The looks are by far the most important reason to most buyers
for choosing a particular car. Renault must have thought to never
change a successful recipe, for the exterior alterations to the
renewed Laguna are minimal. Only the front has been slightly
adjusted, which makes it fit in better with the other Renaults.
The interior would have changed more, but the differences only
become apparent when the old Laguna is used as a reference. The
adjustments to the design are small, but the materials used are
noticeably better and the finish too has been taken to a higher
level. New or not: the interior of the Laguna remains exquisite and
even inviting. Especially the test vehicle that has strips of light
and dark material at the same time gives a feeling of warmth and space.
Still, progressive technology is the most important point in
which the Laguna distinguishes itself from the competition. Even in
the year 2005 a card instead of a key is something special. The
electronic card is not only more practical than a traditional key
it is also safer. The ignition lock is usually found in the
steering column, which in case of an accident often results in
painful knee damage. A start button is sufficient for the Laguna.
All new to the Laguna is the electronically operated handbrake.
Until now such a provision was only reserved to very expensive
limousines. For the first time it is now available to ordinary
people in this business car. With a large button close to the
steering wheel the handbrake is engaged or released. The latter is
strictly speaking not necessary because the electronics will
remember to release the handbrake when driving off. This way a hill
start has become a doddle!
The test vehicle is a "Dynamique" version and rises
slightly above the basic model. Despite that a
climate control system (left/right separately), audio system, light
and rain sensor, parking aid and on-board computer are all
The engine too is one in the middle: a 1.9 litre 4-cylinder
diesel engine. This power source is quiet, but definitely not
inaudible and that makes it always obvious that this is a diesel.
The character is as many business drivers want it to be: mainly
strong and flexible. But if needs be, there is a good reserve
available and the Laguna can, to put it mildly, hold a stiff pace.
Thanks to the 6-speed gearbox the Laguna can keep the revs down if
so desired, which increases the comfort considerably.
Road handling however is where the Laguna distinguishes itself
the most. The Laguna feels very much like a large car and in this
case that is a compliment. The large wheelbase for instance offers
tranquillity. Moreover, the car remains well controllable up to
very high speeds.
At fast cornering the Laguna feels large and stable too. This is
not only pleasant, but also very safe. After all, a sudden extreme
steering movement will result in swerving and not in ending up in a
ditch. The brakes are strong and have a good bite, which makes the
Laguna do well in the crash-test and is also good at preventing
crashes in the first place.
Especially when carrying a precious "load" the latter is of
great importance. With the back seat in its normal place this load
consist of a maximum of three people. The middle part of the
backseat is actually suitable to sit on, so extra children do not
present any problems. The legroom in the back is average for a car
in this segment.
Contrary to Renault's pure spacewagons, there are no smart space
saving inventions to be found in this Laguna Sport Tourer. What is
very useful however is that the rear door opens in two pieces. The
backseat folds according to the traditional procedure, with the
only exception that the headrests can remain in place. After that a
large luggage room materializes (from 475 to a maximum of 1515
litres), with which the Sport Tourer proves to offer more than just
a nice name. This is not a "life style" estate car that only
looks that way, but a real working car that can carry a lot of
The final verdict: nothing wrong with it. That is a nice result,
but not sufficient for Renault. The Renault Megane in the middle
class is on many points better than the competition. The Renault
Modus is the smartest small MPV at this moment. However, after its
facelift, the Laguna distinguishes itself from the competition only
in details. Unfortunately the numerous pioneering inventions that
Renault applies in other models are not to be found in the renewed Laguna.
The most important reasons for choosing a Laguna therefore
remain the same as before. Especially the design of the exterior
and the interior are very successful. The technology is
progressive, although the difference from other cars is getting
smaller over the years. The road holding qualities are fine, where
tranquillity, comfort and safety are the most important
characteristics of this business-like Renault.