When it was launched in Ireland in April 2010 the Renault Fluence was described as the best car built to suit the Irish driver. That's a big claim, but there would seem to be a good deal of truth in it, as Renault has sold over 6,000 units of their Fluence in Ireland over the last two-and a-half years.
Now the Fluence has had an early makeover and an updated version is already in your local garage. Renault did very well during the boom by offering attractive scrappage deals. However, scrappage is gone for now and may not return for a long time. No doubt Renault will continue to have attractive packages, but they won’t have the advantage of mega scrappage offers in the current climate.
The new Fluence takes some of its styling from the recently launched fourth generation Renault Clio. Its front end has the vertically-set logo at the centre of a broad black trip picked out by chrome beading. The LED daytime running lights also contribute to the newcomer’s modern appeal.
Inside it’s a very spacious motor and on the dash you'll find digital instrumentation for all versions. No speedometer, just a digital display, which should help you stay within the speed limits. On the road this is a smooth motor and you should, like me, get many envious glances from fellow motorists and pedestrians.
There is plenty of room for five well-built adults and ample head room, even for the six-footers. A choice of petrol or diesel engines, with automatic transmission, is available. All diesel engines, either manual or automatic have CO2 emissions below 120g, so belong to the lowest tax band.
The boot is massive, but why did they drop the spare wheel? There seemed to be a space left for a spare but all we got was the dreaded repair kit. Apparently it’s all to do with keeping the weight of the car down. Still I wouldn’t mind the weight of a spare wheel; it’s good for the nerves.
I drove a black model, which was very classy. The new Fluence should be attractive to families and you will also see a good few taxi drivers using it too, which is always a good endorsement. With keyless entry you need never take the keys out of your pocket or handbag, and it’s reassuring to hear the central locking being applied as you walk away from the car.
Prices start at €19,690 for the 1.6 petrol, while the 1.5 diesel starts at €20,890. You get a five-year unlimited mileage warranty and Renault offers a finance package where you can buy a Fluence for €199 per month. Naturally, terms and conditions apply to the finance offer.