Renault Fluence in India
Renault Fluence by starredreviews.com
Renault Fluence by http://starredreviews.com/renault-fluence-in-india/7911/
The Japanese and the Germans burgeoned into Indian car space quite a decade ago, and they succeeded to a great extent. So did the Americans, Czechs Italians and Koreans,The French tried but their jaunt was rather abysmal.Having seen how well the Indian market coped with the recession,the french want back in. After their reticent stint with Mahindra (with the Logan-a strong product that sold itself short)Renault is making every effort to dissociate their brand completely with the logan image. And now,it is ready to bear the French flag and take another offensive with its feature-packed saloon,the Renault Fluence,which will chase down the likes of the Honda Civic,the Toyota Corolla,the Chevy Cruze,even the Skoda Laura.
The Fluence inherits its genes from the previous gen of the Renault/Nissan’s C-Platfrom.The resulting base provides for its distinct shape and styling,which is aeons ahead of the Logan. In fact, its uniqueness makes it a head-turner. The front sports a high bonnet line and a bold Renault diamond,below which lies a thin-lipped grille with chrome inserts. A depression in the bonnet further adds definition to the front. In line with modern design trends,the headlights lead onto the flared wheel arches.The C-pillar tapers downward in a coupe-like manner which gives it a sporty line. You’d imagine this would hamper the rear headroom,but its stretched wheel base ensures that cabin space is not compromised.The rear looks a bit more compact than the rest of the car.The tail lamps are divided between the body and the boot-lid,and the Fluence badging in between adds a bit of elegance.
The interiors do a wonderful job of complementing the refreshing exterior. The petrol version gets soft beige interiors with leather seats which exude quality and class, whilst the diesel variant gets a sporty tone that is both smart and youthful.Renault has done well to match up to the competition in build quality as well.But it takes more than style and luxury to catch up.
You would imagine that using the same diesel engine that powers the logan and the Nissan Micra isn’t very inspiring. But it’s amazing what a biggerturbo,a remapped ECU and funcrional refinement can do to the working of an engine. The 1.5 liter dCi motor feels completely different on the Fluence-more powerful,morere refined and more tractable. But a bigger turbo means a bigger turbo -lag too; thankfully Renault has spaced out the gear ratios to compensate for that and improve the drivability. The six-speed manual gearbox is delightflly smooth and precise.Also on offer is a 2.0-littre petrol motor married to a CVT six speed automatic,which works wonderfully in city traffic as the CVT(continously variable transmission)optimizes gear changing in accordance with the driver’s inputs. The elimination of frequent gear changing reduces the consequent traction interruptions,and in the process also improves fuel efficiency. But on the downside,the CVT gearboxis a bit sluggish while responding to sudden acceleration or overtaking.Step outside the vehicle and you notice the petrol mill is fairly vocal,but the moment you enter the cabin the noise gets filtered out almost completely.Even the grunt of the diesel motor won’t make its way inside. But what makes the drive back from work in the Fluence a breeze is its ride what French carmaker has done what French car makers are famous for tweaked the suspension for Indian roads.The Fluence glides over potholes and broken roads with ease,even at low speeds. The torsion beam at the back helps reduce body roll despite the relatively soft suspension by ensuring maximum vertical movement.The traction control offered as standard aslo aids in improving the handling and stability of the vehicle. Although quite precise,the steering fails to give enough feedback to the driver and this might be a bit of a letdown for driving enthusiasts.
The Fluence is also brimming with features you would expect from a car in its segment.But strangely there exists quite a disparity between the features offered on the petrol has cruse control,rear parking sensors, dual zone climate control,rain-sensitive wipers and side curtain airbags,the diesel doesn’t get any of these .
Standard,however,is keyless entry,a start-stop bottom and steering mounted (toggle switch behind the wheel) controls.And because the petrol variant is so well-equipped,it comes at a higher price of Rs 14.4 lakhs ex-showroom, while the more basic diesel variant cost Rs.12.99 lakhs ex-showroom. So,not only has Renault defied the logic of offering the CVT automatic gearbox with the torquier diesel,it has also priced the petrol substantially higher then diesel.
Whether it work for Renault or not,at least this is a fresh abd new strategy.In conclusion,for overall pricing is still quite competitive.
Apart from the association with the Logan(now called the Mahindra Verito) Indians don’t know much about Renault the fact that it supplies engines to the reigning F1 champon team,that it give the world its first hatchback,that it was the first to introduce a turbocharger in a production car,and much else.Now, after 18 months of intense market research and product development,it seems ready for a completely independent foray into India with the Fluence. It has also promised to translate the aggressive start into impressive targets for the 18 months-four more car launches and closed to 100 independent dealerships. India certainly must be important for Renault!