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Old 22nd July 2011, 22:34   #1
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Default Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

After numerous proposals (quotations) and many one night stands (test drives), this beautiful parisian beauty stole my heart and drove straight into my home ! Oh yes of course shes dressed in pristine white. Its important to add that it was not love at first sight, rather it was love at first drive! (shall be explained later)


Am 30 years 'young', recently married, living with parents in Calcutta.
We currently drive a Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Hyundai Santro AT. Have previously owned an Esteem AT and my beloved yellow Zen.
This purchase is very special as it is MY FIRST car buy.

I have been waiting for a long time for this one and the search began on May 23, my 30th birthday.

The Requirement

Automatic Transmission.

Good Looking exterior and interiors
- i must be attracted to her !

Well equipped
- Am a gadget geek, love anything and everything to do with electronics, gadets, internet and technology. So folding mirrors, keyless entry, ipod sync, reverse camera, steering mounted controls and information displays make my world go round.

Drive and Handling
- it was essential the car had excellent suspension,good in-city steering and should give me the confidence of a stable sturdy car. Although i wasn't too concerned with absolute power or high speed cornering as long as it gave me enough acceleration to overtake and stayed stable and non bouncy at cruising speeds.

Engine, Performance and Mileage
- As far as engine, power and performance are concerned, I did not have any preset parameters. I wanted to let the test drive do the talking rather than follow the specifications of engine size, bhp, torque. The drive should have good power distribution, good pick up, engine should be smooth and refined. That's all !

Mileage is tricky. While of course i was looking to keep the running cost optimal, but this wasn't the deal maker or breaker as the actual usage is quite less. (approx. 5000 kms a year).

Safety: Airbags and ABS were essential.

Comfortable and luxurious - this means leather seats, leg room, and just overall feel of pampering which comes from little details like follow me home lights, door lights , vanity lights , auto wipers and lights etc.

The Contenders

Skin deep beauty Hyundai Verna - the launch of this car kind of got me thinking of finally getting a car. Pros - good looks, fully loaded with equipment and safety features. Cons- poor handling and soft suspension, rear seat comfort, too much i20 influence.

Oh so common Honda City - probably still the best car in the segment as far as performance and ownership satisfaction are concerned, but just not desireable anymore. Pros - tried and tested performance and quality, arrow shot front looks great. Cons - very very common, silver central console looks bad, low equipment list.

Vanilla VW Vento - VW looks like the new honda, as the new aspirational brand. Pros- aspirational brand value, looks have grown on me and now i find the vento one of the better looking cars, rear ac vents, good quality of interiors. Cons- surprisingly, the drive was not what i expected, Hard suspension, plain jane equipment, no steering mounted controls.

The Verna was ahead in the race. Mom and wife also preferred the verna to both the 'Common' City and 'Vanilla' Vento. But they were still questions ... Dealers did not have an automatic for test drive. Dodgy handling and drive, i just knew this wasn't it. I checked my finances and decided to look up one segment

Honda Civic -again, too old and too common. Still took a TD but none of us were very impressed.

Toyota Altis
- looks much better than before, but it always was a little boring in personality. I would have chosen this for my dad, but for me ...nope! Mind you, the 7 speed automatic and power seats are great!

Skoda Laura
- more expensive than the rest, had already jumped a segment. Further again great mix of performance and luxury but didn't do it for me.

Chevrolet Cruze
- i almost chose to cruze. Great looking car, had also selected the sandrift grey color. Awesome mix of power, performance and looks. Add to that, it is diesel ! Wow ! Had seen the massive cruze following amongst fellow BHPians and the caska unit as an add on.

However, A friend kept asking me to TD the Fluence and so i thought why not ?!

'First Date' - the test drive.

I had already seen the pics online and also witnessed the almost unanimous bashing of the fluence on this forum.

At first, the beige interiors mixed with a retro looking dash, beige steering wheel n all looked ugly !! Still one TD would not harm and literally a day before booking the cruze, i requested for a TD. I got a call in the evening that the car was on its way at the requested time. So me and my wife went down to the drive in where we we greeted by a beautiful black french diva.

This was the first time i saw the car in flesh. It looked awesome ! Wider and longer than any of the cars tested earlier. Can't decide till now which is better, the sleek sport front or the jag like big wide back. We got into the back seat of the car and immediately both of us were enveloped in a lap of luxury! My wife whispered and asked what segment this car belonged to and was pleasantly surprised to know it was the same cost as Cruze LTZ AT.

The drive was serene, really comfortable smooth and quiet. Rear ac vents and sun shades for windows and rear wind shield along with the sheer size and spaciousness of the cabin made it feel like a skoda superb competitor. We drove further and picked up my parents. The reaction from mom was same as wife's ! Wow... How much is this car for ? It should be noted that we are also searching for a car for my dad, so have tested the superb , accord and passat as well.
The fact the this car was being confused with one of those was a major factor.

I got into the drivers seat and voila ! As soon as you insert the smart card, the cabin lights up, the instrument panel welcomes you and the side mirrors automatically fold out, almost to say that she is all ears As soon as i pressed the acceleration, i was greeted with the most butter smooth engine feedback and car movement i have ever experienced. The steering is an absolute delight ! Light weight when going slow and turning and twisting around city obstacles and gradually stiffens up as the car starts to cruise.

There is minimal turbo lag, the gear shifts are absolutely unnoticeable while driving, something i believe is typical of cvt transmission. The 6 speed autobox is an absolute pleasure and when in the mood, i can switch it to manual where i can upshift and downshift as required. Note: on breaking, the down shifts happen automatically as well. Seats are very comfortable and manually adjustable in every direction.

I was eager to check out the so called quirkiness of the french. 2 obvious left handed drive orientation is the position of the lever for the bonnet, located in front of the passenger seat and the start stop button. i also checked out the steering controls.

Only cruise control functions are actually mounted on the steering. The controls for the phone and audio system are behind the wheel on the right.

Messed up right ? Not at all ! This is the most convenient and perhaps most ergonomically suited ! No i haven't been blinded by love, it really is.

For a gizmo geek like me specially! The genuis ofthe system is how it is used. The buttons are trigger like buttons which you pull towards yourself, much like one doesto use the dipper lights. Plus there is a jog dial which again is easy to scroll without takingbyour hands off the wheel. Infact why i feel this is better than most others is that your thumb is actually free and you neednt shift your hold on the steering to control the audio or phone.

Dual zone climate zones with really good cooling, Amazing front and rear seat comfort, the sound system sounded so-so, which was strange as the salesperson claimed that the car was fitted with bose speakers. More on this later.

Overall we were all mighty impressed with this car and really the decision was made even without saying a word, you could see the approval in our eyes.

Living with her !

It has been exactly a week that ive got my white fluence and i am absolutely loving it!

As soon as i catch a glimpse of the car every morning, it brings a smile to my face, and that is something i love! Just grip the door handle and the car senses the proximity of the card and unlocks. The cabin gets well illumiated on entering. The renault welcome screen appears on the centre display. You may choose to insert the card in the dedicated slot or just keep it in your pocket or anywhere in the car. If you insert the card, the instrument cluster lights up and the side view mirrors automatically open outwards. Else the same happens when you press the start button. The car has alot of presence on the road, as i have turned many heads and also had many people coming up and asking about the car. I am yet to see another one on the road yet, but i am told quite a few have been sold.

The instrument cluster has 3 sections. An analog rpm meter, central lcd display for digital speedometer and a information display on the right. Behind teh steering is the stalk with audio and phone controls. This package combined is my most favourite part of the car. Yes thats right, the 'quirky' placement of the audio controls are actually the most user friendly feature of the fluence. Okay maybe your dad will take some time getting used to it, but i took to it like a fish to water! The sound system is actually really good ! My initial impression was not that great coz the settings were all messed up.

Also, there is some confusion regarding the make of the speakers. The salesguy claimed that it was a BOSE system. I did my research and found that the international model did indeed have bose speakers, but the indian website did not even mention it. For this reason i was pretty convinced that they were not bose. However the sound quality is really good and the manual i have does mention bose speakers. Still not sure about this. The car syncs really well with my ipod and my phone. There is USB, 3.5mm aux as well as bluetooth connectivity.

Automatic wipers and headlights are little bits of pampering which i have already experienced. The wipers are really intelligent and swipe only when needed and the lights are a great add on. Go into a tunnel n the lights come on automatically. Then there is cruise control, which albeit a little redundant in city driving, still feels great to have. A nice touch is the green surrounding light on the speedometer when cc is on. Another feature is the speed limited which is maybe more useful ! I have been running in the car, the manual advices not to cross 3500rpm till 1000kms. So will get back on the raw power of the car when floored. However, i can already sense the power burst after about 2500 rpm.

But the cars feel is such that you dont really wanna push it ! Its so smooth, really butter smooth, refined and isolates you from the noisy outside to put you in a really nice place that you dont really wanna go hard on it. It is slow as per the numbers, 0-100 in 13.4 seconds, but i am very happy with the acceleration and power which i can feel is there to be unleashed.

As of now the mileage reading is around 275 kms at an average of about 7 per litre. Thats not great but acceptable in this segment i guess. This really is the only negative for the car in my books.

Ohhh yess, when you walk away from the car, she locks herself and folds the side mirrors! Wow!


At 15.5 lacs, i defintely think this is the best automatic transmission you can get !

Why i love it: long and wide, yet sporty stance. Biggest in class. Steering and handling. Suspension. Fully loaded equipment list. Great user interface with audio stalk controls. Good crystal clear audio. Leg room front and back. Rear ac vents. Rear and rear side sunshades. Great seats.

What would make me love it more : Sunroof Reverse parking camera.

What i dont like: Mileage, currently giving about 7 kpl.

That really is all about my new fluence. Trust me i havent written so much ... Like ever !

Last edited by Dheeraj23 : 31st July 2011 at 18:34.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:03   #2
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Thread moved from Assembly Line.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:10   #3
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congrats on your new "LOVE" Dheeraj. Have fun with her and try to keep her away from notorious autowallahs . And yes , drive safe.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:11   #4
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Let me be the among the first few to congratulate you on your purchase of the Renault fluence This is one of the first fluences on team-bhp

Wish you many miles of joy and driving pleasure with your new Fluence! It certainly is a great looker

Nice to know about the intelligent wipers and lights, and cruise control. Do post some pictures of the beauty - especially those of the interiors and dashboard console. Tell us more about the car's features and the driving experience part. One of my friends is planning to buy the Fluence AT and I will refer him to this thread in the future.

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Old 1st August 2011, 10:21   #5
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Dheeraj - Congrats on this purchase and a very nicely written intial review. Since this would be amongst the first ones on TBHP, you owe others pictures, sales experience and ownership reviews.

I was surprised with the current economy you've got. I though at least 10 would be a fair expectation.

Happy Motoring.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:23   #6
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congratulations on teh buy - I think this is one of the first ownership threads of Fluance on T-Bhp.

Nice to know about so many intelligent and nice to have features - they do make the ownership experience richer.

Please post loads of pictures.

PS: How was the experience at Renault dealership? what are the service intervals like?
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:25   #7
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Welcome to Team-BHP and congrats for the buy Dheeraj. Nice car,nicely written account.

I have a few questions though!!

1.Is it a petrol or diesel version-not clear.Even though there is a mention of turbo lag.
2.What colour the car is-is she black?
3.How was the dealer experience?There has been concern-esp since Noopster's account of the Renault dealership experience.
4. Expenses?Discounts if any?

And how about snaps? Please post them-inside/outside.

I thank you for sharing this thread with us. Please keep updating and drive safe.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:25   #8
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Dheeraj, wonderful review!!
I was looking forward for a Fluence ownership report. I always felt that the car has more to offer inspite of it's shortcomings and a little over the board pricing.

It got bashed here because of low equipment levels of the diesel version.

I have seen a few Fluence on road, and it has mighty road presence, looks awesome in flesh as you mentioned.

Looking forward for pictures of your steed and especially of that steering mounted controls. Do try and give a little elaborate pictorial description.

Last edited by Fordmanchau : 1st August 2011 at 10:26.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:31   #9
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

This is a cool way to introduce us to your new Fluence and yourself.

Welcome aboard

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Old 1st August 2011, 10:32   #10
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congratulations on the french inquisition. Hope your fight against the conventional succeeds.

I think, yours is the First Fluence on Tbhp. Do post some nice snaps inside out.
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:35   #11
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congratulations on the ride. Drive safe and have fun. Probably first Fluence

Loads of pics please
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Old 1st August 2011, 10:57   #12
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Welcome aboard and Congratulations on the buy @Dheeraj123. The fluence has not failed to impress me! Wishing you happy miles ahead! Btw, is it a diesel or a petrol?

Requesting you to post a lot of pictures, both interior and exterior!

PS: I like the thread title too!
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Old 1st August 2011, 12:06   #13
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congratulations Dheeraj on your new Fluence. After the onslaught of Japanese, Korean and German cars (nowadays) on our roads, the Fluence comes as breath of fresh air with its distinctive design and looks.

By reading about all the features you mention I am guessing yours is a Petrol, since you haven't mentioned it anywhere.

Great choice. You sure are going to a lot of attention on the road.

Drive safe ... or should I say... conduire en toute sécurité
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Old 1st August 2011, 12:18   #14
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congrats on the first Fluence on the forum !! You have left us drooling, without any pics. Please upload some pics of your car, both exterior & interior.

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring !
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Old 1st August 2011, 13:04   #15
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Default Re: Driving under inFLUENCE - The stunning new Renault Fluence

Congrats Dheeraj. Great buy indeed. Few questions.

1) How big is their dealer & service network?
2) Did you manage to eek out any discounts from them?

As said by all others, posts without pics don't do justice.
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