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The Vel Satis is distinguished by its unusual height, which benefits interior space but results in rather ungainly proportions. It has a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating and is available with a variety of engines:
* 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged 2.0-liter
* Renault-sourced 24-valve, 3.5-liter V6 (* 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 2.2-liter direct-injection turbodiesel
* Isuzu-sourced 24-valve 3.0-liter direct-injection turbodiesel
The Vel Satis shares its "platform" (chassis, powertrain, assembly process) with the Laguna and Espace IV and is produced on the same assembly line in Sandouville, France.
In October 2004, while overtaking a lorry at 130 km/h (81 mph) under cruise control, an automatic 3.0 Diesel Vel Satis allegedly accelerated on its own to over 190 km/h (120 mph) on a section of the Autoroute A71 freeway (motorway) in central France, and remained at that speed for over an hour in spite of the drivers' alleged efforts to stop it. The police, alerted by a cell phone call from the driver, cleared the freeway ahead of the car and tracked it until it finally stopped near a toll booth. According to the driver, the incident happened due to a faulty cruise control system, in conjunction with the electronic card that replaces the conventional ignition key and makes it impossible to start or stop the engine without electronic intermediates.
Renault immediately investigated the car and found no faults with it, even though a random cause such as electronic interference from an outside source (in this case, the overtaken lorry), while highly improbable, cannot fully be ruled out. Repeated tests under judicial supervision with this car and others of the same model have proven that the driver can always override the cruise control and bring the car to a stop by at least two independent means even if the conventional method of applying the brakes to disengage the cruise control fails:
* move the automatic transmission selector from Drive to Neutral
* press the cruise control's on/off button five times in rapid sequence, as instructed by the car's user manual
In view of these results, Renault has taken legal action against the driver for libel.
In March 2005, Renault UK decided not to develop a right-hand drive version of the facelifted Vel Satis, as sales of the model had been poor in the United Kingdom since launch. Although 3,500 sales predicted, only a third of these were achieved.
This came only two years after the Avantime coupé/MPV was discontinued by Renault, which was equally as ambitious in its design.
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.
View also: Renault Fluence - Renault Clio - Renault F1 - Renault Mégane - Renault Ondelios - Renault Safrane - Renault Twingo - Renault Laguna - Renault Altica - Renault Egeus - Renault Kangoo - Renault Koleos - Renault Nepta
Check out the Renault Vel Satis wallpapers and Renault Vel Satis Pictures (pics) collection below: