Car Review: Renault - Laguna  Series 07 (2 stars)

The Renault Laguna is an improvement on the previous car, but not nearly enough to be competitive.

There are some cars that have everything going for them - effortless good looks, they're well-bred, born into a good family, they have lots of money supporting them from birth all the way through to death. These are the quality cars, the hits that sell lots of models and go down in motoring history as true greats.

Other cars have to work for their living, trying extra hard in one particular area that they might stand out from the crowd. They don't have the same resources behind them, the good looks or the natural charm - this is sad, but such is life.

The Renault Laguna is one of the latter cars. It has never enjoyed a surfeit of charisma or a particular way with the ladies; it has had to work hard for sales, unlike the Ford Mondeo perhaps. The previous-generation car was a bit of a looker, which meant that people were taken in by its Gallic flair and overlooked any dynamic inconsistencies that held it back from truly competing with the excellent Mondeo.

The current car has lost the elegance of the previous model, which has been replaced with a vacant stare and slightly dull lines. The long snout and sharply cut off rear make the Laguna look oddly out of proportion, and whilst the inside is a step up in quality and does look reasonably elegant it still doesn't have anything in particular that makes it stand out in a competitive market.

The driving experience is not for a keen driver - the Laguna is definitely most at home on the motorway. The steering is precise, but feels artificial and the wheels send jerky reactions to bumps back up through the system. It's a strange feeling, and neither is the ride particularly smooth, which is unusual for a French car like this.

The driving position is nicely adjustable, making it an easy job to get comfortable and there is plenty of space up front and in the boot of the Laguna. That said, there is a lack of legroom for the rear passengers compared to rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, which might put off those who regularly carry adults in the back of their car.

The 1.5-litre diesel is our pick of the engines, managing 55mpg and even providing useful amounts of power. Overall the Laguna fails to convince as a plausible alternative to the best-sellers.

Renault Laguna Series 07 StatisticsCar Reviews

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