Not 2 Grand Cars, Renault

The Renault Laguna Coupe…

It’s like a little Aston Martin. In the dark. If you squint. And you’re drunk.

Oh we have been waiting so very long for this. So very, very long. But finally the very pretty Renault Laguna Coupe has fallen into our threshold. Or, at least one has. And because we make the rules, we say it counts. We have proof, too…

In reality, you’re going tot have to be glued to the classifieds to catch sub £2k car. At the moment, such a wallet-friendly beast is an occasional sight, with prices in the main starting at around £2,500. However, because the Renault Laguna Coupe is, well, a Renault, the prices are only going to go down. So that’s good!

So what are we looking at? Well, it’s a Renault Laguna, but with all the practicality of a Renault Laguna thrown in the bin. The Coupe is all about style and presence, not Sunday morning tip runs or visits to B&Q. You can’t get even the most minuscule of flat-packed furniture into this French fancy. The Laguna Coupe is, frankly, far to special to be charged with such menial outings. This is a car that would prefer to be seen under the glow of a trendy city centre’s lights, or by a yacht-laden marina where it can earn as many, if not more, admiring glances as its sea-bound cousins. It’s elegant, classy even.

The Laguna Coupe was more than a way for Renault to fill out the model range, it was also something special. The only companies to offer a Coupe in this size class were Mercedes-Benz with the C-Class and BMW with the 3 Series. Companies that were direct rivals to Renault and its Laguna brought nothing to the table. You never saw a Mondeo or an Insignia Coupe, did you? Really, the Laguna Coupe had no place, but that didn’t stop Renault from putting it into production.

The other draw is the fact the Laguna Coupe you can buy is very much the concept car it was based on. For the most part, concept cars are a bit of willy-waving for car companies. It’s the whole ‘look at what we can do’ only do be followed up by them, you know, not doing it. Not Renault though. It showed us the Laguna Coupe concept in 2007 and in 2008, we could buy it. And they looked pretty much the same. Don’t believe us? Here’s the concept against the production car.

The white one is the concept, by the way. Pretty close, right? So there you go, you should buy a Laguna Coupe because it’s a concept car with a number plate. NEXT POST, PLEASE!

Actually, no, not yet. The Laguna Coupe, while incredibly pretty, would be a pointless machine if it didn’t offer a drive to match its looks. It’s a good job, then, that it did. Thanks to a shorter wheelbase than the hatch and estate versions, along with re-worked suspension, the Laguna Coupe was and still is a delight to drive.

As standard, the suspension was lowered and given a bit more beef, firming things up. With this suspension, which is what a car at the lower end of the budget scale will have, the Laguna Coupe is an accomplished and rewarding tourer. If you get into one expecting it to be a hard sports car, you’ll be disappointed. It’s not, nor did ever aim to be. Though that said, GT versions of the Laguna Coupe did have trick 4Control suspension, which offered rear-wheel steering, too.

Sadly, the Laguna Coupe’s innards are a bit of a let-down. That’s not to say they’re bad, more that they don’t match that stunning exterior. It’s all very… normal. You get normal Laguna fodder from front to back, nothing special or jazzy. It’s a nice space to be in terms of fit, finish and materials used though. So while it’s not dynamic or exciting, it’s also not unpleasant.

When it comes to swallowing human beings, the Laguna Coupe will scoff four, though the two in back probably won’t thank you for it. Unless you’re mates with Lt Dan and he can put his legs in the boot. Speaking of which, the boot isn’t too shabby. the opening is small, but once over the threshold, there’s a decent amount of space. More than enough for a pair of space shuttle legs.

As for the oily bits, again, it’s standard Laguna. There’s a 150bhp dCi diesel, as well as a 180bhp version. If you’ve taken leave of your senses and want to end up in a hedge, you could save up for the 235bhp 3.0V6 diesel. Though it’s only available with an auto, so that should keep you away from ditches for a while.

Petrol-wise, you’re looking at a 2.0 turbocharged unit with 205bhp or a 3.5 V6 with 240bhp. The extra 35bhp doesn’t justify the thirst of the V6 though, so the 2.0 with a manual ‘box is the way to go.

All the engines are spritely enough, so it’s more a case of what you want rather than avoiding a bad one. as long as you get a car with history and mileage that doesn’t make a 747 blush, you should be fine.

Finally, there’s the all-important matter of safety. The Coupe hasn’t been slammed into a wall by Renault Re-arrangers, EuroNCAP. However, with eight airbags and stability control as standard, along with Isofix points for the small ones, you can bet it’s safe. Plus, the hatch was awarded five stars, which is a good sign.

The Laguna Coupe didn’t sell in big numbers. At least not on UK soil. We weren’t ready for it, and as such, we didn’t know what to make of it. We liked it, we still do, but not enough to actually buy one, and that’s a shame. This is a definite future classic. It’s beautiful, but pinned down with reliable – albeit somewhat dull – mechanicals. It’s art without the fragility, beauty without the pretence and most importantly of all, exclusivity but without the associated cost.

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