Fleet News

Renault Laguna Sport Tourer 1.9 dCi - 2,522 miles



NO longer are estate cars simply saloons with something resembling a garden shed tacked on the back - our new long term Laguna Sport Tourer Dynamique is more Amdega conservatory than B&Q lean-to, and would be a slick addition to any fleet.

It has made a generally impressive start and does pretty much everything well, except for one aberration, more of which later.

At first though, the satellite navigation, radio and the wheel mounted controls were a mystery. Not being Bill Gates, I had to pull in to a lay-by and, in danger of doing serious and lasting damage to my masculinity, look in the instruction booklet to find out how to switch off the bossy woman who kept telling me to do a U-turn thanks to a pre-programmed route plan. Once clued up, it is a system that should keep any driver entertained and informed, but it really isn't the most user-friendly.

Aside from all things infotainment, the Laguna has been a pleasure. The engine is quiet and unruffled, and the six gears make the most of what power there is, accelerating from 0 - 62mph in 10.9 seconds.

When cruising, the Laguna comes into its own, and in sixth gear at motorway speeds, the engine is barely above idle. Renault quotes nearly 60mpg on out-of-town motoring and I would not be surprised if that's true, having managed more than 45 mpg driving in all road conditions, pushing the car fairly hard.

Add to that some superbly comfortable seats, a fully adjustable driving position, modernist silver-grey dashboard, plenty of space, climate control and a truly huge sunroof, and the Laguna makes a good high mileage fleet proposition. The 120bhp 1.9-litre dCi diesel engine emits 150g/km of carbon dioxide, about typical for the size and power and putting it in the 18% tax bracket from next April (including the 3% diesel supplement).

I have only two niggles, and their insignificance shows just how good this car is. The plastic panel on the left of the driver's footwell seems to be made from the cheapest, most rattly plastic available - annoying as you cannot help but accidentally kick it, and the mat in the same footwell will not stay fastened to its mountings.

And then, on my last day with the Laguna, it got all temperamental. Crawling through central London in steaming hot weather, the electronic warning light came on. The engine would not rev above 2,000rpm in any gear, and it would not pick up when I put my foot down.

Adopting our IT department's approach to mending a computer, I simply stopped, removed the ignition card and restarted the engine. The problem vanished and has not reappeared.

Forthcoming reports will keep you posted, and there is a line of eager journalists keen to get behind the wheel.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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