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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's a refined cruiser, and was awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test

Against The smaller engines need working hard, accommodation is average, and the cars are unreliable

Verdict Choose the right engine, and you'll be able to enjoy quiet, effortless motoring

Go for… 1.9 dCi

Avoid… Early 1.6 and 1.8 petrols

Renault Laguna Hatchback
  • 1. Turbos have been known to break on the dCi diesels and sometimes the intercooler can be a problem
  • 2. Temperamental engine electronics can cause misfires or, in rare instances, total loss of power
  • 3. Electronic glitches can affect windows, the tyre pressure monitor, and the keyless entry/engine start system
  • 4. Check the tyre tread - some Lagunas are a bit heavy on their fronts, and you don’t want to land a bill for a new pair
  • 5. The cabin isn’t the roomiest. Tall people will get a gentle head massage from the roof lining
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Renault Laguna Hatchback full review with expert trade views

In a word, comfortable. The Laguna rides the lumps and bumps beautifully both in town and on the motorway. Yet it’s also crisp theorugh the corners, and the firm body control ensures it's stable at all times. It’s not terribly engaging, mind you – the steering is too vague for that – but it’s competent.

Motorways are the Laguna's ideal home. Long distances disappear effortlessly in hushed comfort, helped by the good driving position, excellent provision of creature comforts and, apart from smallest, smooth, willing engines.

The cabin isn’t the roomiest, though. Tall people will get a gentle head massage from the roof lining, and those in the rear struggle for foot space. The payoff, however, is an impressive, rectangular luggage area that can be extended by split/fold rear seats.

As well as luxury kit, the Laguna is packed with safety features that helped it to a maximum five-star rating in its Euro NCAP crash tests.

Trade view

John Owen

Serious reliability concerns on earlier models. Otherwise pleasant and up to date

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Not the 1.6 and 1.8 petrols, that's for sure. Of the other petrol engines, the 2.0-litre is decent, the 2.0 turbos swift and the 3.0 V6 with an automatic gearbox smooth

However, the dCi diesels give the best balance of smoothness, speed and economy. The 120bhp and 130bhp 1.9s are the best option, while the 150bhp 2.0 dCi is great if you have the cash.

Since the Laguna’s introduction in December 2000, all models have had air-con, anti-lock brakes, remote central locking, a CD player and good safety kit as standard.

Expression and Dynamique trims up the ante still further; Privilege gives leather seats; and Initiale comes with gold-plated bells and whistles. Privilege is a good choice if funds allow.

A GT badge means the more powerful version of the 2.0 turbo (just over 200bhp), alloy wheels, part-leather trim, satellite-navigation and uprated suspension that sharpens the handling.

Whatever your choice, though, you’ll find plenty at supersites and Renault approved used dealers. Beware of private sellers off-loading trouble-prone examples.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Transmission and cooling problems have always been a problem

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Overall, running costs are pretty average. Servicing bills are typically higher than for a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Vectra, and significantly dearer than the Peugeot 407’s, but cheaper than the Laguna's other rival, the Citroen C5.

However, if something goes wrong, it isn’t likely to be that cheap to fix. Figures from Warranty Direct suggest the norm for repair costs is roughly 50% higher than for the Mondeo, Vectra and C5. In addition, some owners find front tyres wear quicker than expected.

Insurance is more modest (group 9 for the 120bhp 1.9 dCi, rising to 15 for the 2.0T GT), and fuel bills are positively bashful. Our favourite car, the 150bhp 2.0 dCi diesel, yields an official 48.7mpg combined average, which is slightly better than the 130bhp 1.9 dCi and slightly worse than the 120bhp 1.9 dCi. The petrols range from high-30s to the gallon for the 1.6s and 1.8s to high-20s for the V6.

Trade view

John Owen

Serious reliability concerns on earlier models. Otherwise pleasant and up to date

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Try to choose a car within its three-year 60,000-mile warranty where possible, because owners report reliability, like the quality of service from Renault dealers, is patchy. So while there are many trouble-free Lagunas and excellent dealers, some just aren’t up to snuff.

Whether you look at our reliability survey or the JD Power customer satisfaction report, the performance of Renault generally and the Laguna specifically are below par. So a mechanical inspection is a shrewd pre-purchase investment to hopefully alert you to any of the following problems.

Turbos have been known to break on the dCi diesels and sometimes the intercooler can be problematic. Temperamental engine electronics can cause misfires or, in rare instances, total power loss.

Electronic glitches can affect electric windows, the tyre pressure monitors, and the keyless entry and engine start system, among others. Talking of tyres, check the tread - some Lagunas are a bit heavy on their fronts, and you don’t want to buy a car that has the prospect of a bill for a new pair not far away.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Transmission and cooling problems have always been a problem

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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