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Imagine yourself on the French Riviera, just having taken delivery of the powerboat you’ve always dreamed of owning. You decide you must take her for a spin while the passion in the air is hot! You climb aboard and take in the marvel of the plush seats, the velvety carpet and the Luxury trim. You notice the Crystal decanters aligned side by side in the drinks cabinet. You climb into the hot seat and start the engines, they roar with passion and lust you could only ever have dreamed of before now. You open her up and leave the shore behind you in a cloud of spray and wash. Her speed amazes you; the smooth transition of the engines through up through the Revs leaves you breathless. The air is so thick with passion you can almost hear each propeller cutting through the water like a knife through butter. Now you’re in the open sea you really open her up and are thrust to the back of your seat with the sheer awesome power emitted from the engines. Its all going so well and you've been absorbed into a mystical world of high class glamorous people, you could be at the Cannes film festival, or the Monte Carlo Grand prix. Suddenly you are shaken by a loud noise and you are rudely thrust back into the real world, behind the driving seat of an R registered Renault Laguna, driving round the back end of Basingstoke.
With the on board computer screaming at you ’Warning Fuel level low’ you then remember you had forgotten to fill up the night before and with the cars 34 mpg you are running very low. You need to stop for fuel as soon as you can; the LCD display shows you have less than 5 miles to go before running out.
While you’re in the car you take note of its features.
You are currently driving the 2.0 litre RXE model in its automatic form. You notice the velour-trimmed seats and the velvet pile carpet before your eyes wander along to gear stick area. Here you will find a nice sized auto transmission lever, in the surround you notice a row of numbers illuminated at night indicating the selected gear. Just above these are two LED’s one red and one yellow. The red light illuminates when sports mode is selected on the gear lever and the yellow when winter mode is activated using the rocker switch to the left of the lever. Sports mode will hold the car in the lowest possible gear for as long as possible to achieve better acceleration and overtaking. Winter mode will activate the torque converter to give less power to the driving wheels initially to avoid wheel spinning when moving off.
Behind the gear lever is the handbrake (which I hope needs no explanation), if this is not released properly before moving off you will be greeted by the friendly computer saying ‘Handbrake not released’. A small storage box can also be found here to allow the storage of the usual junk, like polo mints and keys or tapes etc.
Now moving onto the dashboard:
You have a fairly chunky steering wheel, which contains an airbag for your protection. You will also notice that by using a small lever under the column this can be adjusted closer or further away from yourself for comfort.
These include a medium sized rev counter to the left and a large speedometer in the centre. To the right of these are the temperature gauge and the fuel gauge. The warning lights are situated around the outside of the instrument display leaving a gap in the middle for the LCD display. This contains the odometer and trip meter, although by pressing the end of the wiper stalk you can view: average speed, distance remaining in tank and mileage to the gallon and also including number of gallons in tank. Located just to the left of the instrument panel is a small storage whole with two buttons located beneath it. One of these mutes the onboard computer and gives you a pleasant tone instead of a voice and the other repeats the last warning message.
You will then notice the control stalks coming out from the column on either side of the steering wheel. The left-hand stalk operates the indicators, headlamps, by twisting the selector and the front and rear fog lights. The right hand stalk operates the wipers for the front and rear. You have intermittent and variable intermittent, moderate speed and fast speed. The variable intermittent is controlled using a twist selector on the wiper lever.
You will find in the centre of the dashboard between yourself and your passenger the heater controls. Also included here are the rear heated screen and air conditioning buttons. These are all fairly self explanatory really.
As you look down you will find a black blanking plate, slide this back to reveal your entertainment system. With 6 speakers and great bass you should have no problem finding a suitable track to play in the tape machine. If you look below the stereo you will find a small compartment big enough to hold tapes or other accessories but not your glasses, there is a special case for these located on the ceiling to the right of your head.
In front of the passenger you will find the glove box. A small amount of room here unfortunately not large enough to contain the car manual which will take up space in the moderately sized door pocket to the left. On the passenger door there is a window control the main switches and electric mirror controls are on your door.
Both front seats slide forward and back on runners and the back can be adjusted using the lever at the base on the side of the seat. The drivers seat height and lumber can also be adjusted using separate levers on the side and base of the seat.
In the back:
Moving into the back of the car you will see a large bench seat with 3 full 3-point harnesses for safety. A centre arm rest folds out to reveal a flap giving access to the boot.
The rear headrests can be removed to allow the rear seat to fold down in a 60/40-split fashion to reveal the luggage compartment. This can also be accessed from the outside using the boot door. In here you will find compartments on the side for your assorted boot junk, and under the floor is located the spare wheel.
The car spec: (those of you who are interested in this part just rate and look away ;-) )
*A 2.0 litre 8-valve engine giving out approx. 130 Bhp powers the car.
*A 4 speed auto box takes care of the gear changes for you and leaves you free to do your make or hair etc with your free hand!
*All four opening windows are electrically operated with one touch up and down on the driver’s side.
*Both exterior mirrors are electric although not heated.
*The car you are driving has metallic paint, rear spoiler and alloy wheels although not all of these are standard on this model.
*Front and rear fog lights are included for driving in bad conditions.
Onto the driving bit!
With all the features taken in you can now take in the drive. You notice a bend approaching ahead, having not driven the car before you are a little aprehensive as to the handling qualities but decide to throw the car round none the less. As you expect she takes it without groaning once. Now you know how she performs on corners, try putting your foot to the floor odown the coming straight, you notice first the kickdown drops the gearbox down a gear, you are thrown to the back of your seat as the car pulls away swiftly gaining speed. OK enough of that no for an emergency stop. On the count of three try to stop the car as quickly as you can. 1 2 3 hit the brakes! You will have noticed the juddering of the brake pedal as the ABS was activated and you come to a rapid stop in a good distance.
Now after driving this car for som time you will probably notice how the comfortable the seats are, no aches or pains from you.
So as you can see, it's well spec'd, Looks great, cramed full of gadjets and gismos and drives like a dream!
Enough of the waffle! The French Riviera is calling so go try it out!!