Renault Fluence Review

The Fluence was the first model to roll out of Renault’s garage last year. Based on the Renault Nissan C platform, it has the longest wheelbase in the segment and offers commendable ride and handling with superior driving dynamics. We have already reviewed the Renault Fluence, you can find it here. Initially, the diesel variant was available in the base E2 trim only but in a diesel driven market, it was imperative to roll out the fully loaded variant and soon enough Renault updated the Fluence with the bells and whistles, the petrol offered. The Renault Fluence did get the goodies with the E4 variant but still lacked the low end punch which played spoilsport in city driving conditions. Well not anymore, Renault has updated this engine to extract about 4 more horses, it may seem méagre on paper but it makes all the difference as I find out on a drive along the scenic ECR road to the once French territory of Pondicherry.

The k9k engine is one of the most versatile engines produced by the French manufacturer. It powers more than 20 cars from the Nissan Renault JV globally. The k9 engine started its innings with the Logan in India, it now powers the Nissan Micra, Nissan Sunny, Renault Pulse and the Renault Fluence.The dCI 110 is not a tuning job, but a new generation engine altogether. The new 1.5 dCI 110 engine produces 110 ps of power with 240 Nm of torque. ARAI certified mileage stands at 20.4 km to the litre. The K9K engine now gets a new Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT), this low inertia turbo not only increases the power output but extracts low end torque from the motor. The air intake path has been simplified to derive more efficiency and at the same time minimize transmission losses as well as emissions.

One would think that a mere 4PS increase in power would be hardly noticeable, especially for such a heavy car but its a different story once you get behind the wheel. In city traffic, the turbo lag which was clearly evident in the older series engine is almost gone. The turbo kicks in much sooner, around 1700 rpm and this makes the car more drivable in bumper to bumper traffic. In gear acceleration has vastly improved too. The engine redlines to almost 500O with absolute refinement, no vibrations at all and does not get noisy at the higher rpms. NVH levels can be described as excellent, though some wind noise does creep in at high speeds. On the highway, at higher revs, I hardly noticed much change, possibly because we were three heavyweights on board with enough luggage to fill the boot.

The Fluence continues to offer the best ride and handling balance in the segment. Body roll is bound to be there for this heavy car but is in acceptable limits and only noticed on sudden change in direction. Steering weighs up nicely at high speeds and one feels confident of pushing the car. Braking performance is phenomenal too with driving aids such as Traction Control, ABS and EBD. The stock 205 spec tyres offers sufficient grip too.

2012 Renault Fluence Interiors

There is no other major change in the car, besides the engine. A small change is the introduction of the gearshift indicator on the instrument cluster. The car indicates with the help of an arrow, to upshift or downshift as required to derive the best possible fuel efficiency at that particular speed and rpm.

Overall, the only issues I had with the Fluence was the lack of features in the top end diesel and considerable turbo lag at lower revs. Both these have been addressed by Renault and this makes the E4 diesel variant a very tempting buy. Priced at Rs 15.20 Lakhs ex showroom Delhi, the Fluence will get you noticed on the road and comes with a standard 4 yrs/80,000 km warranty at no extra cost. With an attractive price and a healthy list of goodies coupled with superb driving dynamics, Renault has made a good product even better.