Building on its increased sales success in Australia in the last couple of years Renault has announced that the Renault Fluence has been given a mid-life makeover and some extra items have been added to the standard models.
Always a stylish car, the Fluence sedan has a new front-end treatment with a restyled grille flanked by projector headlamps. There are now black bezels around them. There’s no doubt that projector headlights make for safer night driving and these days we find we miss this feature on any car that doesn’t have it. A chrome strip across the rear gives the Fluence a wider look. There are new design 16-inch alloy wheels on the Fluence Dynamique, and 17-inch alloys on the Fluence Privilege.
Inside, a new digital dashboard is fitted to all models. A redesign of the 7-inch full colour touch screen allows access to controls for audio, satellite navigation, communication and in-vehicle systems. Bluetooth connectivity allows selected smart phones to stream music directly to the quality Arkamys sound system.
The Renault Privilege gains a new Bose audio system that has been specially adapted for the acoustics of the Fluence passenger compartment. The system includes a digital amplifier and 9-inch sub-woofer. The topline Renault Fluence Privilege sedan has leather upholstery.
The Renault Smart Card ‘key’ is now completely hands-free. The engine is started or stopped by a dash-mounted button. A proximity sensor means the driver can simply walk away and the car will lock itself – provided of course that they have the Smart Card with them. Rear parking sensors complement a reversing camera with a guidance function on the Fluence Privilege. All Renault Fluence sedans come with dual front, side and curtain airbags as well as ABS brakes and electronic stability control.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The Renault Fluence is powered by a 2.0-litre 103kW engine mated to a CVT transmission or a six-speed manual. There's 195 Nm of torque that reaches its peak at 3750 rpm.
In a very French manner the Renault Fluence sedan is superbly comfortable and has good noise and vibration suppression. These two factors make it an excellent long distance tourer as it insulates you from the outside world, while the light steering is great for city driving and parking. The seating front and rear is comfortable and the interior materials are better quality than in years gone by. We found the engine to have a good spread of torque from about 2000 upwards and it’s a pleasant -- if unexciting -- engine to sit behind.
The Fluence has decent body control, but doesn’t really offer sporty handling -- to get that you need to by a ‘Fluence hatch’, which is called the Renault Megane. It is a much sharper drive, but you do give up some comfort in return. Low pricing has been a major part of the campaign to revive Renault in Australia and the Fluence isn’t a lot more expensive than Asian cars of similar size and performance. However, the fall in the value of the Australian dollar against the Euro may cause the prices to increase – that could be a deterrent for buyers.
The complete 2013 Renault Fluence range is:
Dynamique 2.0-litre petrol four-door sedan: $23,143 (manual), $25,143 (CVT automatic)
Privilege 2.0-litre petrol four-door sedan: $30,298 (CVT automatic)
Price: from $23,143
Warranty: 5 years roadside assist
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, 103kW/195Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 7.8L/100Km, CO2 184g/km