Renault Laguna Hatch

Dynamique TomTom dCi

150

Renault Laguna Hatch 2011
Renault Laguna hatch, 2011

BACK In 1994 it all changed for Renault with the first generation Laguna.

Replacing the old 21 model, the Laguna provided Renault with a car that gave the company something it could market aggressively in the segment dominated by Ford and Vauxhall.

Making a play for the fleet market, the Laguna's share rose to more than 10per cent, placing it a strong third against the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Vectra.

And the Laguna has moved dramatically with the times to become a state-of-the-art executive saloon which is a showcase of the technology Renault has developed in recent years.

A drive in one of the the latest cars, a Laguna Hatch Dynamique TomTom dCi 150 provided an interesting view of the modern chic French approach to everyday driving for the businessman.

The Laguna of 2011 has an assertive new front-end styling that immediately distinguishes it from its predecessors.

Under the skin important changes have been made too, with revisions to the range of powertrains that deliver lower emissions and better fuel economy, without compromising on performance. For the 2011 model range, all engines meet Euro 5 emissions standards.

The range features a simplified structure with three comprehensively specified trim levels: Expression, Dynamique TomTom and, at the top-of-the-range, GT Line TomTom.

The sporty, image-conscious Dynamique TomTom is equipped for an even more relaxing drive, with features such as an automatic parking brake, windscreen wipers and headlights, dual-zone climate control, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, hands-free key card, rear parking sensors and cruise control and a speed limiter function.

It is fitted with Carminat's TomTom Live, the latest edition of Renault's integrated satellite navigation system.

This introduces a number of new features designed to help the user avoid hold-ups, be aware of speed restrictions and have more useful local information and weather reports at their fingertips. Renault claims that it offers Europe's best real-time traffic information service, monitoring data to give drivers early warning of delays on the route ahead and, if required plotting an alternative itinerary.

Its HD Traffic feature is included free of charge for the first three months of ownership, after which owners can opt to pay a monthly subscription.

Smart and clever it is, but one of the Laguna's real claims to fame is its impressive safety levels.

Attaining Euro NCAP's top five-star rating for adult passenger protection it features improved braking performance and ABS, electronic stability control with ASR traction control, electronic brake assistance and brake assist standard on all versions.

The passive safety provisions include six airbags, with a larger, double-chamber thorax-pelvis front side airbag, double pretensioners for the front seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats and a buckle-up reminder for all five seats.

The car I drove drops exactly in the centre of the Laguna hatchback range at £20,705 and you do get a lot for the money.

There are the usual features you would expect on a car of this type including electric windows, quality sound system, tinted windows and alloys, but the whole package looks far more expensive than it really is.

This effect is created by a number of co-ordinated elements, including a new headlight design that uses black masking to create an 'eyelid' effect.

The bumper incorporates a new grille with a pearlescent black finish, and extra chrome details have also been introduced to create a very upmarket feel.

On the road to 1,995cc common rail direct injection 16-valve diesel is lively and responsive, driven via a sweet-shifting six-speed manual gearbox.

FAST FACTS

Renault Laguna Hatch Dynamique TomTom dCi 150

Price: £20,705

Mechanical: 150ps, 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: 20%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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