2003 Renault Laguna Initiale 2.2 from UK and Ireland


A good all rounder


Nothing so far.

General Comments:

This top range Laguna has been a delight to own for the last 6 months.

Swift, quiet and refined it eats up the motorway miles returning over 40mpg despite the automatic gearbox.

The Climate Control is outstanding coping with both temperature extremes with ease, the only interaction which is required is to turn on the heated rear window when needed.

The rain sensitive wipers took a little getting used to, but they by and large judge their interval correctly. The light sensitive rear view mirror is very effective. indeed all the bits of electronic gadgetry seem to work very well and add to the driving pleasure.

The colour SATNAV screen is easy to read in all, but direct rear sunlight and has added hugely to matrimonial peace and harmony, now instead of arguing with each other we argue with "Bernard" - the girl in the dashboard. My only criticism is that Renault still haven't sorted out their TMC partner in the UK though this is promised in the new year.

The audio system works very well and Renault's fingertip controls are still the best around.

There is the odd squeak from the dashboard area, but not enough to get annoyed about and overall build quality seems good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th September, 2003

16th Aug 2004, 12:29

Comment regarding the odd squeak in the dashboard. I have just bought a Renault Laguna Euroline -02 and it had the same problem. After commenting the problem to the dealer, they fixed it. The noise was caused by a loose wire under the dashboard, and the car is now running smoothly.

2003 Renault Laguna Initiale 1.9CDi from UK and Ireland


An utterly bad car


Sun roof and windows jammed.

Gearbox failed.

Dashboard rattles.

Car vibrates.

Windscreen wipers faulty.

Poor starting.

Erratic steering.

General Comments:

In March 2003, I took delivery of a Renault Laguna 1.9CDi Initiale. It replaced a much-loved Laguna Executive 2.0 – simply the best car I have ever had. 190,000 miles over four years, and it only broke down twice. The new one is, by any comparison, a pile of junk.

The seating is uncomfortable – after two hours, I have to stop for a walk to regain the use of my legs.

The ride quality is poor – every little bump feels and sounds like a kerbstone.

The handling is erratic – at a steady speed on a light throttle, a manhole cover can cause the front of the car to ‘step out’ quickly followed by the rear wheels doing the same, and on anything less than a perfect road surface the steering wanders left or right as it wishes.

The rear load space is, frankly, laughable. The rear seats fold down to reveal a load area that is not flat (the seat backs stick up some 4 or 5 inches), and I have had to buy a roof rack to carry exactly the same camping equipment on holiday. Result? Travelling 1950 miles to the south of France and back, with diesel much cheaper than petrol in France, I saved £25 on fuel – and spent £100 on the roof rack, straps and bungees.

From a technical perspective, it has already suffered a number of faults. The sunroof and windows failed to operate properly after two weeks.

The dashboard rattles (and visibly moves) when I pull away.

It was reluctant to start, and stalled readily (the latter corrected itself without the intervention of a dealer. I can now pull away on less than 2,000 rpm!).

The gearbox is currently undergoing a rebuild, as it jumps out of fourth, and often feels like it is full of gravel. This rebuild, by the way, is going to take two weeks.

The rain-sensitive wipers when set to maximum sensitivity sometimes stop in the middle of a downpour, and when set to minimum sensitivity can go at maximum speed when they detect the over-spray from the washers of the car in front.

Fuel economy is dubious – on just three occasions it has reached 50+ mpg – usually it struggles to achieve 45 mpg.

There is a noticeable vibration at most speeds, though the dealers say there is nothing wrong.

Is there anything good about this car? Yes, the head restraints are a superb design. Of course, they are the same as the old Laguna…

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th July, 2003