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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's stylish and comfortable, as well as being well equipped with first-rate safety features

Against There's a shortage of luggage space, smaller engines are underpowered, and reliability is poor

Verdict It's pleasant (without being especially good) and outstandingly safe, but reliability is a definite worry

Go for… 1.9 dCi 130 Dynamique

Avoid… 3.0 V6 Privilege

Renault Laguna Sport Tourer
  • 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 boot is designed more for looks than outright practicality, yet it can still hold a decent amount
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Renault Laguna Sport Tourer full review with expert trade views

Renault calls this version of the Laguna a ‘Sport Tourer’, not an estate, which leaves no doubt that its looks are more important than its overall load space. Even so, it carries a fair bit and it’s packed with thoughtful details, such as a rear window that opens separately from the rest of the tailgate.

Inside, it’s pleasantly trimmed. The cabin feels roomy, helped by its big windows, although the poor view to the back makes reversing tricky.

The Laguna led the fad for replacing conventional keys with a credit card-sized slab of plastic. It looks intriguing, but the card is too thick to carry in your wallet easily and it still needs to be slotted into the dash before the car will start. So it's more of a gimmick than a benefit.

The car rides smoothly and drives nimbly enough. However, it never displays the sharpness and feedback you’ll enjoy when driving a Mondeo.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Excellent spec, American-style boot opening clever. Avoid high-mileage cars

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

The Laguna was the first family car to win a five-star occupant safety rating from Euro NCAP. Each has four airbags, plus anti-lock brakes, topping off above-average kit levels across the range.

Unlike the Laguna hatch, the Sport Tourer has no low-end Authentique trim, and no 1.8 petrol engine. The 2.0 ought to pull well, but it puffs when five adults and their gear are aboard. Instead, go for a diesel, preferably the 130bhp 1.9. It pulls hard yet will return up to 47mpg.

Avoid the 3.0 V6 petrol motor, though. It comes with a standard auto gearbox that isn’t nearly as slick as you’d want it to be.

Sporty Dynamique trim packs alloy wheels, air-con and a CD player, which should be enough for anyone. Alternatively, there’s Privilege or Initiale, each dripping with kit.

Buy from a car supermarket or an estate car specialist. And, if possible, get a model from after the revisions to the range in 2005, which included a new dash, and the launch of a GT model.

Trade view

John Owen

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

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Heavy depreciation from new makes a used Laguna a bargain, while its top-flight safety helps keep insurance groups low. However, the car’s reliability isn’t anything to write home about, so buying an older one brings the risk of frequent garage bills.

And those bills can be quite high. Some ordinary jobs are long and complex, although routine spares are fairly priced.

On the other hand, servicing costs are average for a family car, and on-board sensors determine how far apart the services are. It’s possible to stretch the gap between routine visits to 15,000 miles and beyond if you drive carefully.

Most Lagunas fall within insurance groups 9-11, which is reasonable, although the 3.0s are in group 15.

Fuel economy is strong, too, with the 1.9 130 diesel achieving up to 47mpg overall and 57mpg on a long, gentle run. The 2.0 manages a reasonable 34mpg maximum overall and 44mpg on a run, but only 25mpg in town. Worst of all is the 3.0 that drinks petrol, struggling to manage 19mpg in town and only 28mpg overall.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Excellent spec, American-style boot opening clever. Avoid high-mileage cars

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Renaults give their owners more grief than most other makes. The What Car? Reliability Index rates them poorly, while the JD Power customer satisfaction survey reveals plenty of unhappy owners. The Laguna, at least, is no better or worse than other models in the line-up.

First off, check all the necvessary recall work has been done. There have been several recalls to fix, among other things, a fuel leak and safety-related problems with the towing ball (where fitted), as well as several to cure acceleration problems.

That aside, the 1.9 diesels can suffer turbo failure. Have an emissions check done before buying and check that the service history is complete, because missed oil changes can make such problems happen even earlier.

At the same time, look for any electrical glitches: check that all the warning lights come on and go out when they should, and that the climate control and other minor functions work correctly.

Many cars have tyre pressure sensors fitted, but these are often inaccurate or have stopped working long ago.

Trade view

John Owen

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

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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