List price when new £25,005
Used price (Nov ’09) £18,995
Used value now £13,900
Run by Matt Sanger
Why it’s on test It might look striking, but does the Laguna Coupe place form over function?
I love motor shows because they offer a real glimpse of the future. Car designers are given free rein to create far-fetched concepts of the vehicles we’ll be driving by 2020, be it a scissor-door MPV that’s also a sports car, or the latest interpretation of a two-seat zero-emissions city car. The trouble is these jaw-dropping designs tend to be watered down if they make production, but just occasionally a car gets through the ‘blanding process’ unscathed. One of those cars is the Renault Laguna Coupe.
In 2004, Renault unveiled the Fluence (I’m holding a picture of it opposite), an upmarket, four-seater sports coupe, and then at the end of 2008 it launched the Laguna Coupe. From its LED tail-lights to its chiselled nose, it looked just like the Fluence. I loved it because it delivered concept-car looks for sensible money, so I bided my time and waited to pick up one as a used car. By November 2009 I couldn’t wait any longer, so I visited Renault’s approved-used website (www.renaulttogo.co.uk) and found several cars of interest, with one of the best only a few miles away at Renault London West (0845 386 9384).
I picked up the sub-8000-mile Oyster Grey Coupe from used car sales manager Martin Bryan, who took me through the controls and numerous factory-fitted options. I’d chosen a high-spec GT model, with full leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control. However, my car also came with an upgraded satellite-navigation and sound system, front parking sensors and heated front seats, which had lifted the new price to £28,200.
When I took it on as a used model a year later the price had dropped to just £18,995. Renault To Go inspects, assesses and sorts any faults on every car before it goes on a forecourt, and my car looked like it was new.
The Coupe GT comes with a 176bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine as standard, along with a clever four-wheel-steering system. At lower speeds, the front and rear wheels steer in opposite directions, helping to reduce the time the car takes to turn, while at higher speeds all four wheels steer in the same direction, giving greater stability. As a result the Laguna was easy to park in urban areas, and composed and responsive on faster roads.
The Coupe was also at home on motorways. A couple of long slogs to Scotland were dispatched without drama, with me arriving relaxed and ache-free. However, the Renault was less good in town, because the ride was jiggly at best and downright crashy at worst.
Still, the 423-litre boot was surprisingly spacious, although getting stuff into and out of it was a bit awkward because there was only a conventional boot opening, not a hatchback. Nonetheless, it swallowed a week’s worth of camping equipment, with the back seats mopping up the excess. In fact, those folding rear seats were used more for luggage than people, because the sloping roofline made it uncomfortable for those over six-foot tall, and legroom was pretty tight. One time they were used was after a Christmas party in London. I was the designated driver and needed to get three other people home. The two sub-six-footers were relegated to the rear seats and didn’t complain too much on the way home, although that was perhaps partly because they’d had a few drinks.