Advantages The spec, the price, economical and practical
Disadvantages Boot a little limited, lack of feel, nondescript looks
Five months ago my S Reg Laguna RT was getting a little tired and I decided to look for something newer. I prefer to purchase outright and I had a maximum budget of £7,000.I looked on the net and local car supermarkets at a large number of cars, and had a number of choices. I was hoping to try to get as many of the following as possible -
After looking at a lot of different cars including the Toyota Avensis, Peugeot 406/407, Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra, Renault Laguna and others.
I finally whittled it down to just the Laguna and Mondeo, though the Mondeo had some advantages, it is definitely a dull looking car, unless you can afford the ST24 - and I couldn't, as well as the fact there are so many for sale. So when I had decided on the Laguna I checked out all of the different models in the range, and settled on the Initiale - Why? Because the spec was absolutely amazing.
The spec for the Initiale is -
Carminat Satellite Navigation
Front and Rear Fog Lights
Electric Windows (Front and rear)
Keycode entry/engine start system
Multi cd player
Dual zone Air Con
17 inch alloys as standard
Tyre Pressure sensors
Full Leather Interior
Multiple 12v points (3)
Seat Belt Pretensioners
Electric memory/heated front seats
High level rear brake light
The outer styling on the car is quite pleasing though definitely a little nondescript (I have had to search twice on large car parks already!). It does look quite squat and aggressive, and though I tried to get a metallic black car, even the silver version I have is attractive, though I think this is subjective, especially when you compare it to some other models in the mid range area.THE INTERIOR
The Sat Nav, is a Carminat system. The system comes on automatically when you start the engine. It is very easy to use, though time consuming as you need to enter the town and street name for each new destination. So far after using it quite a few times I haven't had any problems with the routes, though if the final destination is on a street you don't know or a long street it can take time to find the exact location - a problem you don't have with a system that uses post codes. If you needed to use Sat Nav on a regular basis, then I think other systems will be quicker and more practical.
The Cd/Radio is a real treat (Well the CD is, not the Radio). You can load up to 6 CD's into the front Player, and the sound quality is as good as most. However, as the car doesn't have a standard aerial, the radio signal is not always picked up as well as it should, resulting in some 'crackling' when in poorer signal areas.
The Trip Computer is superb. This is accessed with a button on the end of the wiper stalk. Each press takes you though overall mileage, overall mileage/time to next service, trip mileage, miles per gallon/consumption, maximum distance on current fuel, distance since last fill up, average speed and finally cruise control speed (If accessed). This is very handy, easy to use, and very practical for long journeys.
The rear parking sensors come in quite handy, and you get the standard intermittent beeps up to 10 centimetres away. Good for inexperienced drivers though many will not need it.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The following is a direct quote from Parkers - Laguna was the first ever car to receive five stars for passenger safety in the Euro NCAP tests. The standard list of safety features is impressive, including airbags throughout the cabin, ABS with brake assist, power steering and five three-point seatbelts with pretensioners. Security is fully kitted out as well - with deadlocks, an electric steering lock, an immobiliser, keyless entry and remote central locking - so safety and security is undoubtedly Laguna's strong point.
Overall I would highly recommend the Laguna, especially the Initiale, it is without doubt one of the best value mid range cars available.
A new 1.9 DCI Initiale is quoted at over 20K. Taking depreciation into account, a saving of over 13K on a low mileage diesel seems a smart move.
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