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Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Renault Laguna

A quiet achiever or quite an achiever?

by Stephen Walker

13th May, 2008

Renault Laguna 
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Renault sales in Australia are plodding along at a steady, rather than a brisk, pace as the company prepares for a range of new models during the course of this year and beyond.

With the Clio off the market at present, the company has the compact Megane/Scenic range and the larger Laguna available locally.

The Laguna, which will be replaced by a new model soon, is the subject of this road test. Our drive car is the sole version of the model currently available in Australia. It is a diesel-engined hatchback, featuring the traditional French flair for which the brand is famous.

At 4.576 metres long, the Laguna is the largest car in the Renault line-up and it certainly provides plenty of room for the occupants. In fact, it is the roomy interior and the comfortable seating which provide an immediate impression for those on board.

Another outstanding quality of the Renault Laguna is the quiet operation of the car. Yes, it's a diesel, but no, it is not noisy in the cabin. It's little wonder that European diesels are gaining favour at a rapid rate. The European diesels are proving very economical to run, whilst, at the same time, providing exceptional performance and driving satisfaction. The Renault diesel is right up there with the best of them. The local model is fitted with a 2.2 litre turbocharged diesel engine which produces a handy 102 kW of power at 4,000 rpm. The torque figure is a satisfying 320 Nm at 1,750 rpm. No-one need complain about these figures. Especially when you consider the fuel consumption, on the combined cycle, is rated at a very impressive 7.7 litres per 100 kms. The sole transmission available in Australia is a very smooth 5 speed automatic.

Renault is building up quite an extraordinary record for safety. This is a pleasing development given the fact that not all manufacturers have been earning an honourable mention of late. In fact, with Audi, BMW, Mazda, Nissan and Volvo receiving some criticism from crash testing authorities, it is good to be reassured by Renault's commitment to safety.

Renault Laguna 

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The Renault Laguna has earned a 5 star rating from EuroNCAP for adult protection in crash testing.

Other safety aspects of the impressive Renault Laguna include electronic stability programme (ESP) with understeer control, ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution and emergency brake assist, driver and front passenger adaptive airbags, front lateral airbags, side curtain airbags (front and rear), programmed restraint system (PRS), front/outer rear seatbelt pretensioners, load force limiters in front seatbelts, three 3-point lap-sash seatbelts in the rear, side impact bars and honeycombed padding in doors, fuel cut-off system in event of impact, hands-free perimeter central locking and ignition with Renault card, together with 'door open' and 'fasten seatbelt' indicators.

An impressive list of equipment is standard with the Renault Laguna. The list includes electronic park brake, cruise control with speed limiter, see-me-home headlights, electric door mirrors, power assisted steering, electric front and rear windows (with anti-pitch sensors), rain sensitive automatic wipers, light sensitive automatic headlights, dual zone climate control air conditioning, adjustable steering wheel (reach and rake) with a very range of movement, driver's footrest, lumbar adjustment on driverís seat, height adjustment on driverís seat, AM/FM stereo with single CD and finger tip controls, trip computer and outside temperature gauge, leather trim steering wheel and gear knob, sports seats trimmed in leather and cloth upholstery, rear sun blinds and 17" alloy wheels.

On the road, the Laguna demonstrates its leadership in design by providing a particularly quiet environment. The ride and handling, together with all aspects which contribute to driving dynamics, are appreciated. But the roominess and comfort level of the interior are so much better than many of the competitors.

The Renault Laguna is suitable for towing, with a limit of 1,500 kilogrammes for a braked trailer and 650 kilogrammes for an unbraked trailer.

The warranty is for 3 years/100,000 kilometres with a 24 hour roadside assistance package (conditions apply, of course).

The current price for the Renault Laguna 2.2 dCi hatchback is $46,990 (RRP), excluding options (such as metallic paint at $700) and the traditional on-road costs.

Renault Laguna 
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At this price, the Laguna is priced amidst its two major European competitors, the Peugeot 407 and Volkswagen Passat, both of which also offer discerning motorist a superb package. Despite that, the large Renault has many attractions. And it's these attractions which means other competitors are left way behind.

Those other competitors, such as the Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD Manual ($55,990), Citroen C5 SX HDi hatch ($49,990), Honda Accord Luxury (petrol) ($45,490), Jaguar X-TYPE 2.1 LE (petrol) ($53,990), Lexus IS 250 Prestige (petrol/manual) ($54,390), Mazda 6 Luxury Sports hatch (petrol) ($46,910), Subaru Liberty 3.0R sedan (petrol) ($50,990) and Volvo S 60 LE (petrol) ($49,950), are put to shame by the Renault Laguna dCi. The French car is so quiet and so roomy and so economical and it is just so comfortable that some cars are severely embarrassed when viewed in comparison.

The Renault Laguna has a low profile, but despite this quirk, it must be considered the quiet achiever amongst the latter mentioned group simply because of the abundant qualities on offer.

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Renault content: here.

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