The boot's 501-litre capacity with the seats up was pretty generous, though, and I liked its neat, square shape, with no awkward intrusions from the wheelarches. Colleague Euan Doig found it ideal for a camping trip to the Belgian Grand Prix with a couple of mates and their gear, and the car made another sterling effort when it came to moving a pile of office equipment.
It was also just wide enough to take my baby's pushchair across its width getting it in became even easier when one of the covers to the side cubbyholes broke, leaving it open and so expanding the width of the boot. The flat load lip made it easy to shove and slide bulky objects straight in.
Another clever touch was the quick-release handle in the boot for the rear seat backs. A swift tug on the handle and the seats flipped forward into an almost flat position, with no need to remove the headrests. Even in the rear seats, it was a doddle to put them down with a push-button release. This was a huge relief to colleague Barnaby Jones when loading a heavy bookcase and files into the boot everything slid in easily.
Our Renault's cabin frustrated us when it started falling apartMany estates are bought as family cars, so I was frustrated by the shortage of stowage space in the cabin. The door pockets were so small I found it almost impossible to retrieve a small water bottle once I'd managed to squeeze it in and, although there's a CD box in the centre console, there was no obvious place for knick-knacks.
The sports seats helped to make journeys comfortable, however, although broader drivers found them a squeeze. There was no such problem in the rear, but although the sunroof helped create a sense of space, I always felt a bit short of legroom when my 6ft-tall husband was driving and I sat in the back to amuse the baby.
Not everything went smoothly with the Laguna in particular, the ride. Granted, the GT model comes with a firmer suspension for a sporty feel, but the car didn't seem to recover quickly enough from lumps and bumps in the road. That meant it ended up being bouncy or jittery over anything but really smooth surfaces, and it didn't feel much better at speed.