What is it?
A redesign of a car that Renault needs to be a lot more dependable than it was last time around, and an entry in the shrinking – though still big – market for large hatches, saloons and estates typified by the Ford Mondeo.
It’s not often that a car manufacturer is (relatively) upfront about the failings of its products, but the appeal of the last, stylishly sculpted Laguna was seriously compromised by a cornucopia of small but irritating faults, mostly affecting the electrics and trim.
So, major efforts, many learned from Nissan, have been employed to improve the Laguna’s dependability and finish. To underscore its confidence in the new car, Renault is providing it with a three-year warranty of 100,000 miles rather than the usual 60,000.
In the light of this it’s perhaps surprising that this new Laguna is based on the platform of the old, but there was little wrong with the mechanicals (in reliability terms) and presumably much of the Laguna’s hardware has been debugged.
The styling is all new – and frankly rather blander than what we had before – but on the up side there’s a totally new, and quite finely crafted interior, and impressively, the car is 15kg lighter, on average, than the old model despite being bigger, stronger and better equipped.
That will improve economy, as will some new powertrain configurations. These include a 140bhp 2.0 petrol, a low-CO2 and surprisingly small capacity 109bhp 1.5 dCi and a 128bhp 2.0 dCi. There’s also a 148bhp 2.0 dCi automatic, while all other versions have a six-speed manual transmission as standard.
Renault reckons the best seller in the UK will be the 2.0 148bhp dCi diesel in Dynamique trim (that’s one rung up) and it’s that version, with five-door hatch styling, that we sample here.
What’s it like?
While this third generation Laguna’s front-end style may be a little fussy, opening a door onto the new interior is more decisively pleasing experience, the seats classily sporting with their (optional) Alcantara inserts, the dashboard mouldings tightly grained to give the impression of German quality, which is probably no accident.