Renault Laguna Coupe

GT Line 2.0T 205

THE Renault Laguna Coupe GT is a sophisticated French car with a lot of ooh, la, la.

While most of the Renault range is built on family-friendly credentials, apart from the occasional foray into sportiness over the years, the Laguna Coupe GT is distinctly a style icon.

It is one of the few modern cars which elicited thumbs up and smiles from passers-by.

The fact it also remains a genuine four-seater within its coupe profile is justification for any owner to buy it without feeling guilty that they were somehow leaving behind responsibilities while responding to their inner desire to drive a car with a strong design led theme.

Coupes have always been very popular with continental buyers and in the UK, the Laguna series comes in four versions based on Dynamique and GT trim levels.

They are fitted with two-litre diesel engines developing 150 or 180bhp, or petrols with two-litre 205bhp and three-litre V6 235bhp and the range runs from £20,805 to £28,520.

The lower powered petrol version is one of the most popular in the series and standard equipment includes alloys, leather seats, climate control, powered front windows and door mirrors, cruise control and rear parking sensor together with CD player, MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity.

The highly refined 1,998cc engine pushes out a hefty 205bhp and with the 6sp manual gearbox you can accelerate strongly, smoothly and overtake safely as well as maintain utter composure on motorways and if you use the cruise control sensibly you will see a very good overall fuel economy figure as well which is close to the official combined 35.3mpg.

The Laguna Coupe's handling is a real delight. The power steering eases it around town as effortlessly as it guides it precisely through sweeping bends at higher speed and there is no vibration or kick-back over bad surfaces, while the immensely powerful brakes slow and stop the Laguna Coupe with minimum effort underfoot.

I liked the closeness of the secondary controls to the wheelrim and the big, clear displays on the facia backed up by the usual warning lights.

Climate control is straightforward and works well keeping a desired temperature, output and directional control, but the coupe design means there is no sunroof option, only powered front windows.

For a family coupe the oddments room is reasonably but not exceptional and the boot space holds 423 litres but cannot be extended as in a hatchback.

Climbing into the rear seats is best left to children or teenagers but they will have good head and legroom once settled while the two in front have a lot of legroom and generous headroom too.

Seats infront and behind are deeply shaped and supporting for comfort and control under hard driving. Push on and the Laguna Coupe exhibits a little lightness at the front but it is all highly controllable and it responds safely to throttle, brakes, and steering and being a Renault it also absorbs nasty bumps and potholes without being thrown off line.

Noise levels are generally low and the busy engine note rises but still remains pleasant at higher revolutions, there is a very low wind rumble from the door mirrors and sometimes the wheels and tyres let you know how hard they are working at smoothing out your passage over some poor surfaces.

For a coupe there is inevitably  a loss of rearward vision when joining traffic or reversing and the parking sensors are very useful in the latter role. To the side and front there are uninterrupted sight lines, the wipers are big and the headlights are bright.

Laguna Coupe GT is quick to 62mph, pulls well in the intermediate gears for overtaking and it has a high top speed for long continental journeys.

I loved the lines of the Laguna Coupe GT and the way its stylish interior matched the cleanliness of the bodyshape, reinforced by well fitting panels and trim which did not squeak or rattle even over particularly bad roads.

There are few real practical coupes on the market and fewer still which have the good looks of the Laguna. I think it must be the benchmark for anything else in this sector.

FAST FACTS

Renault Laguna Coupe GT Line 2.0T 205

Price: £25,015

Mechanical: 205bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 144mph                                     

0-62mph: 7.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 33

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 185g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 100,000 miles

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