So we bought a 2009 Renault Safrane V6
So we finally put our money where our mouth is and bought a car that we recommended as an Editor’s Choice more than a year ago. That car happened to be the 2009 Renault Safrane V6, a midsize sedan that is badged as a French Renault, built by Korean Samsung, and designed by Japanese Nissan. That last bit was crucial in coming to our decision, for the Safrane shares a platform with the Altima and the Maxima, with various key components that are purely Nissan items. As luck would have it, the Safrane is not a resounding success, which means buyers can pick up brand new 2009 leftovers at nicely-reduced prices straight from the dealer.
As evidenced by this shot of our just-purchased Safrane V6 at the Nissan-Renault dealer’s pre-owned showroom, most Renault models don’t sell very well in the UAE. If anyone has a hankering for a brand new 2009 Megane 2.0 hatchback, there is a huge choice of cars sitting there. Choices among the Safrane V6 models were less so, as there were only two black ones available, along with a few more 4-cylinder models in various colours.
Technically, this car was purchased by my father for his daily commute, who will continue to work past retirement for the next couple of years. His 1997 Toyota Corolla, which he bought new in the same year he bought me my first computer, gave a few hiccups and he didn’t want any breakdowns that’d lead to missing work, the dedicated worker that he is.
So we needed something reliable, not too expensive, economical and brand new. I told him to upgrade to a midsize because econo-compact cars still drive like econo-compact cars, even in this day and age. Every midsize sedan I’ve tested nowadays rides like a luxury car. At a budget of Dhs 60,000, we originally started looking at used Nissan Altimas but quickly gave up after realising that dropping that much money on a car with tiny dents on the body and little tears on the seats would drive my nitpicky father crazy.
We then moved on to the Safrane at the same showroom. I remembered from my earlier test that the 2.3-litre V6-equipped Safrane drives like a luxury car, has the fuel economy of a compact car, has the initial kick of a V6 car, and has the exclusivity of a European car. It also has better build quality than any American car, has as much space as any Japanese midsize car, and cost as much as a European compact car (with the leftover discount of course). Styling is irrelevant for conservative commuters, and especially lifelong Toyota owners, but my father actually liked the design too.
In all honesty, I probably could’ve gotten a further discount using my media connections, as I’ve heard from other journalists who quietly buy discounted new cars. But it seemed like a hassle after I contacted Nissan’s PR people, and the price was decent enough anyway. Right now I’m hounding Renault’s management to give me a free 5-year extended warranty as a sign of faith in their product, as they’ve cut down my warranty to only 2½ years for being an “old” car. So far, I haven’t heard back after almost a month and 1200 km. I am putting a lot of faith in this car’s reliability based on its Nissan underpinnings, but even I have my doubts. Just look at Toyota nowadays.