Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good This generation arrived in Australia in June 2008, the Laguna Estate wears relatively smart and elegant sheet metal, especially how the roof gently slopes at the rear into the raked tailgate.
Not so good The overall shape is definitely more restrained than most of its competitors and can appear nose-heavy from side on. The long front-overhang lets you know that the Laguna is going after a different crowd than the sports-luxury orientated German brands (i.e. Merc C-Class & BMW 3-Series).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Whilst the exterior is quite plain, inside the Laguna is comparable to the best of the Germans – the dash design is excellent and quite modern in a positively minimalist way. The upper-dash material feels more like a classy rubber material than the usual plastic and the layout of buttons on the centre console is very user friendly. The cabin is airy (even more so with the optional ‘panoramic’ sunroof). The electronic park brake is different yet works well. Comfortable, supportive front seats (with the range-topping Dyamique grade featuring part leather/part alcantara). Blinds in the rear windows will help the little ones stay comfortable on sunny days. The decent sized 500L boot grows to almost 1,600L when the rear seats are folded down.
Not so good The ignition card (in place of a traditional key) is larger than ideal. The Laguna’s cabin is narrower than most competitors; however we still think room is fine for three in the rear, even though the rear seat is a little on the firm side.
Performance

Performance

Good The 2.0L Turbo Diesel produces 110kW of power and 340Nm of torque and is the superior engine (over the Petrol) offering ‘oomph’ from low down in the rev range whilst providing great fuel economy (try finding an SUV of the same size with this kind of economy!?) The Diesel is quiet at highway speeds; the six-speed automatic is for the most part, a smooth shifting gearbox.
Not so good Neither engine would be quick on a drag strip by any means. The Turbo Diesel can be slow to respond when you want it to speed up, and you often wish the acceleration would kick in faster from standstill (but don’t worry, it’s not ‘slow’ – we’re just being picky).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Laguna’s handling is refined on smooth surfaces, with decent amounts of grip for a Front-Wheel Drive and minimal amounts of body roll when cornering.
Not so good Not the smoothest ride over rougher surfaces as the suspension can feel like it is crashing into bumps. Steering feel is lacking (yet those bumps from the road unfortunately still translate through to the wheel). Not the choice for attacking your favourite back road - the torsion beam rear suspension is definitely less refined than rivals’ more sophisticated multi-link suspension.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Excellent levels of standard safety features: 8 airbags, ABS brakes, traction and stability control EQUALS a very high independent safety rating PLUS a full size spare tyre ensures added confidence when hitting the open road.
Not so good Compared to more sophisticated competing luxury models the Laguna appears good value, however it is more expensive than a number of impressive, non-premium brand offerings from both Japan and Europe.