1979 Renault 14Review
Twelve Years With A R14 —
I bought the R14GTL new in August 1979. It was amazingly comfortable and had a very smooth, though not particularly quiet engine. Initial impressions were very good. Nothing went wrong with it and the paint finish and upholstery were excellent by the standards of the time. We liked the very deep side windows and we had a glass sunroof fitted, which felt very flashy at the time. A minor accident, which didn't even move the strong plastic bumper, must have stretched the seals between the inner wing and the rear wheelarch, which rusted through within 2 years of the incident. Other rust spots appeared in the doors and front wings when the car was about seven years old, but we had them all sorted out quite cheaply. Unfortunately, at under 60,000 miles, the gearbox failed, a common problem, we were told and replacement would cost as much as the car was worth. Subsequently, we found a second-hand box and had that fitted, so the car continued in daily use until it was 12 years old, when we sold it locally. We continued to see it around, still smart for several more years. During the time we had it, we also ran an Allegro, an Escort, a Sierra and a Peugeot 405. None of them equalled the R14's amazing ride comfort or refined noise. Our babies' travel cots fitted in the R14 boot more easily than in the much bigger Sierra. By modern standards, the understeer was severe and the brakes over-sensitive but it served us well. Since it was mainly used as for short errands in the end, my wife replaced it with a Fiat Uno and suddenly realised how the handling of the R14 had been left befhind. Later though, we bought another Renault, a Scenic, which is much more solid but which still can't equal the comfort and character of the old R14.
Pros: Extreme comfort, smooth engine. Beautiful velour upholstery.
Cons: Passenger door could not be locked/unlocked from inside. Rust. Gearbox failure.
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