I was in totally the same boat as you and after reading all the reviews & reports decided that a manual, naturally aspirated petrol was the only way forward. The list of Renault diesel
failures put me right off of them and a chat to my local Auto box specialists told me all I needed to know, he loved Renault Automatics as they kept him in business but he'd never buy one to drive about in!
As long as you really mean it about speed/pulling you should be OK, mine is reasonably nippy about town if you'r keen with the right foot but when loaded feels quite sluggish on runs and struggles a bit with steep inclines on motorways. It doesn't bother me but compared to other large vehicles it doesn't have impressive performance.
The fuel consumption can be quite high, careful driving on a long trip can get you into the low 30's but local roads and town driving will see you around the 25 mark. Probably still cheaper to fill it up a few more times than replace the
/engine is my thoughts on that though!
We love our 2.0 16v 2007 model but so far it's not done anything too nasty to change that. Obviously make sure you check for rigorous servicing records and cam-belt changes etc and maybe budget for an aftermarket warranty, just in case ;-)
Good luck with your search!