04 June 2007

Laguna or later

Renault joins the repmobile party with first pictures of third-gen Laguna

Renault Laguna

Reps, hold on to your polystyrene coffee cups: it's turning into a bumper season in the corporate car world.

Hot on the heels of the exemplary Ford Mondeo comes the latest iteration of Renault's omnipresent Big Car: yes, it's the third-generation Laguna. And it looks, well, rather like a Laguna.

Due to go on sale in the UK in early October, the revised Laguna appears fairly conservative, with definite hints of Peugeot 407 and new Mondeo (as well as a hefty chunk of old Laguna, naturally) in the styling.

However, Renault is flagging up major improvements in build quality, refinement and green credentials, promising a more invigorating daily commute.

Despite developing a couple of extra centimetres of middle-aged spread in every direction, the new Laguna is about 15kg lighter than its predecessor.

This, combined with some 35mg of recycled plastics used in manufacture, backs up Renault's claims of a more eco-friendly Laguna.

The greenest engine in the line-up is a new 1.5-litre dCi, which develops 100bhp but boasts economy of 55.4mpg. With CO² emissions of just 136g/km, this puts the Laguna firmly into Passat BlueMotion territory.

There's also a two-litre petrol engine - available with 130, 150 or 175bhp - that will come with the option of Renault's new six-speed auto' box.

There's no genuinely hot version in the pipeline, however, with a 170bhp two-litre Turbo petrol engine topping the range.

However, Renault promises a more dynamic driving experience from the new Laguna, with more precise steering and less bodyroll.

The front and rear suspension has been stiffened by 20 and 50 per cent respectively, while there's a new anti-roll bar and more tightly geared steering to sharpen road responses. 

We're not expecting a hardcore driver-focused experience, though. But with Renault promising the quietest drive in its class, the Laguna could be a worthy challenger for the Mondeo in the refinement stakes.

We'll find out when we get a proper look at the Laguna at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Don't forget that coffee.

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