Fleet News

Renault Laguna Sport Tourer 1.9 dCi Dynamique - 5,889 miles

Renault

Review

WITH almost 6,000 miles on the clock, our long term Renault Laguna is presently sitting outside my house in a filthy state both inside and out, but a hero in the eyes of myself and my family.

For this car has just provided the Gelken clan with transport for three superb holidays in one over a two-week period - and not once did it disappoint me, my partner or my children.

Holiday number one was a camping trip to Southwold in Suffolk with number two daughter and her friend in tow. The annoying thing about camping is that whether you go for one night or 30, you still have to take the same amount of gear, but with one rear seat folded down, the Laguna swallowed everything we needed, which only just fell short of the kitchen sink and heated hair rollers.

All this clobber didn't seem to have the slightest effect on the car's performance. With Renault's superb 1.9-litre common rail diesel unit and a six-speed gearbox under its bonnet, the Laguna is a flyer.

Next up was a visit to the Cropredy music festival in Oxfordshire, a gathering of some 20,000 people or so, with partner and daughters numbers one and two. It rained when we arrived and poured when we left, but while some cars floundered in the mud, the Laguna plugged its way through as though it was on Tarmac.

Thirdly came a camping trip to Cornwall, where we found ourselves not a million miles away from Tony Blair and his family, who were holidaying in Charlestown at the same time. I always feel a great affinity with our leader as he is exactly the same age as myself and we both have a son called Leo. But as fate would have it, we didn't meet up, which is a pity as I could have given him some free advice about how he could operate the Government's vehicle fleet more efficiently.

Everyone knows how hilly it can be in Cornwall and most drivers end up rowing round their gearboxes trying to chivvy their cars up the steeper inclines. But the Laguna proved a star - just pick a gear, stick your foot down on the floor and off you go. And most amazing of all, a quick economy check on arriving home revealed that during this stressful period, the Laguna returned a creditable 47.2 miles per gallon, despite being loaded to the gunwales most of the time.

What my family particularly liked about this car were the comfortable seats, the huge sunroof, the CD autochanger and the air conditioning, which can be altered with his and hers settings. So while the memsahib snoozed in a warm waft of air while on long motorway stretches, I had a cool breeze playing on my face. What I liked less about the Laguna was the credit card shaped key (I still keep fumbling under the steering column by mistake for a proper key) and the audio controls - the operator needs a degree in electronics to make them work.

Our test car also contains a £1,500 satellite navigation system, which you might suppose would have come in handy on such a sojourn. But regular readers will know by now that I have a major aversion to such hi-tech tangle-fanglery and I stuck instead to my trusty map book, which did just as well. So after a very satisfying two weeks away from Fleet Towers, all that remains is for me to clear out all the sand, empty crisp bags and car park tickets from the inside and the Oxfordshire mud from the outside before it is passed on to another tester.

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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