Last chance to buy: Renault Laguna

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Specifications
Launched: 2000
Engine sizes: 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 3.0V6, 1.9dCi, 2.0dCi, 2.2dCi
Performance: 1.9dCi top speed 127mph, 0-60mph 10.2 seconds
Economy: 47.1mpg
Safety: NCAP, five stars

When's it going?

In September there is a third-generation Laguna which is going to be bigger and better built, but lighter. It will be up against competition such as the new Mondeo, but the old one is still around in large numbers and at low prices.

What's good about it?

The Carte Renault credit card was the only way in and the only way to start a Laguna II. The Laguna came with a whole load of extras you never knew you needed, such as electronic tyre pressure monitor, interior light dimmer switch and electrochromatic mirrors.

There was also a host of safety features which helped the Laguna to gain a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, the first car to get this accolade: the brake assist, a very strong shell, pre-tensioning seat belts and four air bags plus side curtains. Driving a Laguna is nice, as the handling is very assured. Road-testing types will tell you it deals well with uneven conditions and out on the road it is decently stable. Refinement levels are good, too, as the wind and road noise is kept right down while the solid interior contributes to a relaxed feeling.

Not only that, there are some good engines, especially the diesels, which come in 1.9, 2.0 and 2.2 sizes that return solid 40mpg-plus figures. As a company car, the Laguna has been cheap to lease, with low fuel bills on turbodiesel. Overall one of the most comfortable cars you could own.

What's bad about it?

Owners report a whole heap of minor and quite irritating electrical problems. What does not help is the patchy nature of Renault dealers, who don't always sort out issues quickly or effectively. Also, for such a large car it doesn't seem that spacious inside. The angled roof must annoy rear-seat passengers and overall it feels tight, although in normal use there is enough knee- and elbow-room for four. The boot, though, is massive. As a private buy you stand to lose a lot of money in depreciation, so it is best bought by a company.

How much?

Renault dealers are upfront about the fact that the model is coming to an end, and even that some are already out of production. It is easy enough to get deals and there are also several zero-rate finance deals on offer. The Laguna Hatch Expression Navigation 2.0VVT 135 is £16,555 for cash (no discount), but also very generously at zero per cent over four years. Via www.new-car-discount.com, brokers were able to source the same car for just over £13,000. Also, diesel examples via www.autobytel.co.uk could be sourced for £15,650, representing a saving of £2,670 on a 1.9 130 Dynamique hatchback.

Any snags?

The fact that Turbos have been known to give up on the dCi diesels, and that the intercooler can be problematic, is going to be cause for concern, so they must be checked. Also, troublesome engine electronics – diesels and petrols – can cause misfires, or even loss of power.

Those electric problems affect the electric windows, the tyre pressure monitors (usually cheap to fix) and the keyless entry and engine start system. These are usually annoying rather than serious. Tyres, though, can wear fast on the fronts in particular.

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