DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THE La­guna is by no means per­fect, but it is pretty good. There are some is­sues, but the main one is the price. The tested car was the Priv­i­lege diesel hatch which goes for $50,690.

It’s a nice car, but that is a lot of money. The price seems even steeper when you con­sider the Re­nault brand is still weak in Aus­tralia, es­pe­cially com­pared to car­mak­ers like Volk­swa­gen and Peu­geot.

One of the best things about the La­guna is its sus­pen­sion. The ride is nice and com­fort­able, ab­sorb­ing many of the bumps with lit­tle fuss. Even so, it also cor­ners very well with very lit­tle body roll and is able to main­tain im­pres­sive cor­ner speeds.

You find your­self throw­ing the La­guna into cor­ners faster and faster, ex­pect­ing it to give up, but it just keeps hang­ing on.

Many cus­tomers will never find this out and will sim­ply en­joy the re­lax­ing drive.

The diesel en­gine is ef­fort­less with a large re­serve of torque es­pe­cially be­tween 2000 and 4500 revs.

It works well with the au­to­matic, which shifts quickly and cleanly.

Fuel con­sump­tion stood at 7.7 litres/100km, which is pretty good, though any sav­ings are eaten up by the higher price of diesel.

It’s not all good news, though. The en­gine is not overly loud ex­cept at idle where it rat­tles away.

It also sends vi­bra­tions through the steer­ing wheel and the body, which is not what you ex­pect for a car of this price.

Apart from this, the La­guna is pretty quiet, even on coun­try roads with coarse chip tar­mac.

The steer­ing is light, which is nice for lowspeed park­ing.

It also feels quite ac­cu­rate when you are push­ing hard in cor­ners, though it could do with a bit more feed­back The au­to­matic hand­brake is a handy fea­ture.

It turns on when you stop and turns off au­to­mat­i­cally when you press the throt­tle, so you never have to touch it. It sounds like a small thing, but its a nice touch.

The leather seats are com­fort­able, though not all that sup­port­ive, and the heat­ing is great on win­ter morn­ings.

The in­te­rior is OK and the sur­face qual­ity is good, but it does look a lit­tle plain and there is no high-res­o­lu­tion colour in­for­ma­tion screen, which are be­com­ing more com­mon.

The sound sys­tem was let down be­cause of poor ra­dio re­cep­tion. It couldn’t pick up a ma­jor lo­cal AM sta­tion in Melbourne, which is a prob­lem.

There is a lot of space in the cabin, with lots of head and leg room in the back and the boot is quite spa­cious.

Styling is al­ways sub­jec­tive, but most peo­ple agree the La­guna looks good and stands out in a crowd.

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