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Renault Fluence Detailed Expert Review - May 29, 2011

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Introduction

May 29, 2011 : Expert Review By

After breaking off its Joint Venture with Mahindra and Mahindra, Renault had long been planning to enter India with its independent venture. Now, Renault has launched its premium sedan Fluence, along with an announcement for several more Renault cars to come.

Renault Fluence Expert Review, Fluence Road Test - 114130 | CarTrade

We took the Fuence for a drive. Read our first impressions below.

Exterior

Renault Fluence has all ingredients of a premium sedan and it carries a nicely finished combination of styling and aerodynamics. What strikes most is the finely finished front portion of the car. The Renault logo has been placed in the center portion of the large space between headlights and the bonnet. The bonnet alignment gives onlookers a clear view of the logo.

Just below the logo, a rectangular radiator grill with minimum width has been placed. The front of the Fluence carries a big front bumper with round fog lamps with chrome plating, and relatively big headlights in the shape of an eye make it a distinguished face for the car.

From the side, the Renault Fluence with an overall length of over 4.6 meters and height of some 1.5 meters gives an impression of a premium sedan.

The front portion alignment is good and it can be concluded that a good amount of interest has been given by the designers to the aerodynamics of the car along with a sportive styling. The ground clearance of 170mm is significant, and the car does look a bit ‘lifted up’. On the other hand, it has to be appreciated for a smooth city and highway drive. The alloy wheels in rim size R17 look large but impressive.

The Fluence comes with wide doors, which give room for easy access of getting in and out of the car. Body colored electrically adjustable outside rear view mirror with indicators add to the sense of premiumness in the Fluence.

On the rear of the Fluence, the tail lights have been designed with inserts of indicator and reverse light. The arrow shape of the light assembly with Renault Logo in between, along with the height and width of the boot cover and rear bumpers match the front portion of the car well. 

Interior

As mentioned before, the Fluence’s doors are wide and give easy access to enter. The lumbar support and thigh support of the seats are well designed and give good comfort. Along with the ample legroom in the car, it allows for comfortable seating.

There is tilt adjustable steering available to adjust the steering according to the requirement of driver. The three spoke steering is so designed to give it a premium feel and there is ample space to clearly see the instrument cluster, which is simply designed and provides all necessary information.

The Fluence’s dashboard is wide and nicely designed with smoothness and utility. One could mention the blower vents, which may have been designed better. Other things like cup holders, lighter etc. have been done with attention as they are now a common feature in almost all sedans, as well as the engine start/off button which indeed is a great improvement in modern cars.

The rear seats in the Fluence are wide and comfortable, and much attention has been given for back support, head rest etc. Indeed, abroad, Renault cars are known for their seating and the Fluence follows that rule.

The Fluence’s large boot space is a good advantage and good amount of luggage can be carried. 

Performance

The Renault Fluence is currently available in two versions, viz. the Fluence petrol and Fluence diesel.

The Renault Petrol version comes with a 1997cc, 4 cylinder engine, delivering maximum power output of 137PS at 6000RPM, and a peak torque of 190NM. The Fluence petrol is equipped with a 6 speed Continuously Variable, Automatic Transmission. The claimed ARAI mileage for the petrol variant is 13.4 KMPL.

The Diesel Fluence version comes with a 1461cc, 4 cylinder engine, delivering a peak power output of 106PS@4000RPM and top Torque output of 240NM. It is driven by a 6 speed, manual transmission. The claimed mileage is an impressive 21.8 KMPL.

The Fluence is available in four colour options, which include Glacier white, Pearl black, Ash beige, and Blue Ecume. It comes with a warranty coverage is of 2 years or 50000KM, whichever occurs first. 

 

We took the diesel Fluence for a drive. The engine starts easily with the start/stop button, though it comes with a manual transmission, instead of the petrol version’s automatic transmission. The 1.5 Liter diesel engine is quite smooth in performance though the power output of 105 PS felt just sufficient for smooth and long drives.

The Fluence has a mileage indicator available in the instrument cluster to help to know the mileage one can get with the speed and mode of driving. We took a test drive in smooth road with heavy traffic conditions, and got a mileage of 13.5KMPL in these conditions.

The smooth operation of the Renault’s engine, with its high ground clearance and suspension systems combined with good interior features, offer best of comfort for both driving and for passengers.

The Fluence’s acceleration is smooth though not very powerful and the car can easily reach a good speed. The car is a bit lengthy but turning and parking in narrow spaces is quite easy and the car is quite maneuverable. The petrol version comes with park assist which makes this even easier.

All in all, the Fluence gives a decent and good drive, though not stand-out as the raw power of e.g. the Cruze does.

 

The table below gives a brief comparison with close competitors of the Fluence. Here, we have given importance to key specifications such as power, mileage, ex show room price etc. Other features like AC, Power steering, keyless ignition, music system, etc. are common in all premium cars and can be assumed a given. We have considered the nearest competitors in terms of ex showroom price within similar transmissions.

The toughest competition for the Fluence comes from the Chevrolet Cruze. The Cruze has the advantage of a much higher power, performance, features and cost effectiveness. On the other hand, the Fluence has an advantage over the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel version in terms of power, features and cost effectiveness. Finally, in comparison with the Laura, there is advantage with respect to cost effectiveness, but the Laura has a better power compared to Fluence.

In the Fluence petrol version, the car comes with automatic transmission, and its main competition is from the Toyota Altis and Honda Civic AT versions. Here, the Fluence has an advantage of slightly higher power, cost effectiveness and features and it competes well.

 

 

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Renault
 Model Fluence
Variant Diesel Petrol
Engine Capacity (cc) 1461 1997
Power (PS) 106 137
Torque (NM) 240 190
Gears 6/Manual 6/Automatic
Ground clearance (mm) 170 170
Length 4618 4618
Width 1813 1813
Height 1488 1488
Wheel Base 2703 2703
Claimed fuel efficiency (KMPL) 21.8 13.4
Tyre size 205/60 R16 205/60 R16
Renault Fluence Competitors
Competition Specifications
Specifications
Renault
Fluence
Toyota
Altis
Honda
Civic
Variant Petrol 1.8 V AT 1.8 V AT
Fuel Petrol Petrol Petrol
Engine capacity 2.0 L 1.8L 1.8L
Power in PS 137 132 132
Torque in NM 190 170 171
Transmission 6/A 4/A 5/A
Fuel efficiency Average 13 12 13
Length 4618 4540 4545
Width 1813 1760 1750
Height 1488 1480 1450
Wheel base 2703 2600 2700
Ground clearence 170 175 170
Tyre size 205/60 R16 195/65 R15 195/65 R15
Safety features abs, Dualairbag, side chestlevel airbags ABS,Dual Airbag ABS,Dual Airbag
Upholstery Plush Leather Leather Leather
Ex Show room price  Bangalore in lakh 14.45 14.69 14.26
Conclusion

The Renault Fluence is an impressively styled premium sedan and aims to change the image from the erstwhile commonplace Mahindra Renault Logan. Thus, it is a sound plan to build a new image of a premium car maker for India.

The same objection has been overcome in the petrol version which comes with a powerful and smooth engine. Thus, given a choice, the petrol version is the car to go for if one is looking for a real premium and powerful car, while if one can compromise on that but is concerned with mileage, then the diesel version is the one to go for.

A final concern might be on the cost of maintenance and servicing. From that regard, the offered warranty of two years would alleviate some of the concerns, as by then Renault’s expansion would have also brought down possibly higher costs of servicing and parts. At the same time, the Cruze’s warranty of 3 years and 1,00,000 KMs is a lot more powerful. Indeed, the Cruze seems to be the Fluence’s main nemesis! 

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