The 2010 Renault Safrane
Renault's recent decision to revive the Safrane nameplate for some Persian Gulf states means that there is a new, rather odd choice in the luxury market. But is it any good? Well, they say that 65 million Frenchmen cannot be wrong. As I drove through crowded streets, I came to realize why many of the world's top designers and fashion houses are French, if anything, just by the fact that their creations attract a great deal of attention. A blend of sophistication and sport styling, Renault's French background is apparent in the new Safrane.
Stark comfort :
Drawing unexpected attention on the highway and getting caught in mid-day traffic isn't my idea of having fun, and so I plugged in my USB and switched on the music system. The 7-speaker audio can uplift your spirits from normal to chill out mode - depending on the kind of music you have chosen to play. Given the fact that there is ample cabin space, its a perfect vehicle to tuck your family in and head for a long drive. Or perhaps head for the cinema with your college buddies. Given the extreme heat outside, the presence of rear AC vents can prove to be a blessing to the rear passengers. The seats are comfortable and a splash of high quality wood across the dashboard reinforces the feeling of luxury.
Top drawer Engine :
The fact that a Renault/Nissan engine lies beneath the hood speaks for itself. Safrane comes in three variants, PE 2.0, SE 2.3 and the range topper we tested, the LE 2.3. Two engines are offered a 2.0-litre four cylinder with 143hp and a 2.3-litre V6 with 170hp. Gearboxes are a four-speed auto for the smaller engine, with a five-speed Tiptronic for the V6. Thanks to the two extra cylinders, I had the assurance that power was available, whenever I needed it.
The Safer side :
This car also earns kudos for its safety features, thanks to the 6-air bags that come standard on all Safrane models. The Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) Antilock Brake System (ABS) that channels out the brake force in harmony with the traction available to it, guides the car to a perfect and safe stop. The rear parking sensors and self adjusting mirrors make reversing an incident free experience.
On the Road :
The engine was well muffled and quiet throughout the drive. When I realized that it was time to head back to the showroom, I just let the Safrane do the job for me, as I knew that behind all the sophistication and tranquillity is a modest V6 that is up to the task. The suspension understands the situation well and stiffens up to cornering at high speeds. At the end of the day, the Safrane feels like a proper luxury car.