You’d think the Renault Latitude was a European car, and you’d be wrong. You’d think it was built by Renault, and you’d be wrong for the second time. You’d think it was at least built by a car company, and you’d be wrong for the third time. Renault Latitude, the middle child of Renault boats.
I could say the Renault Latitude is just a luxury Laguna III and I could go home with that. In fact, I think that’s what I’m going to do.
Why isn’t it made by a car manufacturer?
Like Mr. WorldWide, Renault Latitude is actually made in collaboration with Samsung. In fact, the Renault Latitude is better known in Korea as the Renault Samsung SM5. Of course, the Korean version is very different from what we Europeans got and equally different from what the Mexicans and Arabs got (there it’s called Renault Safrane, in memory of the Renault barge of the 80s). Well, only the name and the available engines differ, otherwise, they are the same.
What did we Europeans get?
In 2011? Rebecca Black sings “Friday” and everyone was happy on Friday and depressed on Monday, Adele sings “Rolling in the Deep”, Bin Laden and Gadaffi leave this world and Japan had an earthquake with a tsunami.
As for the Renault Latitude, it came on an extended Laguna III platform, only with big engines and only with luxury features. Basically, the Latitude was meant to be the successor to the Vel Satis, but it seems Renault didn’t have enough money to make yet another luxury boat that no one would buy. So they just created a bigger Laguna III with only top-of-the-range features, so you don’t bother looking for options or crying in an anemic 1.5-liter diesel. Leather, automatic gearbox, steering wheel controls, navigation? Good luck finding them on a Laguna, good luck not finding them on a Latitude.
And then comes the question: If you still want a luxury car, why would you go for the Renault? Not that I have a problem with Renault, on the contrary, cars like the Laguna III or Megane III have proven that the French have learned their lesson, but Renault is still known for normal cars for normal people with normal needs. People who want a reliable family car to get them from home to work and back and somewhere in between the stop at the kindergarten and the mall. A luxury car from a normal car manufacturer will never work. The most eloquent example comes from VW, where the Phaeton was a super-luxury car that nobody bought. However, the Renault Latitude is a much more civilized and affordable car than the Phaeton, so you can enjoy luxury on a normal budget.
Renault Latitude Engines
- 2.0 petrol of 140 horsepower – This engine is at the top of the list for the Megane and Laguna, but at the bottom of the list for the Latitude. Devoid of thrills and spills, this engine develops an appetite for oil late in life, but that’s about it.
- 2.5 V6 of 180 horsepower – Nissan’s “little guy” VQ25DE is related to the monstrous VQ35DE in the Nissan 350Z or Renault Vel Satis. Occasionally some engines come equipped with a stove and heat up too quickly, and some develop an appetite for oil that would make even a fast-food employee envious. Otherwise, there are no notable problems, just remember that although the engine is reliable, it’s not cheap to maintain.
- 2.0 dCI 150 and 175 horsepower – I suspect a lot of people will gravitate towards this engine, and I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Coming out of the Nissan dumpster, this engine has one notable problem in that the timing chain needs to be inspected every 40,000 miles. Like chronic fatigue, it doesn’t show signs of trouble until it’s too late. And I don’t think you want your timing chain to jump dramatically through the engine.
- 3.0 dCi of 240 horsepower – Considering how bad this engine is and when you add in the fact that a 2.0 dCi is much more reliable, cheaper, and not much slower, logic kicks me in the testicles and asks if this engine makes sense in the Renault Latitude? As I’m off to clean my voice after getting a kick in the testicles, I invite you to read more about this engine in the Vel Satis article.
Renault Latitude General Issues
- The automatic gearbox is still a special member of the family with special needs. So do yourself a favor and change the oil every 60,000 km. As for manual gearboxes, be careful with 2.0 petrol and 2.0 dCi engines as some of them may have PK5 and PK6 gearboxes and will need bearings changed.
- Renault still uses the access card instead of a classic key. The Renault Latitude looks like a block, is spacious like a block, can be luxurious like a block and access inside is like a block. The problem with the card is that it always has to stay in the slot to charge, so the slot has to be cleaned constantly because otherwise the card doesn’t make contact properly and doesn’t charge as much as it should. Oh yes, you can lose a lot of stuff in a Renault Latitude, but don’t lose the card. That leaves you out, and out of money.
- Just like the Koleos, Vel Satis, or any rare car on the streets, good luck finding parts and mechanics. Although, in the case of the Latitude things are a bit better, the car being built on the Laguna III platform.
Renault Latitude Verdict
A universal car for a European market will rarely succeed. And the Renault Latitude is another example that confirms the theory. However, for people who want big, good, luxurious and relatively inexpensive, the Renault Latitude is a very good starting point, and I don’t mean a starting point towards elsewhere. It’s not as luxurious and excessive as a Vel Satis, but the Latitude remains a luxury Laguna III. Yes, you won’t impress too many people by saying you have a Renault Latitude, but it’s enough to give them a drive in Renault’s luxury barge to convince them that you’re a person who needs luxury in life. Because that’s what defines Latitude – luxury. It’s just not a luxury of any renown. Just as CAT phones are luxury phones that nobody else knows about, Latitude is a luxury car that nobody else knows about. Renault Latitude – the CAT S60 of the automotive world. Because the S61 is the Renault Talisman, the sequel to the Latitude.