Renault Avantime: a gorgeous curse?

Published: 03 June 2008

My commute to work is very dull, a steady 30mph for three miles. Not particularly interesting, and not particularly fun. Except that halfway along is an unassuming used-car dealership. Every morning I pass it, hoping there’s something new there, something to get me excited. There inevitably isn’t, just various, anonymous repmobiles.

But this morning, running slightly late, I glanced a sudden flash of a distinctive blue hue. There, buried at the back, was a Renault Avantime. And for just £4995. Sub-£5k for a future classic? Bargain!

I love the Avantime. When it was launched back in 2001 I thought the idea of a two-door MPV was brilliant. Unfortunately few real buyers did, and the Avantime flopped. Spectacularly.

Regrettably for Renault, the bravado it had when launching the car was soon lost. When production ceased, so did the company’s bold approach to product planning.

The more timid Renault has produced the current Twingo, Laguna and Koleos. We’ve been promised these are the last generation of dull Renaults, and that the new Megane will see La Regie back on form. I hope Renault is right, because otherwise the best-looking car it has ever made might just have crippled its design for years to come.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy