Only the French would produce something as outlandish as the Avantime - a two-door coupé with the profile and dimensions of a full-sized MPV. However, while Renault should be applauded for being so bold, it turned out to be a sales disaster; with a near-£30,000 price tag, buyers instead flocked to their local Audi, BMW or Mercedes dealer to buy a posh saloon. It's not hard to see why, if you look independently at the Avantime; its packaging is hopelessly flawed, the interior plastics are shocking and let's face it - buyers in this segment are notoriously conservative. But the Avantime is guaranteed to attain classic status - there's even an owners' club already.
4/02: The Avantime is introduced with a choice of just two models; the 2.0T Dynamique or the 3.0 V6 24v Privilege. Both are high-spec models with plenty of standard equipment.
Renault Avantime (2002-2003) Checklist
- Those doors are big and heavy, which is why they can drop on their hinges.
- Automatic transmissions can be unreliable, as the gearbox's cooler is mounted in the radiator. If the cooler fractures (which it can), the coolant gets into the transmission and wrecks it.
- Parking sensors can be unreliable.
- The power steering can fail; check there are no heavy spots.
- The headlining can sag, especially towards the rear, over the luggage bay.
- Equipment levels
We Don't Like
- No diesels
- Interior packaging
- Interior plastics