The upper mid-range Vel Satis was launched in Geneva as a world premiere and successor to the Renault Safrane. Since the 1960s Renault has continued to introduce high-end hatchback models to respond to competition largely faithful to 3-volume layout with separate trunk. The Vel Satis cabin culminates at 1.58 m, i.e. 15 cm higher than the Safrane. This unusual height provides easy access to the cabin. Another plus is the automatic handbrake: it is released when the car pulls away and activated when stopped without the need for the driver to do anything.