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Old 27th May 2011, 20:54   #136
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Great review.
Like almost everybody has said here,good car and the pricing looks not very encouraging.

As a very satisfied owner of a 125000Km done Logan Diesel ,I was actually waiting with my pen ready for the Fluence, but has since dropped the idea.Probably would consider the Jetta (new) now.

Was at the Cochin dealership where the sales guys are already looking a bit tired and resigned (3 days from launch !!!!, official launch on 30th ).

Contrary to a lot being said here , a stripped down diesel version would sell a lot in value conscious markets like Kerala,but not for 13 L. Had Renault come out with a killer pricing (@11.5-12 L ? ) that would have made the buyer go ga-ga and made him forget the lack of dealerships and really established the brand . Kerala has currently one dealer & seems little chance of any other for the next full year. TN has currently Chennai only , enquired about Coimbatore ,getting vague replies about Company scouting for dealer...)

A lot of people feel that Renault seriously erred by walking away from the Logan .It was nothing but the greed of M-Renault that crippled the Logan .-not the looks ,not the much whined about apparent lack of power -.
Incidentally most of the negative comments are put out by people who do not even own one . Owners appreciate this no nonsense workhorse for the @ 4000 rupee service costs /excellant reliability/fantastic fuel mileage/modest spares cost/good low end torque etc. Consider the Logan just as a competitor to the Indigo or Dzire and then one would get the real picture. This was not even in the Fiesta/Verna class ,which would be a full 1L class up.
The mid level diesel Logan was 6 L ex-showroom when launced some 3 years back. Over time this was jacked up to @6.8L (?) by the time Renault quit. M&M saw the writing on the wall and promptly dropped @ 80 thousand (now 5.8L ? )and saw the volumes double. As we all saw a 70-80 thousand drop can be a game changer in such a class.

Probably M & M can teach something to Renault again ..
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Old 27th May 2011, 23:18   #137
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Top quality or should I say 'Team BHP Quality' review again! Thanks Stratos. Rating it 5 stars.

Renault seems to have big plans with a 1,00,000 sales target by 2014 and targeting the top-3 slot in India by then! With pricing like this, my best wishes (and possible condolences) to them.

As someone who works with the exports division of an OEM, I can understand the pains that you have to go through to launch in a market that is non-native. Given this, with Renault catering to mostly LHD markets, would be obviously reluctant to make changes for a few select RHD markets. Certainly empathise when them on this front.

Though the company claims to have done extensive market research, they seemed to have forgotten about the pricing aspect. Some 'strategy genius' would have told them about the psychological price point of xx.99 and they would have happily gone ahead.

Shame, it looks like a lost opportunity, even with the quirky diesel < petrol pricing. Hope that this acts as a lesson for all the future models they have lined up. Particularly the Duster, a killer product in all markets it has been launched due to its no non-sense nature and pricing.

Does someone know the French word for bye-bye?
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Old 28th May 2011, 05:29   #138
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

IMHO the front looks PLAIN horrible . The shapes are all a mixup . The lower grill is a big arc smiley and the upper grill is so small and is rectangular . I personally do not like the Renault logo . It looks horrible.

I guess for all the people who hated FIAT and though that it was wrongly placed in its price segment or under nourished for the asking price , heres one more . The Diesel is really really under nourished .

Looks like Renault is trying to push the sales of the petrol by offering all the goodies in the Petrol variant . Beats me , as to why they would want to do that .

The consume segment that they are targeting with this price is upper middle class , if I am not wrong , people who are graduating from a hatchback in mid 30s - 40s . This segment is not particularly the rich business man variety who doesn't care about the fuel prices . So someone in this category would prefer a diesel and that too a fully loaded instead of a petrol fully loaded . I guess Renault might fail with this one .
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Old 28th May 2011, 12:17   #139
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuzzledMoose View Post
Average indian buyer is not technical and is a very different breed from what we find on teambhp.
We review cars on Team-BHP keeping in mind this exact Indian buyer that you are talking about, which is why things like high-speed cornering, acceleration figures, top-speed, lap-times are given least or no priority.

Quote:
1) leg room
2) Comfort
3) Overall Space
4) FE (this comes first)
5) Good looking Car
..... I wish to point out that renault has scored here very well with the above points.
Agreed they have scored well in the above areas you have mentioned. But what about the most important parameter of all, 'the price'?

You are saying that the average Indian buyer looks at non-technical things while buying a car, but, at the end of the day shouldn't he get the equivalent kit for the amount he is investing in that car too? Why will a back-seater buy a car with no USB, no rear AC Vents, no leather upholstery, bland interiors, (I am not counting cruise control, parking sensors since we are talking about chauffer driven cars), buy a car that costs almost 14-15 lac. That is definitely not the mentality of the Indian buyer.

Last edited by Stratos : 28th May 2011 at 12:20.
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Old 28th May 2011, 12:36   #140
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I don't think it is realistic to think someone buying a car above 10 lakhs will just walk in after seeing an ad and pick up the car.

Everyone does some research, talk to friends etc they will look at the competition and narrow down depending on their priorities, at least a technical person will understand a 1.5 diesel is not necessarily a bad thing if it has a different tune and turbocharger, for the non technical minded a 1.5 when the competition is offering more powerful engines will be an immediate deal breaker. Things like interiors, visible build quality, looks and drive response will also factor in.

Renault has got the pricing wrong if they want this to be a seller, if its just a brand builder and its unlikely the Fluence is significant enough to be a brand builder then its not going to work too well. Either upgrade the diesel engine and specs asap to become competitive, with a 1.9/2.0 dci and spruced up interiors it can be a competitor, or cut the price of the 1.5dci.
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Old 28th May 2011, 18:37   #141
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
We review cars on Team-BHP keeping in mind this exact Indian buyer that you are talking about, which is why things like high-speed cornering, acceleration figures, top-speed, lap-times are given least or no priority.



Agreed they have scored well in the above areas you have mentioned. But what about the most important parameter of all, 'the price'?

You are saying that the average Indian buyer looks at non-technical things while buying a car, but, at the end of the day shouldn't he get the equivalent kit for the amount he is investing in that car too? Why will a back-seater buy a car with no USB, no rear AC Vents, no leather upholstery, bland interiors, (I am not counting cruise control, parking sensors since we are talking about chauffer driven cars), buy a car that costs almost 14-15 lac. That is definitely not the mentality of the Indian buyer.
Renault has launched diesel Fluence @12.99L
If we consider the car is on C+ segment or entry level D segment positioned, this looks like a good price for a diesel. In India, the normal trend is petrol comes with all bells and whistles, whereas the same car with diesel engine is heavily cut on features for higher price. Renault has broken this atleast on the price side. They have a diesel car which is cheaper and it cannot be made cheaper unless they cut the features.

Removing the rear ac vents is a blunder though.


Last few months i was looking for buying a similar segment car and i was astonished to see all those cars which i tried barring sonata embera had very small interiors. Skoda yeti was also having a very small cabin.I really missed the rear bench comfort of my Logan in all these cars on SPACE. Considering the fact that i own a LOGAN petrol 1.6 for past 3 and half years, i can trust that renault will be trouble free as my LOGAN is still in very good condition after 51K kms. The only changes done was normal wear and tear like batteries , tyres, ac recharge etc. I had more problems with the dealer rather than the car. Indian road conditions need a sturdy vehicle that can take abuse and ignore small but annoying bumper hits from auto and taxi wallas etc. The Fluence has this capability as per the reviews. The LOGAN diesel engine is tried and tested by our own taxi wallas and a higher powered version of the same is welcome as it should give return reasonable FE.

Take the case of innova engine: it is a 2.4L developing a measly 100 hp and 205NM torque and returns very less FE. I agree people buy toyota for other reasons.


The 1461cc engine on fluence developing 106PS and 240NM torque should be surely better engineered and tuned for fuel efficiency.
Regarding the interiors, most people in INDIA buy a car and customize according to what they like on leather, color etc. So i beleive Renault has followed this idea ;-)

When i was in sweden last winter, i had a feedback that Renault cars were considered cheap and so is Fiat and Skoda in that country. VW is pricey and was considered as premium segment and the feedback was VW cars were better built and they where considered as quality cars.I will love to see how the Indian market reacts to Fluence.
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Old 28th May 2011, 22:54   #142
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
- Auto dimming rear-view mirror standard with the Petrol, diesel gets a manual one.
Sorry if this sounds like a noob question, but I was wondering what are auto dimming rear view mirrors, would appreciate an insight.

Thanks for the awesome review!
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Old 28th May 2011, 23:08   #143
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by theslayer View Post
Sorry if this sounds like a noob question, but I was wondering what are auto dimming rear view mirrors, would appreciate an insight.

Thanks for the awesome review!
You know the glare which comes from the rear view mirror, specially when you are driving in the night. This glare mostly is coming from the headlights of the vehicle behind you. To dim this light on the manual dimming rear view mirror one presses a tab/switch just under the rear view mirror. But in the auto dimming rear view mirror one doesnt need to do anything, it will dim automatically.


Test from Wiki: auto dimming rear-view mirrors have electronic auto-dimming feature built in so the driver is not blinded by glare. These systems usually use photo sensors mounted in the actual rear-view mirror to detect light and dim the mirror. These designs include an older mechanical dimming feature and a more modern electrochromic dimming feature. This electrochromic feature has been also incorporated into side-view mirrors allowing them to dim and reduce glare as well. Mirrors containing such features can, however, be not sensitive enough for many drivers.
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Old 29th May 2011, 08:28   #144
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Saw the car in flesh at Airlines hotel yesterday evening. The car looks confusingly good.

Confusingly good - There is an element of english design (like the Jags) especially at the back and then typical 'french' confusing look (more like a poker face). Overall the car looks brilliant. Very different from what it does on the pictures, for sure it has presence.
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Old 30th May 2011, 00:00   #145
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Today while watching Car and Bike Show, the reporter commented that Renault is not hoping big with this release (The number they quote is about 2000 per year expected sales).

Then the question is why they want to release a model like that? Is it just that they want to have presence felt, while the bread and butter sales would be from other products?

What is the story here?
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Old 30th May 2011, 00:32   #146
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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Today while watching Car and Bike Show, the reporter commented that Renault is not hoping big with this release (The number they quote is about 2000 per year expected sales).
At the Fluence drive, Renault said that they are expecting to sell 2000 cars till the end of 2011, after its launch.
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Old 30th May 2011, 11:01   #147
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review @Stratos. Rated a well deserved 5 stars.

The Fluence looks very good to me and has huge road presence.
Lots of people are cribbing about the pricing of the Diesel variant and its lack of features.

What about the petrol variant? It seems to be fully loaded with features matching the best in the segment and the engine seems to be good as well.
How does the pricing compare with the others is the segment? Say, compared to a Civic AT? (though Fluence kills the Civic in terms of features/equipment levels).

I know the car will not sell given Reanult's brand name in the country but looks to be a good product nevertheless.
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Old 30th May 2011, 13:03   #148
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Hi Stratos,

Thank you for a great review about Fluence.

Some how the car makers are still missing the basics, which is a bothersome trend for our country. The start stop button location as an example
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Old 30th May 2011, 13:26   #149
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Nice review Stratos.

One week since the car launch, still no communication from the company on the product.

Still they are carrying print ads in the paper showing concept cars.

Come on, show the car in the ads. I wonder if they have planned TV commercials too.

2000 cars planned till the year end, shouldn't be that tough.
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Old 31st May 2011, 15:22   #150
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

So far it seems like India is bidding Renault 'Au Revoir' !
I just can't imagine what the market surveyors of Renault fed them.
Not that Renault will be admitting to messing up anytime soon. I guess they have one play left, Launch the fully loaded diesel!
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