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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:00   #61
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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All manufacturers do this. Maruti doesn't offer Airbags in the swift or ritz diesel. Hyundai offers 6 airbags as optional in the petrol variant but only 2 in the CRDi. Nissan doesn't offer ABS or Airbags in the diesel micra.
Actually diesel cars are the ones which have more running than petrol ones on the highways and so they are more prone to accidents. But manufacturers can't seem to understand this so we can't do much.
Is the manufacturing cost of a Diesel engine so much higher than a petrol engine to warrant such skimming of features on the car to reduce the price.

If Renault wants to win some market share.. It can be only through killer pricing.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:31   #62
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Wonderful review!! But all the good part ends there. Pricing has killed all the excitement that the car had created. We are a country of value concious people and unfortunately the most manufacturers are bringing their c+ cars via CKD or CBU way. If these cars were localized, we could have seen much higher volumes in C+ category justifying their localization.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:36   #63
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Thanks for the Great reviews Stratos.

Saw a white fluene today near naraina on ring road. I believe it was coming back from Hyatt, where it was launched.

A keen eye recognised it but in no way did it look like a 15 lac rupee car. The road presence isnt as good as Cruze, Civic or Altis. I personally expect the petrol to be a big flop considering the atrocious price. And then the diesel too will have hard time with the kind of equipment level for a 14 lac rupee car. Forget it Renault, I am afraid but you made a bigger blunder this time than the last time, when the Raw logan was launched with Mahindra.

Forget about Home work, seems like they were absent in class too.

Here are pics of the car I spotted today.


Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-img_0377.jpg

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-img_0378.jpg

Last edited by gaurav_chopra04 : 23rd May 2011 at 22:42.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:01   #64
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review & pictures.

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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
As much as I loved the review (full marks to you Startos) the car seems destined to be an abject failure. I do not know why some manufacturers never learn from their mistakes. It almost feels like someone put a gun on Renault's temple and forced them to launch a car in the Indian market when they would rather have none of it.

A barebones diesel with a lightweight engine in a car that looks much bigger and will cost 15lakhs on-road (for sure) ! In terms of features has almost nothing (RCA inputs!?? please!), the mixed-up ergonomics, boring dash... to me everything sounds like a surefire recipe for disaster. And then think of the Petrol which will sure cross over the 16.5 to 17 lakh territory. In a market as competitive as ours and where people now have choices galore you can not price yourself above some of your competitors and then offer so little in terms of deliverance. I am highly disappointed Renault!
^+1.
Really disappointed with the number of trim levels with which they have launched the Fluence. The Indian market is much more evolved & intelligent now. They know what they want & many researches & data have shown that the majority of Indians will always go for value. Brands like Renault & Fiat do not seem to be learning from their past mistake. Look at how M&M have turned around the Logan (now the the Verito) after separating from Renault.

Take the example of what happened to the ANHC. It hardly took a few months for the Vento to upstage the City, which was the king of that segment for almost a decade now. They were happily sitting being arrogant & basking on their past laurels. And it does not seem to be getting any easier for them with the ANHV coming & the all new Ford Fiesta launching soon. If they don't get their pricing & strategy right for the Brio, then they should already start digging the grave for the same.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:19   #65
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Great Review Stratos.

I kind of like the car. What i dont understand is the statement "Have done the homework on Indian markets" 1 out of 100 marks to Renault. Failed in the ergonomics department in the Logan and they have done it again. Then come this irritating habit of car manufacturers (with the exception of Chevy and to an extent Hyundai) for not loading up their diesel versions, so much so even no Automatic transmission?? With the price of fuel its but natural diesel is going to be the preferred fuel of choice so why do car manufacturers think that a diesel version will not be self driven? See the Vento Diesel, the Toyota diesel the SX4 diesel and now the Renault. What is it with them and when will ford learn that it needs to get an automatic version of its brilliant diesels in the Fiesta and the Figo. Im telling you, one sensibly priced, small diesel car with an auto box will kill the market. Wake up guys.!!

Back to the Renault. The car looks like a premium sedan and it is priced as one and does not deliver in the goodies dept so what does Renault expect fro India? I think Skoda is the only car till the Cruze came in which understood the Indian love for the oil burner (whether one would only travel 5 kms everyday, but still prefer a diesel) gave it a stonking performance, loaded it up to the gills and priced it just perfectly. Sadly the guys who cant get a thing right are the people who choose to ignore this.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:44   #66
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I have a feeling given the pricing Renault is going to try to position this as a premium sedan, some connection with French sophistication perhaps.

I think this kind of pricing is usually the result of lazy marketeers opting for the usual premium positioning in the absence of the ability to think beyond, this becomes kind of a self fulfilling vision internally and in no time you are facing low volumes, and a new kind of justification takes place about brand image success.

I think its important for manufacturers like Renault to try to get volumes, build dealerships and a stronger presence rather than marginalizing themselves, which makes pricing and model choice important. At the moment both Logan and Fluence seem out of sync with the market. With premium advertising a few folks who will pay the price to have a less common car may bite but that kind of one off purchase is rarely a strategy for success.

Is it more important for Renault at this critical stage in their India plans roll out to build volumes or charge 1-1.5 lakhs more and rules themselves out of the market. If you deliver value you will always succeed, which is the whole point of building a brand, that cannot be an end in itself.

Hopefully 6 months 1 year down the line they can change course, but this is a blunder.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 23:48   #67
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Passenger airbag On / Off switch. Located on the driver side of the dashboard!


Why can't they provide Auto Passenger Airbag On/Off with inbuilt sensors (like in Toyota Corolla/Camry in US) in the passenger seat where the sensors automatically turn on/off the passenger airbag based on passenger weight. (For child Safety). This switch looks so down market and does not go with 15+L price tag of the car.
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Old 24th May 2011, 00:30   #68
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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Originally Posted by pugram View Post
Is the manufacturing cost of a Diesel engine so much higher than a petrol engine to warrant such skimming of features on the car to reduce the price.

If Renault wants to win some market share.. It can be only through killer pricing.
Yeah - killer pricing alright - Killed the car even before it could properly find it's way to showrooms!
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Old 24th May 2011, 01:46   #69
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review Stratos.

Good to have you in action too !


Personally, dint like the car - does not sound like a wise buy to put down 15 lakh Rs !

Defintiely NOT !

What is with these foreign brands giving us only half-baked or hand-down products !?

Do they think that the Indian consumer is a fool ?
Or maybe they are - where everyone simply follows the 'herd mania' for a higher branded car!

They forget, there are forums like TeamBHP to the rescue !


VW Vento top end - has ZERO features, Renault Diesel cheap - but only ENTRY variant ?

If this SAME product was priced in the 8-12 lakh range - the proper C segment & not C+ - I am sure it would have still upturned the market.

I think @ 15L - entry level Aria would be a decent package or ofcourse - the Skoda Laura (which deserves a facelift now).
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Old 24th May 2011, 02:27   #70
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review, pretty much covers all aspects. Somehow I was looking forward to a great car from Renault, I still do like the looks to some extent, however I cannot for the life of me seem to ignore that this kind of looks like a mix of Linea and SX4, with a mix and match from both of them. However it still has a distinct look that has a 'love it or hate it' kind of a feel to it.

The petrol variant still has some nice/decent features to it however the diesel variant is just too basic. And then add the price factor to the whole deal of the 2 variants and put it up against the competition, to me none of it is justified.

I wouldn't be surprised to see some people still buy it for the novelty factor and some with enough money to throw around when there are better vehicles available in the market around the same price bracket/range, that have better brand value, abundant service locations, great engines, nice ergonomics, etc. However no offence to anyone, as everyone has a different taste and point of view, however if I go with my common sense then Renault really made another blunder after the Logan fiasco, they didn't study the market, brought in a car with half of the equipment suited for a LHD car and some of the most absurd locations of equipment, for e.g. the Lumbar support handle, the audio controls, the start/stop button, the boot opening handle, just to name a few.

A little OT (however has reference to the topic to some extent):- How many actually visit Team-BHP forum for these reviews, I wish it became a mandate to see the reviews on Team-BHP before buying any car, as the great reviewers here cover even the minutest details and give you the facts and figures un-biased and true to the last word. There was a time when even I didn’t have knowledge about cars and what makes them good or bad. And then I found Team-BHP and I am so thankful to all the people here for the tons of knowledge cookies that I got from here and still continue to do so that made me a more knowledgeable person in regards to vehicles, etc. What I fail to understand is how come manufacturers end up goofing on such simple and obvious things when there bread and butter is all to do with vehicles

Last edited by Stratos : 24th May 2011 at 09:42. Reason: Corrected formatting errors.
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Old 24th May 2011, 07:28   #71
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Thanks for the great review. I had been waiting on it for a bit now!

IMHO, as I compare the Renault Fluence to the New Verna, which is a segment lower, I fail to understand why one would even opt for Fluence over ANHV! It has a much better engine, far superior interiors and equipment list and Hyundai service network. Besides, the only real sore points of ANHV are the soft suspension and low rear seats - and I could see the reviewer mention both of these for Fluence as well. I was anticipating much more from Renault.

Do they plan on launching the Megane anytime in India?
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Old 24th May 2011, 07:36   #72
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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IMHO, as I compare the Renault Fluence to the New Verna, which is a segment lower, I fail to understand why one would even opt for Fluence over ANHV! It has a much better engine, far superior interiors and equipment list and Hyundai service network. Besides, the only real sore points of ANHV are the soft suspension and low rear seats - and I could see the reviewer mention both of these for Fluence as well. I was anticipating much more from Renault.

Do they plan on launching the Megane anytime in India?
Indeed. They should have done better with the pricing - especially with a compromised product like the Fluence.

Not sure of the Megane. From the masked images in Renault website, this is what I infer:
Oct 2011: Koleos SUV
Jan 2012: Clio hatchback
Jul 2012: Duster SUV
Sep 2012: Latitude Sedan (or maybe the Laguna sedan)
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Old 24th May 2011, 08:27   #73
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Excellent review Stratos, and great level of details! Good timing too



Fight with Corolla is ok, but atleast they should have tried with a mid-level variant. Too basic diesel indeed!



4 airbags on the top-end variant. Why an omission of side airbags for the rear passengers?




There should be some level of quirky features. After all its French right?


One question. The CKD kit is from which country?
Fluence is CKDed from Turkey I believe. All their new launches will be made in Chennai at the Nissan plant.
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Old 24th May 2011, 09:34   #74
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Wiki says "System for Restraint and Protection" (SRP), is essentially a system of careful optimisation of occupant restraint by interaction of the seat, seatbelt, pretensioner, load limiter and airbag.

That means some additional sensors to control the way Air Bag is deployed?
I guess this means more safety, better chances of getting the airbag deployed. Experts please comment.

Any news of bookings for Fluence? Probable delivery dates?
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Old 24th May 2011, 09:46   #75
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Just a thought that crossed my mind today, since there was a discussion about the step-motherly treatment towards diesel variants. My diesel Logan (albeit a special edition Edge Connect) is better equipped than the Fluence diesel with beige interiors, leather upholstery, parking sensors, USB, Bluetooth connectivity, oh yea, and almost the same engine as well

The pricing, especially of the diesel variant, seems to be the result of lack of research that Renault have done in India. If it was the other way round, the diesel would come better equipped at that price.

Last edited by Stratos : 24th May 2011 at 09:49.
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