Going into the new Millennium Renault’s chief of design Patrick Le Quement attempted to redefine the prestige car in French terms and target a less conformist customer base by presenting the flagship velSatis concept at the Paris Motor show in 1998 and 2 door Avantime concept in 1999.
Named after the compound concept of Velocity and Satisfaction, despite it’s minivan proportions and size, the production velSatis was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001.
Sharing a platform with the Laguna and Espace IV Minivan the velSatis was awarded the highest 5 star EuroNCAP safety rating.
The 3 litre / 183 cui 24 valve V6 dCi diesel engine was generally regarded as best suited to the cars “lounge lizard pretensions”.
The cars handling was not so highly rated and it is not recorded if there were any handling improvements for the velSatis that was specially prepared for the French Presidential fleet up until 2009.
In 2005 the velSatis was face lifted but there was no right hand drive example of the upgraded model built the model was discontinued in August 2009.
It is believed around 1000 examples of the velSatis were imported into the UK, the 3.5 litre / 213 cui V6 powered example seen in these photographs taken at Silverstone a few years ago was registered on the 18th of November 2003.
Thanks for joining me on this “Velocity and Satisfaction” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Wagon Wednesday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
The design used the front end of the front wheel drive Simca 1100 fourgonette van with an extended chassis on to which Matra’s fibreglass and polyester body, designed by Antonis Volanis, was grafted.
Unusually the vehicle had three rows of seats not unlike later popular minivans, the interior was largely taken directly from the Simca 1100 parts bins including seats and instrumentation.
The car’s ground clearance was raised for off road use and an 80 hp 1.4 litre / 87.9 cui version of the Poissey engine shared with the Simca 1307 and Matra Bagheera models was fitted.
The Matra Simca was launched in 1977 and was rebranded Talbot Matra Rancho in 1979 after Peugeot merged Chrysler Europe’s brands into it’s portfolio, in all 57,792 Rancho’s were built with Minivan SUV, as seen here, detachable canvas and commercial van bodie styles until 1985 when the model was discontinued.
Matra went on to develop a Minivan with three row’s of seats for it’s next concept which Peugeot turned down but Renault accepted with open arms leading Matra to becoming part of the Renault industrial complex and the launch of the Renault Espace in 1984.
Thanks for joining me on this “Minivan SUV” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !