Renault Laguna Coupe Review – French Flair
Gorgeous. Hardly a word that you’d usually find when searching on the internet for a review of a car but in this instance, it fits. Coupes are designed to be stylish, sleek and sporty, usually a ‘prettier’ version of their saloon counterpart and should make you feel every bit special to drive as they look.
The Laguna Coupe is a very handsome car. It’s definitely got all the Coupe credentials. Beautiful flowing side profile from the angular nose that flows right over the roofline into that sleek, wide, powerful rear end. From the rear, the car has a very Aston Martin-esqe design about it, coming from an avid Aston Martin fan, means that it’s absolutely fantastic and comparing the looks of a £20,000 car to a £180,000 surely that’s ‘success’ for Renault right there?
Design is something Renault have for quite some time now been playing around with, models such as the Avantime and the big booty Megane caught everybody’s attention. The Twingo personally doesn’t have that design flair and although the new Megane is a fantastic car you can tell the coupe had a lot, if not the most, amount of money and time spent on its development.
It’s a bit of a shame some of that time and effort wasn’t invested on the interior. It shares exactly the same dashboard as the Saloon with only a new set of seats for the coupe.
We were lucky enough to have the Laguna Coupe DCi 180 GT. This is probably the most popular model of current range as it’s powerful enough to provide a fun drive and also economical and sensible enough to prevent too much damage to the wallet.
The GT comes with an array of extras over the standard model. Items such as 4 Wheel steering, sportier alloys, cruise control with speed limiter and full leather interior come on the GT as standard. Items such as auto lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control are also standard on both models. We were lucky enough to have a car with the luxury pack, which comprises of electric memory heated seats, electrochromatic rear view mirror and of course SatNav is an option too.
Ours had a complete keyless entry and start system. Incredibly intuitive simply put the card in your pocket, walk up to the car and it’ll automatically unlock. Get in, foot on the clutch, press the start button and away you go. Once finished, step outside the car and push the black button on the door handle, quickly check its locked by pulling on the door handle and walk away knowing it’s safely locked. A feature of the key fob and this particular car is a light function. Press the symbol of a light on the fob and the cars exterior lights come on, just as if you had the headlights on whilst driving. Gave me a feeling that the car was a toy but at least it served a purpose, at the touch of a button, instant light to guide you to the front door, light up the key hole, or even for security so it’d appear to a criminal that someone is still in the car watching whilst you walk down your garden path to the safety of your home.
I am a person that loves the sound of engines. Particularly big petrol ones. I have recently been unimpressed with the sound of a diesel Toyota but I am pleased to say the sound of the Laguna Coupe is much better. From the outside, it is obviously a diesel but it has a very soft, clean and crisp tone to it. Inside, it’s quiet, dampened but comes to life when it revs. I’d happily enjoy revving, changing gears up and down and play with this car without the fear of sounding like I’m farming.
Before we get onto the driving, BOSE have designed the sound system for the Laguna Coupe. It’s a very capable system with a very crisp clear sound, no distortion at what we’d consider ‘too loud’ for the average person to sustain for long periods but the one thing we felt it lacked was bass however there is enough there to enjoy any type of music on any length journeys.
The seats hold you in place and as you sit in front of the dashboard you get a strange feeling. You’re in a Renault yet you feel like you are in something that people would genuinely admire and respect and. . . you are! The frameless windows, the seats, the leather, and the Aston look really all come together to create an exclusive look, win.
As you slowly pull away allowing the electronic handbrake to release automatically you can sense the car is going to be fun somehow. In the drivers seat you can feel the precision of the steering and snappiness of the gear change along with the smooth yet slightly firm ride.
The acceleration in the DCi 180 is more than adequate for modern day driving and could quite easily get you into trouble should you become a little too enthusiastic, a wave of torque (295 lb ft@2000rpm) from the engine can propel the car from 0-62mph in just 8.5 seconds.
The main advantage of the GT is the 4-Wheel System Renault call the 4 Control Chassis. This allows the rear wheels to turn by up to 3.5 degrees. That doesn’t sound like much but it works a treat. At low speeds the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front in order improve agility on slower and tighter cornering. Whilst at higher speeds they turn in the same direction as the front wheels to increase the turning angle and as Renault put it, reduce pressure in the bends, which allows for a smoother but precise feeling of control. Whilst driving round a roundabout at slightly above what one would call a ‘normal’ speed the car copes incredibly well, if you’ve ever heard the saying “Handles like it’s on rails”, the coupe GT lives up to this in heaps.
In the drivers seat I felt relaxed but alert, this allowed me to have fun whilst driving but not be uncomfortable. I’d previously read reviews of how completely uncomfortable and unforgiving the ride on these are. I completely disagree. The ride is just right for such a car, soft enough to soak up the motorway miles and GT (Grand Tour) over the world whilst at the same time being taught enough to enjoy the twisty stuff. The only negative I’d throw in here is my co-tester couldn’t quite find the right seating position and after we had finished testing the vehicle, had a bit of a backache. We both thought with a little fiddling, she’d have found the right position and be ache free.
There aren’t many negatives with the Laguna Coupe which to be fair is good going on Renaults part.
First thing is the price, it’s not a cheap car if you stump up for a GT model with some added extras.
Being French means it is going to depreciate. For the bottom line TomTom DCi 150 expect to pay £19,995 for the range topping GT 3.0 V6 DCi 235 a whopping £29,550 would be needed to drive away from the dealers. How much of that are you going to get back? Take a quick look at the few that are on eBay and you can already see the loss.
The cruise control does not limit itself like all the modern German counterparts do. If you set it at 70mph I want to stay at 70 without any intervention required on my part, The Laguna Coupe cannot do this therefore when you get to a down hill slope it will let you pick up speed and break the law. Surely cruise control is there to be set and forgot about, so I don’t see the point, in this day and age, to have to sit and watch your speed every few minutes to make sure the car hasn’t lost it’s way. There is no audible bleep when it over runs either, your set speed will simply start flashing on the ‘calculator’ type LCD display in front of you in between the speedometer and rev counter.
Overall this is a nifty car, it has style, is fun to drive and as Renault have kindly pointed out, it’s a car you’d buy because you want it because it’s different and oophf get a load of that rear end 😉