- We like...Looks; equipment
- We don't...Tight space in back
This is one heck of a pretty car. But is it good enough all-round to make you scrap plans to buy that Audi A5 or 3-series?Fewer doors, fewer seats, less space, less versatility. Like most coupes, the Laguna offers less while costing more. But while that’s true, it’s not all loss and no gain.
Because whver shells out the best part of £25,000 for the car you see here gets a machine that is more beautiful, more exclusive and more involving to drive than other Lagunas. It’s also several thousand quid cheaper than similar coupes wearing prestige badges.
Although the Laguna has been with us for decades, the coupe is new for 2009. It’s handsome, though for us it looks better viewed from the rear or side than it ds head-on, where the Laguna-family headlamps blunt its appearance.
Inside, it shares much with other Lagunas. The dash is the same but it looks suitably upmarket and the plastics look and feel plush, while big brushed metal strips on the dash and doors brighten things up a fair bit. Go for the GT version we drove and you’ll get squashy leather seats all round, heated up front, too. You’ll enjoy sitting in there unless you’re in the back, where head and legroom are tight.
But at least the boot is generously sized and usefully box-shaped, too. Flip the handy levers just inside the body and the back two seats flop to extend the space.
The new 2.0-litre, 180bhp diesel is smooth, quiet and quick, bringing the car alive. It is also respectably economical, returning up to 43.5mpg all-in and pumping out 172g/km of CO2. You can also get a 150bhp version of this engine, a 2.0 petrol turbo producing 205bhp, and a 3.5 V6 giving out 240bhp. We think the 2.0 180bhp diesel is the one to have because it gives the best trade-off between power, price and fuel economy.
But, despite the GT badge, it’s more long-distance cruiser than all-out racer, a feeling confirmed by the ride, which is softly cushioned but caught out by big potholes. It lacks the fine body control you’d want in a truly sporting car. On the GT, the rear wheels steer a touch whenever the fronts do at speeds over 37mph, to tighten the line and improve response. But while the car corners competently, it is short of the delicacy and inch-perfect accuracy you’d want from a pukka GT. Meanwhile, the smooth but long-throw gearchange is another ingredient that disappointed.
So, can the Laguna cut it as a cut-priced alternative to a BMW 3-series or an Audi A5? Well, cheap is often good, but the Renault badge will also mean that this car will lose value far more quickly than either of its posh-badged rivals. Factor that in and it may well prove a more costly proposition.
It’s different and it’s good, and that may be enough for buyers who wish to stand apart from the BMWs and Audis they’d otherwise buy. But when the cheapest Audi A5 is £2000 more, we think we’d scrape together that extra cash and buy it.
- Engines2.0 turbodiesel
- 0-60 mph8.5secs
- Insurance groups16E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: