Renault Laguna

Dynamique TomTom dCi

Renault Laguna Hatch 2011
Renault Laguna hatch, 2011
Renault Laguna Hatch, interior

BRITISH car buyers have found themselves privileged when it comes to choosing a so-called upper medium level of car.

There's a plethora of hatches and saloons of the genre with the likes of Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Vauxhall Insignia, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and Renault Laguna providing the power for motorists in this hugely popular sector.

One of the latest members to parade itself in a sportier guise is the Laguna. The third generation model launched in 2007 was a product of Renault's three year growth plan, "Renault Commitment 2009,"  and it has continued to target a top three slot in its sector for both product and service quality.

Revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the Laguna comes with pretty assertive front end styling distinguishing it from its predecessor while important changes have been effected under the skin, revisions to power sources helping to deliver lower CO2 emissions and better mpg without compromising performance.

Renault's reworked Laguna set-up is offered in a simplified range of a trio of trim levels, Expression, Dynamique TomTom and the top of the range GP Line TomTom.

The image conscious Dynamique TomTom driven here is kitted out with features which include an automatic parking brake, dual zone climate control, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, electric windows all round, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and, of course, the TomTom Live satellite navigation system.

Previous Lagunas have always been generouswhen it comes to space and this new model doesn't disappoint.

Roomy and comfortable seating awaits within a cabin which also provides a number of handy storage palces while an accommodating boot offers a generous 450 litres of luggage area with all seats taken which rises to 1,377 litres with rear seats down.

Extra storage is also provided in covered cubby holes to each side of the boot plus there is an underfloor space that can accommodate the rear load cover when not in use.

Headlights get a new look to flank the reworked radiator grille with a pearlescent black finish while extra chrome detailing is also much in evidence.

Overall the exterior design retains that inherent dynamic, streamlined and elegant quality much loved by spectators when the Lagunas, driven by Alain Menu and the late Will Hoy first began to wow British Touring Car Trophy aficionados back in the 1990s.

A decent driving position is easily arrived at and the Laguna's top of the range feel is accentuated by the sweeping, curved dashboard with a two colour display designed with clear graphics boasting some well thought out ergonomics.

Controls for the likes of the sat nav, cruise control, speed limiter, etc are neatly housed in the smart centre console.

Powered by a two-litre diesel engine which delivers 148bhp and paired with a six-speed manual gearbox the new Laguna drives well performing in a nimbly agile fashion without compromising its 50-plus average mpg figure.

Although the sharply accurate power steering may perhaps prove a little on the light side for some drivers, there is a comforting feel and, despite a little firmness the overall ride remained steady and enjoyable, even more so when on the cruise.

FAST FACTS

Renault Laguna Dynamique TomTom dCi

Price: £20,705

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 131mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions: 136g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 100,000 miles

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