2011 Renault Safrane 3.5 V6

The Good:
– Very quiet ride
– Cabin quality and features
– Smooth suspension tuning
The Bad:
– Lacks top-end grunt
– Soft brake pedal feel
– Some odd button placements

We liked the previous Renault Safrane so much that we put it on our recommended list. It wasn’t that it was fast, or sporty, or even stylish. We just appreciated the fact that it was a traditional comfort-cruiser rather than yet another wannabe sports sedan, and a throwback to the days when affordable midsize sedans were, you know, affordable. We even ended up buying one as a family conveyance to replace our legendary 15-year-old Toyota Corolla. Of course now, there is a new Safrane for 2011.

The Safrane now styled much more in tune with its competitors, with upscale chrome elements and fancier alloys, though not as flamboyant as its Korean rivals. The Safrane itself is built in Korea, but looks a lot more French now than the previous rebadged Nissan design.

The interior in our test car, a top-spec 3.5-litre model, was very “nice” to say the least. The shapes are unique and the colours are inviting, with meaty soft-touch materials on the upper dash and doors, with padded leatherette door inserts and armrests. There’s also some obligatory hard plastics, fake wood and faux metal trim, but it all looks so good that you’d think this cabin belongs in an Audi.

Still based on the same platform as the previous version, cabin space is expectedly good, though there’s maybe just a tad less rear legroom than in a Toyota Camry. The boot is huge though, with the lid’s goose-neck hinges cleanly hidden away so as not to crush your luggage. Inside, the practicality continues with door pockets, an armrest cubby and four hideaway cup-holders.

Our Safrane was loaded to the hilt with gadgets, including some we never expected in this segment. Alongside the usual CD stereo with decent speakers, keyless start, HID headlights with foglamps, and powered front seats, the Safrane comes with options such as an ioniser to clear the air of germs, as well as a fragrance dispenser! On top of that, there is an optional massage function for the driver’s seat that works better than ones in a Bentley. Alongside these, there are features such as a panoramic glass roof, working Bluetooth phone, USB/AUX ports, rear parking sensors, front and side airbags, pull-up sunshades for the rear windows, cruise control and power-folding mirrors. The dual-zone a/c works well enough, and has rear vents with controls too. The ergonomics are a bit weird though, with the cruise button next to the shifter and various other buttons on a thick stalk behind the wheel, typical of French-designed cars.

We got the 3.5-litre V6 version for review, an engine taken right from the previous-generation Nissan Altima, so it makes 237 hp at 6000 rpm and 330 Nm of torque at 4200 rpm. The smooth 6-speed manually-shiftable automatic is seemingly tuned for economy, so it likes to stay in the higher gears. Power is more than adequate, even allowing wheelspin on take-off with traction control off. But it is obviously nowhere near as powerful as other V6 sedans in this segment. We timed its 0-100 kph run at 8.9 seconds during September weather. Our fuel economy was more agreeable, at 12.6 litres/100 km.

The Safrane still retains its smooth suspension tuning and quiet ride, even though the low-profile tyres can make it feel a bit firm on some surfaces. The tight initial gearing makes the car jump quickly off the line, making it a good city cruiser, but there isn’t much kick left beyond 50 kph. Also, the throttle response is a bit delayed, something we’re see a lot in cars with drive-by-wire accelerator pedals. In contrast, the older model was smooth on all surfaces and offered instant response to inputs, as it had no pretensions of being anything fancier.

The handling is acceptably decent, with noticeable body roll but without the type of awkward rebounds that plagues the outgoing Toyota Camry. The 225-width tyres offer better-than-average grip, with safe understeer following. The steering is light at low speeds, and it firms up with speed, but offers only a little feedback. The ABS-assisted disc brakes seems adequate for hard stops, but the pedal feel is soft.

To sum up, the new Safrane certainly is a better car than before, and offers certain features that even much pricier cars don’t have. It deviates from the previous model, which is expected, considering this is now purely a Renault design, but it fulfils its aim in giving off a European vibe, something the old Japanese-designed version did not bother with. Even if still built in Korea, this new one is much closer to being a true Renault.

Price Range:
Dh 99,000-105,000

Current Model Introduced in:
2011

Body Styles:
4-door sedan

Engines:
3.5L 237 hp V6 / 330 Nm

Transmissions:
6-speed automatic

Setup:
Front-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: independent

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
1615 kg

Length:
4887 mm

Wheelbase:
2762 mm

Top Speed:
234 kph

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
8.9 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
12.6 litres/100km

14 comments to 2011 Renault Safrane 3.5 V6

  • kaiz83

    3.5L 237 hp V6 turbo / 330 Nm ?? is that correct?

  • Nikhil Sadanand

    It would ahve been great if it had a navigation screen or somthing similar to the Ford My Touch stuff for this price…that option would have definetly taken this car to the next level!!! :D

    • Abdulla

      hi,
      it has GPS built in by TOM TOM,
      i just checked the car in Al MAsood yesterday
      it’s really worthy car, comparing the price and features it’s the best in it’s class.

      card intry
      mouse control for the color screen.
      photo + SD + AUX + USB all controlled by the idrive mouse same as the BMW. *(similar )
      so paying 110000 AED is worthy
      large seating for rear passengers.
      I liked
      only small negative pint is:
      the color screen is a bit small but as avarage car with it’s price much worthy than Camary, altima, even Maxima.

      people always consider re-sale value which in UAE market it’s always toyota and nissan wins.

      i loved the car and planning to buy it

  • Riaz

    Hi guys, i bgt this reno safrane basic option with cruise control, speed limiter and all in October. I liked the whole as a car but m facing with a major prob- steering wheel is very very tight, as if we are driving ambassador in india. Initially, it was very much tight i was having severe pain in ma arms after driving, so i got a doubt and checked and manual and surprised to c that tyre pressure to be maintained at 32 whereas it was 37. Later on, it was manageable with d tyre pressure of 32….again after few days, now while moving, steering is free but wen in stationary it s very tight. I checked with the service center yest even they are unable to detect the defect and asked to keep the car in the center for 2 days to check the defect and i dont want them to experiment on ma car. Can sme one plz help me out….ma email ID is city.burdubai@gmail.com,

    • Abdulla

      i would like to help but no clue for your problem,
      keep following with service center till you get response…

      so you bought the car is it worthy ?

  • Kiyoshi Manabe

    Her woolly acceleration and lack of personality indicate the Renault company’s indifference to take into fierce medium-large sedan market.
    I do choice the Peugeot 508 over this Renault Safrane,modern yet no flair!

  • G D Marshall

    I bought one in February 2011, 3.5 litre as was tested. It did not come with satnav in 2011 and I don’t miss it at all. After 45,000kms I am very happy with it. It is excellent for long trips, very comfortable and I have regular back seat passengers (adults, and have had numerous favourable comments on the space and comfort. Very quiet and I seldom have felt for a lack of power. Reliability has been excellent with one issue, creaking sub-frame, and that was resolved without hassle by the dealer. I get much better mileage than the tester did at 9.5l/100km

  • Shah

    Hi Every body.

    I got this car 2014 model,2 liter engine with full option.

    Excellent car, very smooth – no road noise even at high speed.

    Very much satisfied with this car,interms of good fuel economy & travel, driving pleasure.

    Overall a very good for middle class family.

  • nadeem khan

    Dear mr.mushfiq, i am from saudi and wishes your review and sugesstion as well for safarne 2011 and 2012 model sfarance. can u suggest whether it worth buying choosing between altima and mazda 6, pls reply on my mail will be greatful considering the maintenence and driving aspect.

  • anwar

    my car renault safrane model”2011″ my question “Light in front of me to my car where dust or how to solve the problem repaired how kindly send me how to clean them

  • Shah

    Maintenance of this car is not much required, the parts are more affordable. Service to be done for every 10,000 Kilometers, with an reasonable cost.

    Its very smooth, I will rate this car more than Honda – Accord, Equivalent to Volvo s60. Really worth buying it.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>