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Renault Fluence Review: Renault Fluence: Voluptuous Sedan

Renault Fluence: Voluptuous Sedan

By Aditya Chatterjee; 3rd March, 2012
Introduction

Renault Fluence: Voluptuous Sedan

The D+ segment of sedans have been making news with an array of launches and events. Heading this segment is the so called "Diesel Rocket"- the Chevrolet Cruze, which is an instant favorite if you are looking for an efficient and luxury sedan in that segment.

Honda Civic is an another offering, which pulls you if you love its plush feel and are ready to compromise on the mounting petrol prices for a well finished car. Germans have their Jettas and Lauras for the ones who seek ultimate engineering in automobiles.

Renault Fluence

Joining the D+ bandwagon is a certain French automobile company called Renault. Their start was not too encouraging with an Indian utility vehicle maker. However, with their first individual sedan launched in May 2011, the Fluence, they have re-entered the Indian car scene.

The Renault Fluence promises of French styling cued with luxurious interiors. We dig deeper and review the Fluence E4 Diesel to find out if it stands tall among other contenders.

Exterior

Having a French pedigree always helps in having the curves and turns at the right places. To some, the different-from-its-class-looks of the Fluence will not attract at the first go.

Renault Fluence

However, the looks of the Renault Fluence grows over you steadilty. It won’t remind you of its odd looking Dacia cousin, with which Renault made their debut in India.

We shot the Renault Fluence in a winery to see if the surrounding ambience gels along with our French prop. The lines and curves on the Fluence went very well with it.

Dreamy and shy eyed shaped headlights grace the front profile with not too much exposed chrome treated slot type radiator grille. The chunky front bonnet has a strong characteristic profile with the Renault Logo sitting just below the shoulder line.

Renault Fluence

Long wheelbase of 2703mm is something that grabs your attention about the side profile along with the climbing camouflaged waistline. 16inch alloys with 205/60 R15 tyres are a good addition to the side profile.

Colour options available for the Renault Fluence range from Glacier White, Pearl Black, Blue Ecume and Ash Beige. The Ash Beige is the one we had and is the best among the other options. The reason being, Indian road conditions are very dirt friendly so it is very often that your car would attract dirt very fast. The Beige scores on this in addition to looking premium and up market.

Silver Door handles, Chrome window line and body colored ORVMs with integrated turn indicators along with the sloping rear end of the roof are a nice touch to the overall design.

Renault Fluence

Like some manufacturers have a family radiator grille, Renault has the overall voluptuous design language in its cars, which is evident in the premium SUV Koleos, small car Pulse, D+ sedan Fluence and also something the next compact SUV-Renault Duster would have too.

The boot of the car remains taut and firm. On a personal note, the rear of the Fluence reminds me of the Jags. The line on the boot has a spoiler finish giving it a small pout.

With the Fluence design, Renault made people eat their own criticism, which came with the Logan. Even though the design of Logan was not too popular, its powertrain got lots of appreciation and many owners still vouch for it. 

Renault Fluence

Interior

The exteriors get you all poetic. However, the Story is little different with the interiors. Seems the French guys put in more efforts in the exterior aesthetics compared to the interiors.

Renault Fluence

Inside the vehicle, the cabin space is enormous. This is due to the long wheel base. In long distance commuting, the Fluence would always have an advantage. The generous headroom and legroom makes you distract away from the suffocating cabin spaces.

Seatings are very comfortable, especially the Driver row, which has a lumbar support adjustment. Even the rear row of seats takes care of the bumpy rides very well.

My favorite element in the interior design has to be the instrumental panel. The instrumental panel is very clean and has a hybrid car feel to it. A large circular pane displays the speedo reading as well as fuel and engine temperature readings. Alongside, lays the tachometer. The tacho interestingly makes use of Yellow instead of the conventional reds for its dial and 5k rpm and above mark.

Renault Fluence

Also another aspect of the speedo is the circular warning LED lights that start glowing in case of a warning alarm. The orchestration of the  lights is very appealing.

Three spoked rake and reach adjustable steering wheel on the Fluence is similar to the one used across Renault models. The steering wheel has Cruise Control settings on it.

Talking of the Cruise control, a very peculiar piano switch got my attention on the central armrest area, which I later realized to be the Activation switch for the Cruise Control as well as the Speed Limiter. I wonder what thought process was used in placing the switch there.

Renault Fluence

It boasts of a grand dashboard area. However, the finishing of it cannot keep up with the finesse of exteriors. The color combinations used on it doesn’t do justice. The Dashboard also houses the Traction Control switch under the steering wheel and the passenger safety bag deactivation switch at the end of it.

The Glove box situated on the dashboard has a very weird design limiting the options of shoving anything inside other than the mandatory user manual and ownership documents.

Renault Fluence

Central Panel holds the AirCon as well as the Music system. Underneath lies the USB/AUX-in slot. The display of the music systems comes on a congested rectangular screen on the dashboard.

The 6 Speed transmission stick has a positive in the form of a fabric stitched cover on it and a negative in the form of lagging visual element of it.

Armrest has a sloping design, which makes it extremely comfortable for the driver. Under the armrest lies the storage box, which also can suck in good loads of articles.Internal door handles are heavy and are done in Silver.

The rear section of the car has separate AC Vents. Rear passenger armrest features Cup holders only and no space for any other documents. The lack of proper storage space is also seen in the rear door slits. Boot space is decent.

Renault Fluence

Here one issue that comes out very strongly against the Fluence is the fit and feel of the interiors. The Fluence is not too much of a value for money proposition in the market. Its rivals like Honda Civic, VW Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze boast of fantastic interiors. It gets very difficult for the Fluence to stand against the plush and refined interiors of its rivals. 

Performance

The Renault Fluence is powered by the same K9K engine that is powering the likes of Micra, Sunny and Pulse. It’s a 1461cc Direct Injection Diesel Engine. The engine produces a peak power of 106 bhp at 4000 rpm and a torque of 240Nm at 2000 rpm. The engine is mated with a 6 speed manual transmission.

Renault Fluence

The Fluence completes our review on all the Renault cars being manufactured presently. The diesel unit totally misses on the lower end grunt and all the action that starts is post 2000 rpm, where the Turbo kicks in.

Low end power delivery is disappointing especially if you are struggling to race in a queue of cars in dense traffic. The vehicle gets alive only after being shifted to the 3rd gear and so on. The initial 2 gears do not create any impact.

We have learnt from our review that the Renault Fluence will not be the first choice of the performance seekers. But then, it will prove to be a good commuter especially considering the comfort levels.

Renault Fluence

Handling of all the Renault vehicles has been very strong and so is that of the Fluence. Though, it has a long wheelbase, still maneuvering it is not a task and instead is as smooth as silk.

Great Handling and a good drive will make you realize one thing about the Fleunce, The infrastructure for a power cruncher is there however there is an absence of proper support to it.

Slam the breaks at high speeds and a battery of electronic programmes swing into action to bring the sedan to a halt. The entire event takes place without creating any panic inside the cabin.

Renault Fluence

Safety features in the Renault Fluence come as ABS, ESP and ASR along with the SRS Airbags for the driver and the front co-passenger. Park Assist also features as one of the safety features, which activates while reversing the car.

The best Fuel efficiency figure, which we managed to squeeze out, was 13.5kmpl and the worst was 9.7kmpl. 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Renault
 Model Fluence
Variant Diesel Petrol
Engine Capacity (cc) 1461 1997
Power PS/RPM 110/4000 rpm 137/6000
Torque Nm/RPM 240/1850 190/3750
Gears 6/M 6/A
Groud clearence mm 170 170
Length mm 4618 4618
Width 1813 1813
Height 1488 1488
WheelBase mm 2703 2703
Claimed fuel efficiency kmpl 21.4 13.4
Tyre size 205/60 R16 205/60 R16
Features
Features Diesel E2 Diesel E4 Petrol E4
Exterior
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes
Chrome finish on window sil and trunk lid No Yes Yes
Silver finish door handle Yes - Yes
Front wiper 2 Speed+ intermittent variable 2 Speed+ intermittent variable 2 Speed+ intermittent variable
Rear glass Electric defrosing Electric defrosing Electric defrosing
Interior
Soft touch dashboard Yes Yes Yes
Driver lumbar support Yes Yes Yes
Front arm rest with storage box & cup holder Yes Yes Yes
Rear arm rest with cup holder Yes Yes Yes
Premium Fabric upholstery Yes No Yes
Plush Leather upholstery No Yes Yes
Safety
ABS with EBD Yes Yes Yes
Electronic stability program Yes Yes Yes
ASR Yes Yes Yes
Anti Rust warranty 5 years/ 100000 km 5 years/ 100000 km 5 years/ 100000 km
SRS Airbags(driver +co driver) Yes Yes Yes
Side chest level airbags(front seats) No Yes Yes
ISOFIX Yes Yes Yes
Front Foglamps Yes Yes Yes
Comfort and convenience
Auto B zone climate control No Yes Yes
Rear AC vents No Yes Yes
Rear AC ducts Yes Yes Yes
Smart access card entry Yes Yes Yes
Engine start/stop button Yes Yes Yes
Electronic power steering Yes Yes Yes
Tilt+telescopic steering Yes Yes Yes
Follow me home Yes Yes Yes
Automatic headlamp on Feature No Yes Yes
Rain sensitive wiper No Yes Yes
Rear parking aid system No Yes Yes
Cruise control and speedlimiter No Yes Yes
Rear sunblinds No Yes Yes
Glovebox ilumination Yes Yes Yes
Electric ORVM Yes Yes Yes
CD MP3 player with Radio Yes Yes Yes
Steering mounted control Yes Yes Yes
CBOX AUX input only AUX input only AUX input only
Bluetooth connectivity No Yes Yes
Central display Yes Yes Yes
Average fuel efficiency  21.4 21.4 13.4
Ex Showroom price Mumbai 1362550 1522683 1529770
Competition
Specifications
Renault
Fluence
Chevrolet
Cruze
Skoda
Laura
Variant Diesel E4 LTZ Ambiton
Fuel Diesel Diesel Diesel
Enine CC 1461 1991 1968
Power in PS/RPM 110/4000 150/4000 110/4200
Torque in Nm/RPM 240/1850 327/2600 250/2500
Transmission 6/M 5/M 5/M
Fuel efficiency  21 17 13
Length  4618 4597 4569
Width 1813 1788 1769
Height 1488 1477 1485
Wheel base 2703 2685 2578
Ground clearence 170 165 164
Tyre size 205/60 R16 205/60 R16 195/65 R15
Safety features ABS,Dual airbags ABS,Dual airbags,Emergency exit systems ABS,Dual airbags
Upholstery Leather Monotone titanium jet black Shadow Ivory
Ex Show room price  Mumbai in lakh 1522683 1519075 1492442
Conclusion

The captain of the D+ segment crusade remains Chevrolet Cruze, priced lesser and offering value for money benefits. The Honda Civic remains a favorite but goes through a beating due to the absence of a diesel unit. Honda however, would be tackling this need soon.

Renault Fluence

Renault Fluence has a very strong design characteristic. The engine is that of a great commuter. The company is making strong moves in terms of brand awareness, which can be seen from the number of dealerships, which they are planning to activate across all regions in India.

Renault Fluence

 

We did an interesting exercise with the Renault Fluence. We asked random D+ Car owners to sit inside, get a feel and then price the car without revealing the actual price of it. Surprisingly majority of them came up with a price tag between Rs.10 Lakhs to Rs. 12 Lakhs.  

 

Renault Fluence