Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The current generation Laguna went on sale Down Under in mid 2008; instead of the usual sedan bodystyle, Renault has gone with an arguably more practical, hatch bodystyle. The front end with its long, elegant sloping bonnet is the most distinctive aspect (and our favourite) of an otherwise overly conservative design.
Not so good The cut-off rear design looks at odds with the long front overhang (evident from the side profile); the overall shape is restrained and in a couple of our tester’s eyes the Laguna’s doesn’t look premium enough (considering the vehicles price) from the outside.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Modern design, high quality dash is one of our favourites of all the medium sized passenger cars for sale today. The controls are laid out logically and simply, the cabin is family friendly thanks to lots of storage pockets and decent sized cupholders in the front and second row and for all passengers’ exterior visibility is good. Leg room in the rear is sufficient for most adults and the 462 litre cargo capacity from the long (but not deep) boot grows to an impressive 1,377 litres with the rear bench folded down. All grades come standard with features such as rain-sensing windscreen wipers, auto-on headlights, cruise control with a speed limiter device, a trick automatic (electric) park brake, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, steering wheel mounted audio controls and a leather wrapped steering wheel.
Not so good Compared to the larger sized medium segment players, the Laguna doesn’t offer as much shoulder room for three adults sitting abreast in the rear; the centre rear position isn’t very comfortable and the sloping rear roof limits headroom for those over 6 feet tall.
Performance

Performance

Good Two engines to choose from – both four cylinder, 2.0L and turbo charged. The petrol option produces 125kW of power and 270Nm (at 3250rpm), the diesel a slightly less 110kW but compensates with a more healthy 340Nm of torque (at a nice and low 2400rpm). The diesel is impressively quiet (for a diesel at least) and is lovely and smooth between 2000rpm to 4000rpm. The diesel is our pick of the two engines and no surprise it wins on the economy front, returning 7.0L/100km with the six speed automatic transmission, versus 8.9L/100kms for the petrol engine also with a six speed automatic transmission (both figures are for official combined fuel consumption).
Not so good The turbo diesel experiences turbo lag from idle (meaning it can feel slow to respond off the lights).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Laguna doesn’t suffer from excessive body roll, staying nice and flat in corners; grip levels are good and the handling is refined over smoother surfaces.
Not so good The torsion beam rear suspension is a step below most competitors more premium independent multi-link set ups = less than class best handling, refinement over bumps or poor road surfaces etc. The electric-hydraulic steering is overly light, encounters kickback over rough surfaces and doesn’t communicate what’s happening between the car and the road, as ideal as we’d hoped.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good All grades come with a top safety rating (achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating) thanks to the following standard features – electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and dual front, rear side and curtain airbags (that’s 8 airbags!). Improved cabin insulation over the previous Laguna = an impressively quiet cabin.
Not so good The current Laguna is still relatively new however it is struggling to gather sales momentum in Australia. As a result it may be replaced Down Under with a different model in the coming year ahead to reverse this trend.