

A couple of days before Christmas I get this phone call from the fella asking if it would be possible to come and have a proper look on Chrsitmas eve? Christmas eve!!? How was I supposed to get all my shopping done if I'm showing someone the Avantime? I thought about it for a little while and decided that perhaps this year I'd get it all done early, on Christmas eve eve! I told him that I could meet him on Christmas eve, and gave him the directions to BelongaClint.

10:00hrs on Christmas eve he was banging on my door! Of course, as there was nowhere to park the previous night when I got home the Avantime wasn't outside, and he seemed a bit concerend that I'd already sold it. I re-assured him I still had it, and it was just around the corner. Before we even went to look at it he hit me with another offer, and that was for £1000, and his wifes car!! His wife piped up, "And what am I supposed to drive?" To which my wife answered, "I hear ya, my husbands sold my car two or three times now while I've been at work without even consulting me!" There then was a bit of too-ing and fro-ing with my wife, his wife, and the perspective new owner of the Avantime. In the end he convinced his own wife that she could have his Vel Satis, however, she was less than happy about that! So I said, well, lets not get ahead of ourselves yet, I don't even know what you're driving! But knowing that he was some sort of Renault fan I was hoping secretly to myself for something like a Fuego, Twingo, 25, or even a Megane Cc. So leaving my wife and his wife to natter about how their husbands sell their cars out from under them, we headed out into the street to see just what I was being offered...

Well that's not a Renault at all! That would be a Peugeot 1007. I'll be honest, I do quite fancy one of these. They're probably nothing special, but I like the fancy sliding doors that open in Star Trek fashion at the touch of a button! He pushed the button and the doors slid back, in my mind I was a drooling moron saying "cooooool" Atleast, I hope I was only doing that in my mind! We got in and went for a bit of a drive, and to go and find the Avantime. By the time we'd reached the Avantime I was pretty sure I wanted it, but I had no idea if the 1007 was worth what he thought it was worth. We chatted about both cars for a while, and in the end I said that as much as I like the 1007, it wasn't for me at this point in time. So I would need the cash for the Avantime, and his wife wouldn't be giving him a hard time over Christmas for selling her car! He agreed, and actually on second thoughts, this was probably the best idea. So, we headed back to BelongaClint to do the paperwork, and he became the new owner of the Avantime! I think it's pretty safe to say that his wife was happy she still had her car when they went home, even if it did mean that he had to spend an extra £500 more than he had wanted to originally pay. But...

Away it goes! I'm not thrilled to be honest, and I'm still kinda kicking myself for not having the 1007. But it probably saved him from being stabbed in the chest with a carving knife over the Christmas turkey, and no doubt at some point I'll find my own 1007. I also could've done with a couple more months of motoring in it, but I thought for the sake of an easy sale, it might be best to let it go.

So what can I tell you about it?

Well, lets start with those doors! To be fair, with the exception of the huge amount of un-interuppted side glass, those doors are the first thing you notice, and they are massive! By all accounts those doors supposedly weighed 123 lb (or if you're younger than me, 56 kilos) each, and swing on cantilevered hinges with the weighty momentum of an opening vault. This meant that whenever I parked the Avantime facing up the hill I felt that there was a very good chance that the door’s own weight would keep it shut, and I’d be trapped! This never happened, but the thought was always in the back of my mind, but in reality, they opened quite easily no matter which way the Avantime pointed on the hill.

This was no doubt down to the Avantimes double kinematic hinge system. This was basically a double parallel opening hinge system that opened the door out, and slightly forward when you opened them. This maximized access with minimal outswing of the doors meaning that you could easily get in and out no matter where you parked, even in carparks with other cars parked beside you. It also meant that rear seat passengers could easily get in and out without the front seat passengers having to get out to let them in.

Once you were inside it was a pretty nice place to be. The cabin, because of the amount of glass felt light and airy, and the seats were big, and comfy. It was almost like riding around in you favourite armchair.

In the back my two little Monsters thought they had landed in the lap of luxury too. Again, not as luxurious as say a Jaguar, Mercedes, or Lexus, but pretty nice. The seats, much like the front ones were big, and comfy, and my two little Monsters had more than enough legroom. But better yet, they could sit far enough apart that they didn't feel the constant need to poke at each other while we were driving along when they were bored. Which for me was a bonus as I didn't have to listen to Mrs Clint constantly squaking at the kids to cut it out as we drove along the road. To be fair I find Mrs Clints yelling far more distracting than the noise the kids are making, mostly because when she turns to them and screams "Cut it out you pair!" Her mouth is pretty much facing my left ear, and so I get more of the brunt of it than the Monsters do! It's a wonder I'm not already deaf!

Mechanically it was pretty good. Despite only being a 2.0litre petrol engine, it really did have more than enough power to waft this thing down the road fairly effortlessly. One thing I did struggle with however was the six speed gearbox. There was nothing wrong with it, the problem was all me, for some reason I always forgot to put it into sixth! I probably used gallons more fuel that I needed to do, simply because I'd get to fifth, and just leave it there! I guess I probably did that back in the day when cars started to have five gears, I'd probably only use the first four. But I got used to that in the end, and no doubt eventually I would've been selecting sixth on this if I'd have kept it long enough. However, despite me forgetting more times than not to put it into sixth, I still seemed to be able to acheive mid twenty miles per gallon, infact working it out, it would appear that I was getting just under 27 miles per gallon, which I guess isn't too bad for such a big car, with a comparatively small engine.

The boot, as you'd expect for vehicle such as this was pretty roomy. My feeling was that at some point this would've have a false floor which lifted out to open up to this floor, perhaps for smuggling. But for whatever reason this false floor was missing from mine. But it just made it bigger, and it was big enough to fit four 16" alloy wheels in it the other week, and I didn't even need to drop the seats down!

Lastly, would I have another one? Well, never say never, but probably not. It's a cool car in my mind, but my Friend wouldn't set foot in it, and under no circumstaces would he let his kids in it. This is his reasoning behind this. He said that when the Avantime was being tested for safety he was working on that project, and on impact, they folded up really bad even at slow speeds. The reason this happened was unsurprisingly perhaps because of the amount of glass in the body, and the lack of pillars. He said that as he remembered both the Espace, and the Vel Satis did really well, but the Avantime was not good at all. He went on to say that it was so bad that Renault came and removed all the cars they used, and removed their findings on it as well. I must admit this did put some concerns in my mind, and I actually went looking to find out what I could about the Avantimes crash test rating, and I found nothing! There must be something out there on the internet somewhere, but I didn't find it. I did find the Espace, and Vel Satis' ratings, and even films of them being crash tested, but nothing at all on the Avantime. It does seem strange that Renault would do such a thing, but they do seem to have a very good euro NCAP rating on their cars and perhaps they didn't want, or need this blot on their good record. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Avantime was a short lived model? I dunno, and sadly I have no proof either way.

But what I did say to my friend was that we all ride around in old and classic cars all the time, and none of then have euro NCAP ratings either, to which he agreed, and admitted that he had never thought of it that way. Although he did go on to say that when we do, we're generally not using them all day every day and charging up and down the motorway in them. Which I think is also a fair point. So using them like a classic, for high days and holidays is probably the best way forward if you're an Avantime owner. And to be fair, with the samll number that were produced originally, and the age of them, they're probably well on their way to being regarded as a classic car anyway. But even if you treated it, and considered it to be a classic car, would I ever have one again? Still probably not. I've scratched that itch now really, although I could possibly be tempted by a light metallic green one if it was really cheap, but apart from that, no. I liked the Avantime, it's a cool car in my eyes, and looks fantastic to me as well, but I've had one now, it's in my back catalogue, it's checked off the list, and it's done! There's still loads of cars on my 'want list', and perhaps it's now time to start looking for a 1007!