2009 Renault Laguna Carminat dCi 1.5 turbo diesel from Slovenia
All that you wish for in a family hatchback and more
Driver˙s door clunk sometimes when opening, but is an easy DIY fix, I Googled the solution.
Got the car recently, and will report any issues in the comments of this review. I bought it on good experience from a friend, and from reviews on this website.
I'm a petrol head, and have owned and driven a lot of cars, and I can only say that Renault has come a long way with this car.
The front of the car has a slight smile under its bonnet, which makes it look pleasant and gives it some character. The back of the car does have a big butt as I would say, but those rear LED lights look quite nice in the dark. The side view reminds me very much of the old Citroen CX, I guess it's just an evolution of what you need to do in order to combine optimal usage of space in a hatchback while having good aerodynamics (the Laguna hatchback has a drag coefficient of 0.29).
What I love most is the interior; the nice curves along with premium materials make it a pleasant and inviting place for the occupant.
Because of the keyless system, you needn't worry about either locking or unlocking the car; very handy when carrying groceries in both hands.
The instrumentation layout is very ergonomic, and so is the sitting position; the seats are wonderfully supportive and comfortable, and you can also rest your head on the headrest in a natural position, which is still rare in cars. If you think about it, this also reduces neck injury in an accident, god forbid of course.
The audio system sounded average until I fiddled with the setup, and now it sounds amazing. That's all I can say, from low bass to high treble, it's all there.
The boot size in the hatchback is massive, passenger space is abundant, and the cabin has an airy feeling, also helped by the dashboard design which isn't intrusive. Rear passenger space is more than adequate even for adults, but not as cavernous as in the wagon due to the lowered roof line.
Driving the Laguna is a very leisurely experience, the pedals and gear change are soft and the steering is easy and accurate, the car holds direction very well and little corrections are needed. Wind noise is well suppressed, and engine noise is very well suppressed even at highly illegal speeds. Diesel rattle is as minimal as it gets in a four cylinder diesel.
The ride of the car is very forgiving, at least on the 16" wheels that mine has. You do hear larger bumps, but it irons out and glides over imperfections that neglected roads and speed bumps can throw at you.
I've driven a similar Laguna on 17" wheels, and the ride is still better than most cars, but it does tend to crash more on smaller, sudden road imperfections, thus I would recommend going for the 16" wheels for those who value ride comfort above looks.
Handling, performance, engine and economy:
The first odd thing I noticed while driving it is the electric power steering, and it's also the thing I like very much. Usually when you go into a curve too fast in a front wheel driven car, you have to hold the the steering wheel strongly and make corrections to it, but in this Laguna you only point the direction, and the steering just flows with you without struggling. It's hard to describe in words, but very pleasant to drive, and travelling fast on a curvy road requires far less effort.
Body roll is minimal, and the car sticks to the road decently; hard to believe there is no rear multi-link suspension, and overall handling is light years ahead of older large Renaults.
The engine is only a 1.5dCi turbo diesel unit, which of course looks awful on paper, but due to relative light weight of this Laguna and the low rpm turbo boost, it can more than keep up with traffic, and overtaking is comfortably possible, when not fully laden of course. It's easy to drive in the urban environment because the turbo does not lag as much as some turbo diesels tend to.
It really shines on the motorway where it accelerates like a larger engine, and when you decide to take it easy, it will sip less than 5 litres of diesel per 100km (60mpg Imperial).
The service interval is 30000km, which makes it quite cheap to run, but I will probably shorten it to about 20-25k km, because I'm not willing to risk any oil sludge, which is too common on modern turbo diesels with extended service intervals, and can easily cost you a new turbo, if not a whole new engine. Will change the oil filter at the 20k km mark, check the condition of the old filter, and make a decision based on that.
Renault parts prices, which are higher than from some other rivals.
Rear end design is lacking on the hatchback, and the rear wiper design makes it even worse. When you look at the beauty of a Laguna Coupe rear, you wonder if they are from the same car manufacturer.
The wiper rain sensor stinks just like on most cars.
Build quality is getting there, but still not up to some Japanese or German rivals.
Front wheel overhang should be shorter, and thus the engine would be behind the front axle, making the car even better to drive due to better weight distribution.
No plastic grille to protect the intercooler and radiator from stones damaging it.
No multilink rear suspension on a 2007 model car.
Some features cannot be easily turned off. I cannot make it stop beeping when it autolocks, and I cannot make it stop chiming some warnings. If something annoys the owner, it should be easily turned off without bothering going to a dealer, a Renault dealer that is.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 10th August, 2011