Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Renault Laguna

RENAULT Australia has introduced the third generation of its Laguna flagship. Pitched against the Peugeot 407, Volkswagen Passat and higher ends of the Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo model ranges, the Laguna is a well specified model that will be available as both a hatch and wagon starting at $41,990. Some models have already arrived (two trim levels of the diesel auto hatch), while the range will grow to eight by September and include a wagon and a petrol engine. Both engines are 2.0-litres in size and use a turbo. The diesel is good for 110kW and 340Nm, while the petrol produces 125kW and 270Nm. The diesel comes standard with a six-speed manual and is also available with a six-speed automatic, while the petrol is only available with the six-speed automatic.

features:Great handling, torquey engine, good economy, hatchback practicality, sleek exterior styling
disadvantages: Noisy and unrefined at idle, uninspiring interior, pricey, issues with brand image
By JAMES STANFORD 19/06/2008

THE Laguna is a stylish and comfortable model that does most things quite well. Existing Laguna customers will be more than happy when they come to upgrade their cars.

But Renault will face a tougher task attracting new buyers to the car.

It competes with the Volkswagen Passat, Peugeot 407 and higher-end Mazda6s and Ford Mondeos, but is not clearly better than those cars.

It is has an edge in some ways and falls short in others. Then there is the price.

There is no doubt the Laguna has a lot of good features, but its entry-level price of $41,990 might mean it doesn't make it onto some people's radars. Of course, the VW and Peuegot are also pretty pricey, but those brands have a far stronger image than Renault in Australia.

The Laguna is quite a good looking car and stands out in traffic. It has a unique appearance, but is by no means a quirky design like some other Renault models (in particular the Megane hatch).

We only tested the $50,690 Privilege hatch, which looked even better as it sat on 18-inch wheels.

The Laguna's interior looks okay, but is bit a plain for this type of money. There is no problem with the quality, and the plastic surfaces are good, but the layout looks quite conservative.

It also looks bitsy and lacks the design consistency of, say, a VW.

There are also some odd touches, including the cruise control and speed limiter switches, which are the only buttons on the centre console.


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