As I walked around the corner on my way home one night I found myself admiring a beautiful sleek looking black car – and then I realised it was the car I was driving that week, the Renault Fluence.
The Fluence has chic down to a T. With elongated lines, the head-turning five-seat saloon is a graceful and elegant looking car.
That style is continued inside the cabin. The 1.5 DCI 90bhp diesel model I was driving was upholstered in cloth and leather, with a nice swish of silver carbon fibre on the dash.
At first glance the centre console looks a little busy but the audio controls can be worked from a stalk off the steering wheel.
The advantage of a separate stalk is that no matter what position the steering wheel is in the controls are always in the same place.
The USB port, located beside the radio controls, is also well placed in this car.
The steering wheel itself looks a little bare though, housing only the cruise control/speed limiter buttons.
Unusually, the button to turn on and off the cruise control/limiter is on the centre console, with the button to set the speed located on the steering wheel.
I liked that the system is on and ready to be used every time you turn on the engine, unless you deliberately turn it off.
I also liked the resume function, which brings you back to your already nominated speed – if you have to temporarily slow down before overtaking, for instance.
Legroom in the Renault Fluence is great both back and front. Like most cars, this five seater would probably be more comfortable in the back with just two rear adult passengers. The middle rear seat can be converted to an armrest with cup holders.
The boot in this car is also massive – and can be further extended by lowering the rear seats – they don’t lie flat though.
I loved the digital instrument panel, which had a massive speed read out as the centre dial, giving the car a futuristic feel.
I also liked the unusual looking flat ‘key’ card, or Hands Free card, which covered the normal key functions of locking and unlocking the doors.
The model I was driving had a push button start so once the key was in the cockpit area of the car, even in your pocket, you were ready to go.
The test car was a five-speed manual diesel with a manual handbrake. Our test route took us mainly along city streets, urban motorway and country roads.
The Renault Fluence has a short span between gear changes which makes it good for city driving.
At the lights, it was not the fastest but it proved to be a beautiful motorway cruiser once it reached 120kph. It handled well and offered a smooth ride at all speeds.
Overall, I found the Renault Fluence to be a beautiful looking, beautifully designed large family saloon.
The Renault Fluence is available now, with prices starting from €19,690. The test car I was driving costs from €23,790.
Engine: 1.5dCi 90bhp (diesel)
Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 13seconds
Top Speed: 175km
Fuel Economy: 4.5l/100km
CO2 emissions: 118g/km
Annual road tax: €200
New Renault Fluence available to order