Oh dear. Here’s a small lesson I’ve learned during my short period of Renault Avantime ownership – be careful opening the door when the weather’s icy. Those fantastic frameless side windows might be wonderful when they’re all rolled down and you’re posing down the Côte d’Azur, but in a chilly Northamptonshire, they can be a bit fo a pain in the neck.
Why? Well, like a MINI or BMW 8-Series, the frameless windows are superbly sealed, and in order to be so, the glass drops a centimetre or so whenever the door handle is pulled. The idea is that opening and closing are a lot easier if you’re not wrestling with glass and sealing. It’s elegant, and works well – as long as it’s not too cold.
Like this morning. I pulled the handle, but the window didn’t drop, making opening the door a little on the tricky side. And more worryingly, when the door was closed again, it ended up looking like the image above. It’s an amiable eccentricity for someone like me, who paid £1800 for the car or a whim, but can you imagine the effect it might have had on one of it’s original customers back in 2003?
The again, it doesn’t get quite as cold and icy in Cannes as it does in Northamptonshire…
But despite this wobble, I really do like the Avantime. It’s very rewarding to drive – in a relaxing kind of way – and I absolutely love the open plan interior. I’ve never owned a car with so many cubby holes in it! I also love the cleverness of the thing – the extensive use of aluminium in its spaceframe construction (although it’s not especially light at 1650kg), the wonderful double-folding doors, and the extensive use of glass.
Wonder if I’ll feel the same way in a few months time, after we emerge from another cold winter.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.