Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Team-BHP Reviews > Official New Car Reviews


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:25   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

The Renault Fluence has been launched in India at a price of 12.99 - 14.40 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Solid build quality. Feels sturdy enough to withstand abuse
• Very spacious interiors. Easily the roomiest from this segment
• Balanced ride & handling package
• Well-equipped top variant (including 4 airbags, ESP, dual zone climate control, digital speedo etc.)
• Choice of smooth & revv-happy petrol, or economical diesel

What you won’t:

• The petrol engine's CVT gearbox is slow to respond. Saps the engine of power
• Diesel engine lacks the outright power of the direct competition
• Messed up ergonomics. Also, many controls clearly have a left-hand-drive orientation
• Only 1 variant for petrol engine. No choice to the customer
• Renault's wafer-thin dealer and service network

The 2014 Facelift:

Review Link (2014 Renault Fluence Facelift : Driven)


Last edited by GTO : 30th April 2014 at 14:16. Reason: Adding link to the facelift review
Stratos is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:25   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

The Black Fluence pictured here is the diesel, while the Champagne Beige is the petrol.





Take II, Renault.

After a divorce with Mahindra & the Logan sedan, Renault has decided to continue its Indian operations alone. Nissan (Renault owns a 44.3% stake in Nissan) has had a relatively good start with the Micra hatchback, and has also successfully positioned its Chennai factory for exports to Europe. Nissan's experience in setting a distribution network, and the learnings from the Mahindra alliance, will no doubt influence Renault's future strategies. Now, like Nissan, Renault is also establishing its own, independent dealer network. It's not going to be an easy task, as Renault lost 4 years of time since the Mahindra-Renault partnership launched the Logan in 2007. And the Logan has given it an image of cut-cost, outdated cars. This could be one of the reasons why Renault is starting its second innings in a "top down" manner, with a sedan costing over a million rupees, only to bring in the sub-10 lakh cars later.

The current generation Fluence was globally launched in 2009, and is based on the Renault - Nissan C Platform; this platform is also common to the Nissan X-Trail & Renault Megane hatchback. It is the first of 5 new cars that Renault intends to bring to our market in the coming 2 years. The Fluence arrives as a CKD from Turkey. However, Renault is quick to add that all future launches will be locally manufactured at the Chennai plant (shared with Nissan).

Renault is adopting a very curious approach to this segment, at least initially, where the diesel engine is only offered via a stripped down variant. From the engine & variant options, it's obvious that the Fluence is targeting the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla's success in India can be attributed to the car's VFM pricing, no-nonsense nature, practicality, petrol & diesel engines and, of course, the T badge up at the front. However, unlike the Altis which offers a multitude of variants, the Fluence will only be offered in a single variant for either engine. It's noteworthy to mention the Chevrolet Cruze' highly successful positioning strategy here. Chevy knew that competing against the Altis was a tall order. Hence, it equipped the Cruze with a blow 'em away powerful diesel, stunning looks and a full equipment list that included some segment first features. Result? The Cruze is the best selling diesel sedan in the 10+ lakh category.

After the dated looking Renault Logan, the Fluence's curves bring some relief. The Fluence appears larger in pictures than it actually is in person. Dimension wise, the car has a wheel base of 2703 mm, 125 mm longer than the Skoda Laura and 103 mm more than the Corolla Altis. Renault is famous for making extreme designs, from the good looking Clio to the odd-ball Vel Satis or Avantime. With the Fluence however, they have kept their design principles simple. The looks are nothing to write home about; it's not a great looker, but not ugly either. The front is quirky with its large headlamps, tiny grill and the deep-dish style bonnet. Even the huge logo is embossed deep inside the bodywork. The rear end is typically European, with long wrap-around tail lamps and a large license plate area on the trunk lid. Like most modern cars, the side profile gets a progressively climbing waistline and thick body cladding on the doors. The petrol Fluence gets chrome treatment on the front grill, fog lamps and rear number plate (no chrome on the diesel!). Surprisingly for a CKD, there were inconsistent panel gaps at certain places. You will remember similar comments in GTO's Micra review (link (Nissan Micra : Test Drive & Review)). Obviously, the Chennai factory needs to be brought up to speed in this area. Gaps aside, the Fluence feels solid & sturdy enough, and should easily withstand the kind of abuse meted out by Indian roads. Paint quality was overall top notch.

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-fluencecomparo.jpg

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-prices01.jpg

The petrol Fluence I drove was equipped with ESP (electronic stability program), ABS + EBD brakes, ASR (traction control), 4 Airbags (2 front and 2 side), leather seats, CD / MP3 audio system with USB / AUX / Bluetooth compatibility, dual zone climate control, rear air-con vents, rear & side sun blinds, cruise control, rear parking aid system, automatic head-lamp on feature, rain sensing wipers and an engine start / stop button. The bare minimum diesel, on the other hand, loses the side airbags, chrome accents, leather seats, climate control, rear air-con vents, auto headlamps & wipers, rear parking aid, cruise control, sun blinds and even proper stereo AUX inputs! Cars costing over 10 lakh rupees must have a feel-good factor, which the diesel Fluence is sorely missing.







Large headlamps:


Wrap around tail-lamps look typically European. Notice the inconsistent panel gaps (obvious in other areas too). Not expected from a CKD:


Fog lamps. Only petrol variant gets a chrome outline:


Thick cladding of the doors:


Press the black request sensor (with the key in your pocket) and the car unlocks:


205/60 R16 tyres mounted on 10 spoke alloy wheels:


Excellent grip for a stock tyre:


170 mm of ground clearance:



Last edited by Stratos : 23rd May 2011 at 14:47.
Stratos is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:26   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review



As long as the smart card is in your pocket, simply press the request sensor on the door handle to unlock the Fluence. Once you are in and place the smart card in a dedicated slot on the center console, the Fluence unfolds its electric mirrors automatically. The petrol Fluence comes with a two-tone beige and black interior that immediately lends a feeling of airiness to the insides. The silver garnish looks nice too, and doesn't have the annoying reflective look of chrome. The quality of plastics is good, nothing feels cheap or flimsy here. Leather seats are standard on the petrol. On the other hand, the diesel variant has an all-black interior which is very dull to look at. Even though the quality of parts & plastics is good to the touch, they look rather cheap on the diesel, thanks to the dark colour . Renault should not have removed the silver garnish from the diesel, as it would have provided a nice contrast with the dark interior. The lack of leather seats in the diesel Fluence further adds to the bare & basic feeling.

Even the tallest of occupants will sit comfortably at the front, since the seats have a long travel range. Further, the 1813 mm width allows excellent lateral space. The front seats are comfortable too. I did find the height adjustment range of the driver's seat to be limited though. Manual lumbar support is provided, but I wish you good luck in accessing the adjustment handle (placed in a narrow gap between the center armrest and the driver seat). The center armrest does not interfere with your elbow when shifting gears. It's not adjustable and some drivers may be left wanting for a better support position. The anti-whiplash neck restraints (headrests) can be made to protrude out, and work well as a resting spot for your head. The driver footwell is wide enough and the pedals are adequately spaced out. There's a dead pedal too, though it's too slim for those with large feet. Rear legroom is very good. I adjusted the front passenger seat to my setting (5’11” height), then jumped behind, and still had room to spare! Note that the back seat is best for two adults only. The third passenger will feel uncomfortable due to the protruding center seat and the large floor hump. Headroom at the back is strictly average, thanks to the sloping roof. The taller amongst us will also have to watch out while getting in and out of the car, as the roof can get in the way (I found out...twice ). The rear seat recline angle is perfect, as is the under-thigh support for long journeys. The seat fabric is soft & feels comfortable. The center armrest is wide, albeit not long enough to rest your complete forearm on. Add to that, the uncovered cup-holders which irritate your arm. I have experienced this in my Logan, and now in the Fluence, that the rear neck restraints are amongst the most comfortable ones in the Indian market today. They are located at just the perfect position and provide excellent head & neck support. The petrol variant gets manual sun-shades on the rear windows as well as the rear windscreen. The doors open wide enough, but the rear seat is placed on the lower side.

While most switches and control knobs are properly placed, a few still remind you that the Fluence is a French car with flawed ergonomics. For instance, the engine start / stop button is placed toward the left of the console (clearly for left-hand-drive variants). The headlight & side-indicator stalks are positioned at quite a distance from the steering wheel, thus making it difficult to operate on the go. The cruise-control switch is ridiculously placed next to the handbrake. The bonnet release lever is in the passenger footwell, and the handbrake also is planted closer to the front passenger than the driver!

The steering has tilt & telescopic adjustment. It is just the right size, and is nice to hold. The music system & phone controls are oddly placed behind the steering wheel (on the right hand side). There are seven switches, plus a roller, but the unfriendly positioning makes it difficult to locate the control of your choice. On the steering wheel itself, you'll find the cruise control buttons (including speed limiter). The door armrests are big enough to rest a wide forearm comfortably on, while driving. The instrument cluster, with its big digital speedometer, is very easy to read. The digital speedo console also hosts the engine temperature and fuel level gauges. You can toggle through the MID via a switch on the wiper knob. Data thrown out is standard fare; odometer, trip meter, distance to empty, average speed and average fuel economy. The currently chosen gear also pops up if you are using the manual-mode of the CVT (petrol engine).

Renault says that they have researched the Indian market and made appropriate changes to the Fluence. I guess they overlooked our love for a big glovebox. The Fluence's glovebox is possibly one the smallest I have ever seen. 60% of the potential space is used by the fuse-box, making the available room barely enough to accommodate two light bulbs and a tiny booklet. Trying to fit even a single soda can will lead to disappointing results!! Either front door gets a deep side pocket and a 500 ml bottle holder. There is one cup holder ahead of the gear lever, and another cubby-hole next to the handbrake area (which holds the removable ash-tray). The center armrest also gets a deep storage compartment underneath. Those at the back won't complain much; they get deep door pockets and large seat back pockets too! The 530 liter boot has a practical layout and will easily swallow airport / holiday luggage. The rear seat can fold down, including in a 60:40 ratio, for when storage flexibility is required.

The petrol variant is equipped with a dual-zone climate control system and rear AC vents. The system did its job well in cooling the cabin in the hot Chennai heat. I can't comment on the chilling factor though, as it was in the middle of a summer morning without tinted glasses. The diesel only gets basic HVAC controls, and chauffeur-driven passengers will miss rear air-con vents.

High quality leather-wrapped steering. Need to stretch your thumb for the horn pad:


Audio & Phone controls oddly placed behind the steering wheel. Ergonomically poor:


Easy to read digital speedometer:


Dual-zone climate control system:


Display (on top of the dashboard) shows the currently playing audio track, outside temperature and time. Difficult to read under direct sunlight:


Boring interiors of the diesel variant:


Dedicated slot (below the music system) for the smart access key:


CVT II automatic gearbox in the Petrol Fluence:


6-speed manual transmission in the oil burner:


You can switch the ASR & Parking Sensors off:


Comfortable front seats with good under-thigh support:


The height-adjustment control is vague. Adjustment range too short:


Driver side mirror / window control switchboard. Electric folding mirrors only available with the petrol Fluence:


Well-sized mirrors. Area outside the dotted line is more convex than the area inside. Helps in reducing blind spots:


Comfortable rear seats:


With the front seat adjusted for a 5'11" occupant, there is still considerable legroom at the back for a 5' 10" passenger:


Passenger seat pushed all the way ahead & driver seat all the way back (for range comparison):


Rear windscreen and window blinds. Again, only available with the petrol:



Rear AC vents provide acceptable throw:


Tiny glovebox. Why even bother giving one? The fusebox is to the left:


Compartment to store your sunglasses. Bluetooth microphone inside the circular grille:


Deep storage spot under the center armrest:


Slim dead-pedal cannot accommodate a size 10 shoe:


530 liter boot has a practical layout:


Rear seat can split into a 60:40 ratio. Doesn't fold down completely though:
Stratos is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:26   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review




The petrol Fluence is powered by a 2.0L engine which produces 135 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 190 Nm of torque (@3,700 rpm). As of now, the petrol is only available with a CVT automatic gearbox. Within the city, the Fluence CVT is an absolute breeze to drive. The gearbox goes about its work in an absolutely smooth manner, as is typical of CVTs. The rubber-band effect isn't much prominent at urban speeds either. This, coupled with the super light steering, makes maneuvering & parking in the city an effortless task. The petrol engine was jointly developed with Nissan, making the Japanese revv-happiness & refinement levels immediately obvious.

On the open road though, it's a different story. The CVT's rubber-band effect is annoying, and clearly saps the 135 BHP engine of power. The response time in automatic mode is slow too, and thus there's very less confidence while overtaking a fast moving vehicle. Switching to manual mode helps you control the gear-changes, but even then, the upshift / downshift action is not satisfactory. This gearbox might be great if you are a sedate driver and looking primarily at driving in the city. Enthusiasts better look elsewhere. On a straight road, keep the accelerator buried and the Fluence will cruise at 160 kph. But progress isn't as rapid as you'd expect of a 135 BHP engine. You might improve your timing if you work your way up in manual mode, yet the difference won't be much. The engine revvs all the way up to 6,100 rpm, though it can get audible at 4,500 rpm and above. A proper 5 or 6 speed manual gearbox is sorely missed in the petrol Fluence.

The petrol Fluence's steering weighs up sufficiently well over 60 kph. It remains balanced in terms of weight, and is very direct in response. Mind you, it is not a pure hydraulic steering in terms of feel, but at the same time, this is amongst the better electronic power steering units available today.




The diesel variant is powered by the same 1.5 liter K9K engine from the Renault Logan (Mahindra Verito) & Nissan Micra. Thanks to the bigger variable geometry turbo, the 1.5L now makes 105 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 240 Nm of torque (@ 2,000 rpm). The engine which performs well in the Logan does a good job in the Fluence as well. On the outside, the diesel makes a noticeable clatter during idle, which smoothens out (to an extent) once the car is in motion. Turbolag is noticeable lower down the revv range. If you are at less than 1,900 rpm and need instant go, a downshift is the only way forward. The lag takes some getting used to. Work around the lag, keep the revv needle over 2,000 rpm, and you'll enjoy the torque. There is consistent power delivery thereafter. This motor appears to be way more refined in the Fluence than in the Logan. Noise is well controlled in the regular driving range upto 3,200 rpm; thereafter, the diesel motor is audible on the inside. The engine redlines at 5,100 rpm and, with the availability of usable torque at 2000 rpm, highway overtaking is a piece of cake. A prominent turbo whistle is nice to the ears too. The presence of a 6th gear is welcome, as the engine begs for an upshift at 140 kph in 5th. The diesel Fluence is an excellent long-distance mile muncher. Of course, this engine is most suited to a sedate driving style, and cannot match the performance of a car like the Chevrolet Cruze which has approximately 40% more BHP & torque.

The 6-speed manual transmission seems so much more suited to the Fluence than the CVT. The gear shift quality is smooth, but the throw is long. The clutch is firm (requires effort), has a medium-length throw and negligible play. The simplicity of this diesel drivetrain results in the Fluence feeling like a rugged workhorse. The steering in the diesel is heavier than its petrol counterpart, and still very precise in action. On the negative side, it stays numb when tackling turns at high speeds, providing almost no feedback to the driver. The turning radius is surprisingly good for a car of this size. Also, the cabin is sufficiently sealed from road and wind noise.

The suspension is tuned to be slightly soft; at low speeds, bad roads don't make passengers uncomfortable at all. On the highway, road undulations are dismissed off with ease, and the suspension does its job quietly as well. Ride quality is all-round good. Disc brakes on all the four wheels, accompanied by ABS & Electronic Brake Distribution, are standard. They are extremely effective at highway speeds, bringing the car to a halt from three-digit speeds with no drama at all. The Fluence also gets ESP (Electronic Stability Program) as standard, and it was working hard to keep the car disciplined, even when being pushed hard around corners. There was not a single instance when it felt that the car or the tyres are giving away. Thanks to the 205/60 R16 tyres, grip levels are excellent, with negligible tyre noise to boot. The Fluence is no enthusiastic corner carver though; "safe" and "stable" would be appropriate terms here. Body roll is noticeable when the car is thrown around corners at high speeds though. One reason might be the increased ride height of the India-spec Fluence, the other its softly-tuned suspension. The ground clearance of 170 mm and balanced suspension made sure that the car did not scrape its underbody anywhere. Unlike some international markets in which the Fluence gets 15 inch wheels, Renault decided to use only 16 inchers in India.

Last edited by Stratos : 24th May 2011 at 12:59.
Stratos is offline   (15) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:26   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

The Smaller yet Significant Things:

Cheap looking Start / Stop button. Awkwardly placed too!


AUX / USB inputs for the sound system (petrol):


When was the last time you saw an RCA AUX input? This is, shockingly, the only option in the diesel variant:


The smart card. Metal key concealed inside:


In case of a dead battery, the key can lock / unlock the front doors this way...


...and lock the rear doors this way:


Footwell of the diesel variant. ABC pedals are placed sufficiently apart. Slim dead-pedal:


Dull fabric upholstery on the diesel:


Good luck accessing the lumbar support control, placed in a narrow gap between the driver seat and center armrest:


Rear door pockets are deep enough to fit two 500 ml bottles:


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


Cruise control switch is weirdly placed next to the handbrake:


Parking sensors on the petrol Fluence only:


The wipers do not fold up, unless the bonnet is lifted slightly. ACM says this is an anti-theft measure:

Last edited by Stratos : 23rd May 2011 at 15:28.
Stratos is offline   (10) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:26   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
Stratos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Mumbai, IN
Posts: 2,593
Thanked: 1,210 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Other Points:

- At the time of launch, the Fluence will be sold in 12 cities across India via 14 dealerships.

- Anti-rust warranty of 5 Years / 1,00,000 kms.

- The only RHD Fluence in the world to get beige interiors.

- Electric folding mirrors only operate automatically when the smart card is placed in its slot.

- Auto dimming rear-view mirror standard with the Petrol, diesel gets a manual one.

- ARAI Fuel Efficiency Figures: Petrol = 13.42 kpl / Diesel = 21.84 kpl.

- Will be available in 4 colors options; beige, black, white and maroon.

- 4 Years / 80,000 kms Standard Warranty.

- A Zero-Emission (Z.E) Fluence will go on sale by the end of 2011 in certain European markets.

- Expect to see huge Renault concept-car billboards in your city soon.

- Thanks to GTO for the additional points.

Disclaimer : Renault invited Team-BHP for the Fluence test-drive. They covered the accommodation expenses.

Last edited by GTO : 20th June 2012 at 14:03. Reason: Removing NCAP rating as there appears to be lack of clarity on the same
Stratos is offline   (26) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:41   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 351
Thanked: 341 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

@Stratos: Wonderful and detailed review. Thanks a lot.

10 to 14 lac space is one I am keenly watching and after reading the review, fluence seems to be a let down - ergonomics wise, engine choice wise, cost wise... not sure, if it would make short list of any one in this space. Not sure, if Renault really did their homework. Altis and Cruze are going to provide very tough competition. Need to look at sales numbers in coming months.
Simhi is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:46   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
blackasta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Kolkata, WB
Posts: 2,776
Thanked: 955 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Wonderful review as usual Stratos.
Bits and pieces of the car look out of place and few of the systems happened like 'ok we are going to keep this feature, but make it out of second grade stuff' - somehow the finesse of a car cost on the north side of 10 lakhs is missing - especially from the diesel.
Tough to win a war with the stylish civic, butch cruze and workhorse corolla. Renault better start assembling the clio / megane fast if they wish to capture market share.
blackasta is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:48   #9
Distinguished - BHPian
 
naveen.raju's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cochin
Posts: 3,737
Thanked: 3,125 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Good one Stratos. Was waiting for the review. After seeing the reviews on few auto shows, I came to know that this would definitely go down the drain, especially the Diesel variant. People are looking for better diesel variants nowadays and they come up with this? Compared to the petrol model, the diesel lacks the gizmos.

Bad ergonomics, weird start/stop button, no ACC and many more.

As Simhi mentioned, guess Renault didnt do their homework. Anyways, let's see what they have to offer.

Last edited by naveen.raju : 23rd May 2011 at 13:51.
naveen.raju is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 13:55   #10
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,734
Thanked: 89,264 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Curious strategy indeed, Stratos. Excellent review & equally good pictures, rating 5 stars!

The Fluence – especially in diesel form – seems like a solid workhorse; however, it should have been priced as one too!! And man, the bare basic equipment level is a downer.

European manufacturers always find it a challenge to price their cars well in the cost-sensitive Indian market. The primary reason for the Logan’s initial failure was that it, as a workhorse, cost 1 lakh rupees more than the other workhorse (Tata Indigo) at the time of launch. I was hoping Renault would play it super-conservative and price the Fluence well. Unfortunately, they’ve missed the mark. I wouldn’t want to drive around in a 15 lakh rupee diesel car (on the road) that does NOT even have leather seats or a proper AUX / USB input for my iPod!! Plus, it’s only got a 1.5 liter engine. Then, there’s the fully loaded petrol which has a long list of kit. Unfortunately, with petrol at 68 bucks a liter, few will be interested in a petrol + CVT Automatic that really won’t be fuel efficient either. Look at where the Honda Civic sits with its petrol sales. Plus, the petrol Fluence is more expensive than the Civic AT and nearly on par with the Altis AT. The former, especially, gets better equipment and the T badge.

The Chevrolet Cruze was a case study in itself; GM knew it didn’t have the brand value to compete with segment-leader Toyota. Hence, it came to the battleground with a powerful engine, fully loaded equipment list and a marketing message that emphasized on power & performance. The Chevy Cruze took over the lead from the Altis in some months! I'm afraid Renault has not done its homework, nor has it positioned the Fluence properly.
GTO is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 14:07   #11
ACM
Distinguished - BHPian
 
ACM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 4,152
Thanked: 2,457 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Stratos

Great Review

the Wiper not lifting without the bonnet being lifted does not seem to be a design flaw but a safety feature, to prevent the blades being stolen.

The Laura to has this and one has a specific procedure to follow to change the blades where it comes up upright, if the wiper stalk is moved when the car is in ignition off mode.

the Fluence seems to have a lot of good bits, but an equal number of not so great aspects.

I just don't think Indians will pump this kind of money for a renault (expecially after the M&M Logan incident), The Maruti big "K" (just can't ever spell it right ever) would seem a better bet if one wanted something different.

The Cruz seems a better bet even today compared to this. Renault has just made a half heated attempt. They should have started with something significantly smaller first.
ACM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 14:11   #12
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Pune, Melbourne
Posts: 637
Thanked: 383 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent Review Stratos. While the car definitely looks stunning and specious, Renault has made a big mistake in pricing department especially the Diesel variant…IMO.
A barebone 1.5 Diesel without even AUX/USB has an OTR price of around 15L. All the best to Renault selling it in Indian market!
If this is the Renault strategy then the Duster below 10L looks unlikely!

Last edited by C300 : 23rd May 2011 at 14:12. Reason: formatting
C300 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 14:15   #13
NIP
Senior - BHPian
 
NIP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,151
Thanked: 81 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Thanks for that Stratos !! Inside ergonomics look like a big mess !!! I also think both diesel and petrol should have come in similar trims. Extremely disappointing considering most folk would consider diesel. The new Verna offers better value IMO.
NIP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 14:21   #14
Team-BHP Support
 
moralfibre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: MH-12
Posts: 6,622
Thanked: 6,144 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Nice review Stratos. Flawed ergonomics, poor equipment list, average engines, over priced, does Renault really stand a chance of making a mark in this market as a new entrant post the divorce with Mahindra? I doubt!
moralfibre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2011, 14:24   #15
Distinguished - BHPian
 
vb-san's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: S'pore/Thrissur
Posts: 4,693
Thanked: 3,869 Times
Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review Stratos, and great level of details! Good timing too

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
Renault is adopting a very curious approach to this segment, at least initially, where the diesel engine is only offered via a stripped down variant. From the engine & variant options, it's obvious that the Fluence is targeting the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla's success in India can be attributed to the car's VFM pricing, no-nonsense nature, practicality, petrol & diesel engines and, of course, the T badge up at the front. However, unlike the Altis which offers a multitude of variants, the Fluence will only be offered in a single variant for either engine. It's noteworthy to mention the Chevrolet Cruze' highly successful positioning strategy here. Chevy knew that competing against the Altis was a tall order. Hence, it equipped the Cruze with a blow 'em away powerful diesel, stunning looks and a full equipment list that included some segment first features. Result? The Cruze is the best selling diesel sedan in the 10+ lakh category.
Fight with Corolla is ok, but atleast they should have tried with a mid-level variant. Too basic diesel indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
The petrol Fluence I drove was equipped with ESP (electronic stability program), ABS + EBD brakes, ASR (traction control), 4 Airbags (2 front and 2 side), leather seats, CD / MP3 audio system with USB / AUX / Bluetooth compatibility, dual zone climate control, rear air-con vents, rear & side sun blinds, cruise control, rear parking aid system, automatic head-lamp on feature, rain sensing wipers and an engine start / stop button. The bare minimum diesel, on the other hand, loses the side airbags, chrome accents, leather seats, climate control, rear air-con vents, auto headlamps & wipers, rear parking aid, cruise control, sun blinds and even proper stereo AUX inputs! Cars costing over 10 lakh rupees must have a feel-good factor, which the diesel Fluence is sorely missing.
4 airbags on the top-end variant. Why an omission of side airbags for the rear passengers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
While most switches and control knobs are properly placed, a few still remind you that the Fluence is a French car with flawed ergonomics. For instance, the engine start / stop button is placed toward the left of the console (clearly for left-hand-drive variants). The headlight & side-indicator stalks are positioned at quite a distance from the steering wheel, thus making it difficult to operate on the go. The cruise-control switch is ridiculously placed next to the handbrake. The bonnet release lever is in the passenger footwell, and the handbrake also is planted closer to the front passenger than the driver!
There should be some level of quirky features. After all its French right?


One question. The CKD kit is from which country?
vb-san is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Turbulence and the Renault Fluence EDIT: 4500 kms & a few interior pics Rameshdude Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 97 24th April 2012 05:39
Renault Fluence pics revtech Shifting gears 4 24th September 2005 12:57


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 15:53.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks