The worst engines in French cars. Will you buy it? There will be problems


Diesel 2.7 HDI – be careful with deals!

The biggest failure of the French manufacturer after 2000 was the 3.0 dCi engine, which was installed in Renault cars. However, this engine was not designed by Renault, but by the Japanese company Isuzu. So you could say that it was the Japanese who failed and the French who became the victims. Nevertheless, we advise you to avoid this engine.

In turn, a more French engine is the slightly smaller 2.7 HDi, although it is not 100 percent. French construction. It was developed jointly by Ford and PSA for the premium brands and higher-class models of Citroën and Peugeot. This is a very delicate unit and susceptible to serious faults. The main technical problem was a cracked crankshaft and seized bearings (most often due to lack of lubrication). Currently, these engines suffer from injection system faults that are very expensive to repair.

The biggest problem, however, is in which cars this engine was installed. It is easy to buy a Peugeot 607 or Citroën C5 at a bargain price and then find out what curse is hidden under the hood. There are people in a similar situation who would like to buy a Land Rover Discovery III, to which this engine fits perfectly.

The rest of the article is below the video

Petrol 1.4 and 1.6 VTi – an engine with no sense and no alternative

A small nightmare is the Prince engine family, a joint work of PSA and BMW engineers. The supercharged version (which you will read about on the next page) has some justification, but also an alternative. However, VTi units are extremely problematic for several reasons.

In many models (Citroën and Peugeot) since 2006, the VTi engine (especially the 1.6) has replaced the very successful previous French 1.6 engine from the TU5 family. Therefore, you can easily make a mistake and buy a car from the wrong year and buy a vehicle with a very problematic engine. What’s worse, in some relatively cheap or sought-after models (e.g. Mini) there was no other petrol engine, regardless of the year, so for this reason alone, an informed person will not buy such a car or will choose a diesel.


The worst thing, however, is that the VTi does not offer particularly good parameters, which, considering its high technical advancement and many drawbacks, practically takes away the point of buying a car with such an engine.

1.6 THP petrol – a difficult relationship

The VTi and THP engines are technically very similar, but they are fraternal twins. The THP is available in only one 1.6-litre variant and is also equipped with turbocharging and direct injection, which are not available in the VTi. This means there are two additional things that can go wrong. However, thanks to them, THP has two arguments for buying a car with this engine.

THP offers excellent parameters in all power variants and in practice perfectly combines performance with fuel consumption. Unfortunately, the operation of this engine is very demanding, as it requires maintenance at the level of a sports engine and extraordinary care. If neglected, it “triggers” a series of faults that are difficult to stop and certainly not cheap. The biggest problem, however, is not the failures themselves or the costs of repairing them, but the reluctance of mechanics to repair THP. Its trade name was later changed to PureTech, so don’t be fooled.


1.2 PureTech petrol – successor of 1.6 THP

The successor to the 1.6 THP engine is the 1.2 PureTech petrol engine. What could the French do, who for years had in their offer cheap VTi and THP petrol engines that were cursed by owners and mechanics? Of course, they could have created a much better engine to compensate for these disadvantages, but instead they created an even worse one.

In terms of performance it is better than VTi, but in terms of problems it is even worse than THP. Technically, it’s not that bad yet, there are no problems with the timing belt, which disintegrates in the oil bath and gets into the lubrication system, loose crankshaft or low cylinder durability. The tragedy is that over time, the rattling and often too weak 1.2 PureTech engine replaces diesel and larger 1.6 THP petrol engines in subsequent models, remaining the only variant apart from hybrids. And hybrids use 1.6 THP. This leads to the question: “old PSA, where are you going?”

Diesel 1.6 dCi – a change from bad to worse

The French were able to improve the engines, for example by replacing 1.9 dCi with 2.0 dCi. However, another example of changing bad for worse is the 1.6 dCi unit. Many people have heard about problems with seizing bushings in the 1.5 dCi, but when this engine was refined and users understood what the problem was, it was replaced (partially and in some models) with the 1.6 dCi.


Initially he was praised. Over time, problems with a cracking head and two EGR valves, and recently also with the timing chain, now make it possible to understand why Renault withdrew from the 1.6 dCi after a few years and returned to the 1.5 dCi and 2.0 dCi. It’s not a very bad engine, but personally I would prefer a car with 1.5 dCi.

Diesel 2.2 dCi – from good to worse

Renault also has a knack for ruining good engines. An example would be equipping two very good units – 1.9 dTi and 2.2 dT – with Common Rail injection. After this new development and the name change to dCi, both units had problems with bearings, especially the 1.9, but anyone who uses it today knows that a proper oil service solves the problem.

Owners of cars with the 2.2 engine are in a worse situation, as there are also cracks in the head or head gasket, cracks in the manifold, failure of the injection system (fortunately, the Bosch electromagnetic one) and numerous leaks. Of the two evils, the 1.9 dCi is much better, as evidenced by the fact that it was installed in cars of other brands, and the 2.2 remained only in the offer of Nissan and Renault. So, pay attention to cars in which such a unit seems to be ideal, i.e. the large Espace, Vel Satis, Avantime, Laguna II, as well as Renault Master delivery vans and the twin Opel Movano.

The article is in Polish

Tags: worst engines French cars buy problems


NEXT “WSJ”: There is agreement between Israel and Hamas to extend the truce for another day