FOR The Laguna offers an excellent blend of comfort and driving enjoyment. It's spacious, generously equipped and enjoys a comprehensive safety provision.
AGAINST The diesel engines may be frugal and tax efficient, but they are not the most flexible. Rear headroom is on the tight side and the boot is shallow.
ON THE ROAD
Performance Performance rating - 4 out of 5
A 108bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel returns 55.4mpg on average and a lowly carbon dioxide figure of just 136g/km that puts it in the lowest company car tax band for diesels. Those wishing for more can choose a 128bhp or a 148bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, or one of two petrol engines. Both petrol engines are 2.0-litre units, with the non-turbo version producing 138bhp and the turbocharged motor, which comes with a standard six-speed automatic gearbox, developing 168bhp.
Ride & handling Ride & handling rating - 4 out of 5
The Laguna's steering is lightly weighted to aid low-speed manoeuvrability, but it's smooth and accurate at speed, so you can make the most of the substantial grip on offer when cornering. Equally, body sway is well controlled, with just enough forgiveness for comfort, yet little side-to-side roll when encountering a series of bends.
Refinement Refinement rating - 4 out of 5
The Laguna is no noisier than its class rivals, with minimal wind and road noise at speed and a range of engines that are relaxed and hushed on the motorway. It's just a shame that Renault didn't pay more attention to making the gearshift, clutch and brakes feel just a little more taut.
Buying & owning Buying & owning rating - 3 out of 5
Traditionally, the Laguna's leasing rates are among the lowest in the family car class, while low emissions strengthen its appeal for company car drivers, particularly the 1.5-litre turbodiesel. The standard three-year warranty extends to 100,000 miles, while service intervals are now variable, depending on how hard each car is driven. Expect around 18,000 miles between pit stops.
Quality & reliability Quality & reliability rating - 3 out of 5
There can be few complaints about the quality of the interior. An attractive dash design is complimented by good-quality materials, and along with a chunky steering wheel and switchgear with a satisfying feel, there's a decidedly upmarket feel to the cabin.
Safety & security Safety & security rating - 5 out of 5
The Laguna is a safe as any car in its class. Regardless of engine or trim, you'll gain six airbags (rear chest airbags are optional) and electronic stability control as standard. We expect the Laguna will earn a maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash-tests, as it uses the previous car's chassis, and the last car also gained five stars.
Behind the wheel Behind the wheel rating - 3 out of 5
The Laguna is not far short of the huge dimensions of the Ford Mondeo, but the French car feels far more compact. Much of this is to do with the relatively low-cut window line and large glass area, which enables you to judge the car's length and width. The positive driving responses quickly inspire confidence, too.
Space & practicality Space & practicality rating - 3 out of 5
Space is not an issue, especially if you're sitting in the front. There's plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder room and a good range of steering wheel and seat adjustments for the driver. In the rear, leg and shoulder room are similarly generous, but that sweeping roofline does impinge on headroom. The boot is rather shallow, too.
Equipment Equipment rating - 4 out of 5
Entry-level Expression cars list alloy wheels, air-conditioning, four electric windows, remote-central-locking and keyless entry among their standard equipment. Moving up the range, Dynamique adds part-leather sports seats, aluminium trim highlights and cruise control. Top-of-the-range Initiale provides electrically adjustable leather seats, satellite-navigation, front and rear parking sensors, Xenon headlights and metallic paint.