Long-term update: 2009 Renault Safrane V6
There isn’t much to report on our 2009 Renault Safrane, the car that we’ve owned from new, and driven by my father. It was my top pick for a reliable car to replace his old 1997 Toyota Corolla. And so far, my decision is proving to be right.
After one-and-a-half years of ownership, our Safrane hit the 20,000-km mark, so we took it in for service last month. Indeed, the extended 10k intervals means this is only the third time we’ve been in for service. This time, we went to the dedicated Renault service centre which opened recently in Dubai. Finally, Renault owners don’t have to deal with the rush of Tiidas and Altimas at the other joint Nissan-Renault centre.
This was what we’d call a “not-so-major” service, so it cost Dhs 775 and 60 fils. Apparently the a/c filter was changed as part of the cost. We again pointed out the loose rubber on the lower edge of the driver’s door, but instead of replacing the clip, they took the cheap route and simply stuck it on tight with glue.
Minor issues with the service centre included no free parking for visitors out front as it was all a paid RTA zone. Also, it took ages to pay the bill because the cashier disappeared into the toilet for more than 10 minutes with no one to take over his duties! Other than that, there are now dedicated service advisors with tables so you can sit and discuss your issues, unlike at the Nissan centre where you remain standing at a counter.
There was even a red Renault Sport Clio displayed inside the lobby, which briefly tempted us to add another Renault to our long-term fleet.
The garage out back seemed crammed with cars, but there was no real crowd out front, with most of the RTA parking spaces empty. But it depends on your luck whether taxis are on standby outside, for you to use the provided Dhs 20 taxi voucher. When we dropped off the car, there were no taxis. When we were picking up our car, there were a couple of cabs waiting.
Our Safrane continues to be the best Toyota Camry alternative we’ve ever driven, and we believe anyone looking for a reliable cheap commuter car will do well to pick up a low-mileage example while they’re still around in the used market.
Original Mileage When Bought: 110 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 20,700 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 9.2 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 775
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 1185