Renault Vel Satis
|Production||2002–2009 (62,201 built)|
|Assembly||Sandouville, France (Sandouville Renault Factory)|
|Body style||5-door hatchback|
2.0 T I4
2.0 dCi I4
2.2 dCi I4
3.0 dCi V6
|Length||4,860 mm (191.3 in)|
|Width||1,860 mm (73.2 in)|
|Height||1,580 mm (62.2 in)|
|Curb weight||1,735 kg (3,830 lb)|
The Renault Vel Satis was an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Renault, launched at the 2001 Geneva Motorshow to replace the already-discontinued Safrane. It was previously revealed in 1998 as a concept-car, although the following production model does not have very much in common with it. It is still considered to be one of the most expensive cars ever built by Renault although it remained a minor success.
The name Vel Satis is a composite of elements of the words Velocity and Satisfaction. A specially prepared Vel Satis was used by the President of France until 2009. The car is also Renault's flagship car.
The Vel Satis is distinguished by its unusual height (13 cm higher than a Safrane), which benefits interior space but results in proportions some viewed as being ungainly. In September 2002, CAR magazine described it as "ugly and very French." Design commentator Stephen Bayley decided that the problem with the car was that it was "not ugly enough." Renault's design chief Patrick Le Quement explained that the car was intended to have physical presence rather than aspiring to classical elegance which Audi, for example, did well enough. Renault's stated intention was to target less conformist, selective modern customers who were identified as "distancing themselves from the conventional saloon."  The Vel Satis was an attempt to redefine the prestige car in French terms.
It had a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating and was available with a variety of engines:
- 2.0 T 16-valve 4-cylinder
- 3.5 24-valve V6-cylinder
- 2.0 dCi 16-valve 4-cylinder
- 2.2 dCi 16-valve 4-cylinder
- 3.0 dCi 24-valve V6-cylinder
Reviews of the car were critical of its ride and its handling but noted the car was quiet under most conditions. "The gearbox is prone to considerable hunting in its quest to deliver power, at which point engine noise intrudes more than anticipated, and the change itself is by no means the smoothest in the class." The reviewer noted that the V6 diesel engine was better suited to the car's "lounge lizard pretensions" but that "all of which conspires to make the car's ride quality even more of a disappointment." The ride quality was described as feeling "over-tough at pottering speeds, but displays a tendency to disintegrate into chop and judder when confronted with anything other than the smoothest of surfaces." 
Renault UK decided not to develop a right-hand-drive version of the facelifted 2005 year model Vel Satis, as sales of the model had been poor in the United Kingdom since launch. Although 3,500 sales were predicted, only a third of these were achieved.
This came only two years after the Avantime coupé/MPV, which was equally ambitious in its design, was discontinued by Renault.
The 2006 model year Vel Satis features a reprofiled front grille section with less chrome, giving it an appearance similar to more recent concept cars from the brand.
Renault cancelled the Vel Satis production on August 27, 2009. The newly-revealed 2011 Renault Latitude is considered a replacement in Europe and other nations because of its similar dimensions and class to the Vel Satis.
- Renault Concepts, Retrieved October 2011
- CAR magazine, Sept 2002
- CAR Magazine, Sept 2002
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Renault Vel Satis|
- Renault Vel Satis - Concept Car Database
- Vel-Satis.org (UK site by Vel Satis owners, for Vel Satis owners - news, articles, technical, blog and forum)
|« previous — Renault car timeline, 1980s–present|
|City car||4||Twingo I||Twingo II|
|Supermini||5 / 7||Super 5||Clio Symbol||Symbol II|
|Clio I||Clio II||Clio III||Clio IV|
|Small family car||14||9 / 11||19||Fluence|
|Alliance / Encore||Mégane I||Mégane II||Mégane III|
|Large family car||18||21 / Medallion||Laguna I||Laguna II||Laguna III|
|Executive car||20 / 30||25||Safrane||Vel Satis||Latitude|
|LAV||Express||Kangoo I||Kangoo II|
|Compact MPV||Scénic I||Scénic II||Scénic III|
|Large MPV||Espace I||Espace II||Espace III||Espace IV|
|Van||Trafic I||Trafic II|
|Master I||Master II||Master III|