The Fluence was French car maker Renault’s best offering in the Indian car market and it certainly played the part very well. The sedan was a great combination of typically French style, robust build quality and good features. The older Fluence, despite being a very good car, never really caught on in India primarily because Renault was new to the country and did not have strong brand awareness and secondly due to the fact that the diesel version of the car was nowhere as well equipped as the petrol version. But after the resounding success of the Duster which catapulted Renault into the limelight in the Indian automotive scene, the company has launched an updated, face lifted version of the Fluence and we must say, it’s even better now.
The looks of this car may be different from those of its predecessor but, under the bonnet, it’s the same 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder diesel power plant. The engine is also equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger which boosts the power output to 108.5 bhp. It also generates a torque output value of 240 Nm @ 1,850 RPM. The engine is reasonably smooth for a diesel and the power delivery has improved by leaps and bounds when juxtaposed with its forerunner. The power is channelled to the front wheels via a 6 speed manual transmission. The drivetrain is so well developed that the Fluence returns an excellent fuel economy figure of 20.4 kpl. The Fluence has McPherson struts with coil springs, stabiliser bar and double acting shock absorbers at the front and trailing arms with coil springs and double acting shock absorbers at the rear. The technical jargon might be quite heavy but all you need to know is that, as is the hallmark of any French car worth its salt, all that engineering makes for a wonderfully comfortable ride quality.
As we mentioned, French cars have been well known the world over for their smooth ride quality and comfort. The Fluence certainly fits the bill very well. The design of the car seems to have a lot more soul than its German and Japanese counterparts. There are no sharp lines or cuts anywhere but every panel flows into the next seamlessly, the overall effect being very graceful and pleasant to look at. Adding to the good looks are LED daytime running lights, 16 inch alloys, door handles finished in chrome, fog lamps at the front and rear and projector headlamps. The Fluence can be ordered in one of 4 colour options – Pearl Black, Platinum Grey, Ash Beige and Glacier White. The same graceful theme is continued on the inside as well. The soft touch dashboard curves from one side of the car to the other and all the different components not just look good, but are built tough as well. A large digital speedometer with a mild bluish white illumination dominates the instrument binnacle and the interestingly shaped 4 spoke steering wheel feels chunky to hold and operate as well. The car is filled with features such as cruise control, audio system with aux-in and USB support, bluetooth connectivity, push button engine ignition, electrically adjustable mirrors, rear parking sensors, illuminated glove box, entry via access card, steering mounted controls and so on. The top end E4 variant gets even more toys such as surround sound, dual zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, parking sensors at the front and rear, electrically foldable mirrors with temperature sensor, rear AC vents and leather upholstery. When it comes to safety, Renault has not skimped and therefore, the Fluence comes loaded with disc brakes on all wheels, ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist, anti slip regulation (ASR), dual front airbags and an engine and transmission guard. In addition to all this, the top end variant also receives electronic stability programme (ESP) and side chest level airbags at the front. All in all, quite well kitted out, one could say!
The Renault Fluence is a very well rounded car that can hold its own against its German and Japanese rivals with its combination of beautiful design, butter smooth ride quality and the generous list of features. The car has always deserved to sell significantly better but it didn’t due to faults that were not its own. Now that Renault understands the Indian automotive scene better and since the sedan has been improved even more, it should do the trick and make the Fluence much more appealing to potential customers.