A big step forward over the 1.9, but up against some top-class opposition.
25 October 2005

What’s new?There’s an all-new Euro 4-compliant 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with a variable-vane turbocharger and super-efficient piezo-electric injectors which give finer control over the amount of fuel used, plus exhaust gas recirculation for lower emissions. Also new is the six-speed gearbox.What’s it like? Uncharacteristically clatter-free, for a diesel, though you won’t mistake it for a petrol unit. Even from cold the engine feels smooth and relatively happy to rev. It becomes more raucous as you extend it, but still provides useful oomph past the 4000rpm power peak all the way to 5000rpm. Maximum torque of 251lb ft is available from 2000rpm. The new gearbox is well-matched to the engine, with reasonably close ratios and a long, economical sixth.Should I buy one?Maybe. The Laguna is both likeable and capable, but if you want a diesel family car for around £19,000 there’s a lot of choice. For example, the £19,100 Honda Accord 2.2 i-CDTi, the £18,800 Ford Mondeo 2.2 TDCi or the £18,145 Toyota Avensis 2.2 D-4D. It’s worth the extra over Renault’s own Laguna 1.9-litre dCi 130 (£17,925 in Dynamique trim), which is noisier and slower, but the one to wait for could be the 173bhp version of the new engine, due next year.Rory Lumsdon

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