Renault’s slow selling Laguna range has received a shot in the arm, courtesy of a range of improvements for the 2010 model year. Ian Robertson reports
Here at What Diesel, we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Laguna. Its comfortable ride, frugal diesel engines, and top quality cabin give it a certain charm. For the 2010 model year, Renault is attempting to boost the Laguna’s desirability, thanks to a package of upgrades, with all models from Dynamique upwards adopting the nose treatment of the previous GT versions. That means a sportier profile, front fog lamps, smoked rear light clusters and black gloss door mirror covers. While this certainly lifts the front end, it’s a shame that more hasn’t been done to the rear of the car, which still looks quite bland in comparison.
The Laguna has always had decent road manners and the 2010 version is no different. If anything, the steering feels a touch sharper than before, even though Renault reckons it hasn’t touched it. And while the Laguna will never win any top prizes for dynamics, it still offers a comfortable and relaxing driving experience at motorway speeds, the place where most will be found. On rutted back roads though, the suspension can become a touch uncomfortable, resulting in an unsettled ride. The 2.0-litre engine is well hushed, smooth and gives the car punchy performance, while still coming up trumps for economy, achieving 53.3mpg on the combined cycle. This translates into extremely competitive CO2 emissions of only 139g/km. The gear change is smooth and fluid, with well spaced ratios, despite higher gearing to improve efficiency. The big Gallic cabin has always been one of the Laguna’s strong points, and quality is much improved over that of previous models. The dashboard is neatly styled with logical, well placed controls and a good use of soft-touch, quality plastics. In particular, the sports-style, flat-bottomed steering wheel feels great in between your palms, and sets the tone for the rest of the cabin. The interior is light and airy, with plenty of room up front, while in the back the generous amount of legroom is competitive, but the sloping rear end means that headroom is at a premium for taller passengers. The optional leather seats fitted to the test car were extremely supportive, offering plenty of adjustment so drivers can enjoy a comfortable seating position.
As the choice of model name would suggest, this Laguna comes equipped with Renault’s brand new fully integrated Carminat TomTom system. Anyone familiar with the legendary TomTom satellite navigation units will immediately be at home with the menus, but instead of using touch screen technology like on the portable units, the menu options are controlled by easy to use buttons, located between the front seats. The system is very intuitive to use and within a few moments, even a beginner would be well on their way. Coupled with this, is a Bluetooth hands free connectivity package, which is likely to be a boon for the business user and tempt even more buyers out of their lesserspecced executive rivals.
RIVALS: Ford Mondeo ECOnetic 1.8 TDCi, Vauxhall Insignia S 2.0 CDTi 16v ecoFLEX
- Engine: 1995cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 150bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 251lb ft at 2,000rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,500kg
- Max speed: 131mph
- 0-62mph: 9.5secs
- Combined consumption: 53.3mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 139g/km (E)
- Bootspace: 462/1,377litres
- Insurance group: 7
Low emissions, good fuel economy, well equipped, comfortable, TomTom satnav easy to use
Bland looks from the rear, unsettled suspension on poor road surfaces, rear headroom at a premium