French ditch the attitude

Re­nault is af­ter Kia’s and Mazda’s money with the new mid-sized sedan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

KOREA, Ja­pan and France have all had a hand in the new Lat­i­tude.

Re­nault’s lat­est pitch into the mid-sized field is more con­trolled and on-tar­get than any­thing in the past and also comes with a $36,990 open­ing price that buries mem­o­ries of the over-priced La­guna.

The Lat­i­tude still has to over­come buyer re­sis­tance and it needs to an­swer plenty of ques­tions. How­ever, it shows the new Aus­tralian man­age­ment is not stop­ping af­ter repo­si­tion­ing and repric­ing the Me­gane at the start of the year.

The Lat­i­tude is def­i­nitely a Re­nault but not as we’ve known them. It’s less

‘‘ French’’ and more worldly and that ap­proach could work for a car that must go up against ev­ery­thing.

VALUE

A start­ing price of $36,990 looks good and there is a lot of good stuff in the Lat­i­tude. For a start, the price tag is the same for the turbo diesel and V6 petrol en­gines and there is a Luxe pack­age with plenty of added fruit for $5500. Build­ing with Sam­sung in Korea means ba­sic equip­ment runs from leather seats and al­loy wheels to sun blinds, key­less start­ing, a 3D sound sys­tem, satnav, a TomTom sys­tem, in­clud­ing speed lim­its, and dual-zone air­con­di­tion­ing.

But the big value boost in the Lat­i­tude is the five-year, un­lim­ited-kilo­me­tre war­ranty.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Most of the tech­nol­ogy is loaded into the equip­ment, not the me­chan­i­cal pack­age.

The Lat­i­tude is a stan­dard front-wheel drive sedan with a six-speed au­to­matic cou­pled to ei­ther a torquey turbo diesel or a smooth petrol V6.

But there is some neat stuff hid­den away, in­clud­ing the ba­sics of its Nis­san Max­ima sta­ble­mate in the me­chan­i­cal pack­age and the V6.

DE­SIGN

The Lat­i­tude will sell in more than 50 coun­tries and that means it is bland. Not of­fen­sive but not a head-turner.

The shape ensures there is good space in the cabin, par­tic­u­larly rear-seat leg room and a big boot.

No one can ex­plain the silly at­tempt at a spoiler on the boot.

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