Renault Laguna Review

HATCH

For those of you thinking hmmm interesting a rep wagon, thanks Rich…
Don't be too hasty to judge, yes the old Laguna had a few build quality issues, however this all new model seems to have sorted all that out with the new Laguna Hatch seeming to have a much stronger and more quality feel about it.

Now the model I had to test was a top of the range Initiale 2.0L Diesel model with a cracking 150bhp, which makes it quick to say the least, 0-62mph is done in nine and a half seconds. So the new Laguna has much improved handling as well, its far more precise and so smooth and quiet you do actually have to check the engine is running at times. With regards to the new exterior styling, don't misunderstand its no Calvin Klein model in Daniel Craig's short shorts (oh the thought) but… I love it, the pictures just don't do it justice, and the new wrap round front lights / low front give it an altogether more sporting and poised look. The new rear is pleasant and will no doubt grow on me over time.

Interior wise the quality feel has gone through the roof, its very Starship enterprise sat behind the wheel with electrickry, full colour screens and computers everywhere; controlling everything from the climate control to the 6 stack in-dash CD player. You get an awful lot of kit for your money, regardless of the spec level you go for. My Initiale model had just about everything you could ever want and more. Because it's a Renault is just about as safe as you can get with even the entry level Expression model coming equipped with ABS, EBD, ESP and ASR Traction control as standard. Now don't get me wrong if you drive like a Turkish taxi driver on a country road you're still going to wrap yourself round a tree, but the Renault safety systems will try their best to help you avoid it.

So overall it's a great motor, nice to drive, comfortable, well equipped and safe into the bargain. It also does nearly 50mpg on the combined fuel cycle which means its going to be fairly cheap to run as well.


SPORT TOURER
 

There's no denying, no matter how much you dislike estate cars, that the new Laguna Sport Tourer is a great looking car. It's sleek, sporty and very upmarket with its dashing new bodyline. Renault's diesels have always been great performers, and the 2L Turbo unit in the Sport Tourer I tested was no exception, with more grunt than a eastern bloc tennis player the big estate never felt underpowered and returned great fuel economy.

Now the new Laguna Sport Tourer over the last version is a totally different car all together, it feels better made, looks better both inside and out, the quality of the materials inside feels far more upmarket and it looks far more expensive than its £24,370 price tag.

Equipment is another of Renault's big things; whatever you're buying it's normally got plenty of toys as standard. The new Laguna follows this rule and had more toys for boys than the Soho prowler store. Included as standard on my top-of-the-range model was full leather interior, CD/MP3 stereo, Bluetooth Sat Nav with a full colour screen, electric and heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, Xenon headlights and headlamp washers, amongst a wealth of other features included as standard. The extra sporting touches as standard on the outside included the gorgeous pair of twin tail pipes that just increases the big Renaults sporting look from behind.

Even though the Laguna Sport Tourer shares the same wheelbase as the hatch version its been extended to give a load area that feels big enough to fit half of Ikea in the back. It also feels massive within the actual passenger cabin and five are seated with more than enough room to cope with long journeys in plenty of space and comfort. Handling wise it's a lot of fun and you really wouldn't know you where in a large barge estate, it handles corners well and is great flying down country roads and twisting bends.

A triumph for Renault and well worth a test drive if you're looking for a big estate or need an estate company car.


COUPÉ

Showing off a more suave and sophisticated attitude towards motoring, Renault launched the Laguna Coupé in 2008 to dispel any remaining bad feeling toward the brand and, with a clever tongue-in-cheek campaign behind it, proved that driving a Renault is not what it once may have been.

2011 sees the coupe having a slight nip-tuck to bring it inline with the rest of the range offering, and continue bringing a fantastic driving experience into 2012.

So as you can guess I am quite a fan of the mid-sized coupe.  In fact, I would go so far as to say I think it’s quite underrated among the industry, and deserves much more attention than it’s been given.  The sleek and slender lines give the coupe a very sporty look, and boasts a very mature nature compared to that of its product counterparts – like your best mates hotter, older brother all suited and booted.  The Laguna Coupe brings an elegance and grace to the road and, like his hot older brother, looks just as great from behind.

Inside is just as subtle, with a sharp interior and the use of higher-grade materials; the Laguna Coupé is matched perfectly to the exterior finish, keeping that classic style.  Reclined sports seats are complimented with a cascade style centre console with integrated satellite navigation and a compact control panel nested by the gearstick.  The addition of a flat-bottomed steering wheel invokes the typical coupe feeling and matte chrome highlights within the door trim and dashboard complete the cosseted cockpit perfectly.  Keyless entry and exit also makes the whole experience pretty cool, especially when out to impress.

Moving onto performance and this is where the Laguna Coupe excels.  Renault have really worked hard to make sure the coupe experience isn’t all style and no substance – all thanks to introducing a technology they call ‘4control’.  Definitely one to test out on sweeping bends and tight country corners, the 4Control system works to turn the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front, creating tighter steering and more precision when tackling those tricky twists.  You can really push this car to its limit with no trouble and it will keep giving as good as it gets.

Specs and stats next and prices range from just over £20k to a range topping £28k!  But, don’t think that you’re being sold short if you opt for the entry level TomTom dCi 150, as you may have guessed from the model name, navigation comes integrated as standard, along with rear parking sensors, dual zone climate control and even auto sensing lights and wipers.  Options include extras like leather and metaillic paint, but for the most part Renault is spoiling its Coupe purchasers.  The 2.0 litre diesel performs well too, sprinting to 62mph in just 9.8 seconds and still returning an impressive combined mpg of 46.6 – not bad at all.

Responsive and engaging, the Laguna coupe will compliment your smart and sophisticated image at the office, while servicing that ‘boy racer’ urge round town and on the motorways.  The 2012 model sees the addition of running lights and some shiny 18” alloys, as well as some rather special, special editions.  Definitely the most surprising coupe I have driven over the past few years, and one that I can’t recommend enough.