Compared to its main rivals, the Fluence has been an unpopular choice since its launch a few years ago. This aggressive facelift may just swing things in favour of the Frenchman.
Design wise, the new Fluence is a big improvement over the model it replaces. The front end takes its inspiration from the brand’s design renaissance under the leadership of design director Laurens Van Den Acker. The focal point at the front is the prominent Renault diamond-shaped badge set vertically against a gloss black background.
The style has moved in a distinct eye-catching direction, but not at the sacrifice of interior space. Renault claims that the upgraded Fluence is just as spacious as the model it replaces.
Upgrades are easy to spot in the interior as well. The instruments behind the steering wheel now incorporate a large, round LCD screen, the main functions of which include a digital speed display and the visual component of the park-assistant function. White segments around the circumference of the LCD screen indicate the cruise control and speed limiter systems’ settings. In the centre of the dashboard, the large 18cm touch-screen affords the driver easy connectivity to the navigation system, 3D Sound by Arkamys, CD/MP3 player, Bluetooth and more.
The 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines powering the Expression and Dynamique models, respectively, are carried over from the previous model. The 2.0-litre Dynamique produces 103kW/195Nm and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It has a standing-start sprint time of 9.9 seconds to 100km/h and returns a claimed combined-cycle consumption of 7.9 litres/100km.
The 1.6 Expression has a peak power output of 82kW and 151Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and is capable of accelerating from zero to 100km/h in 11.5 seconds. It consumes just 6.8 litres/100km in the combined cycle with a corresponding Co2 emissions rating of 155g/km.
As previously, driver, passenger and side airbags (chest-pelvis), as well as curtain units front and rear plus anti-whiplash height-adjustable front headrests are standard. The safety belt system is fitted with a double pre-tensioner in the front seats and load limiter in the rear. The two rear side seats are fitted with an ISOFIX fastening system for the safe fitment of child seats and automatic central locking of all doors and the boot occurs when the car pulls away.
For easy access, start-up and central locking, there’s the Renault hands-free card system complemented by a coded electronic engine immobiliser system.
The two new upgraded Fluence variants come with Renault’s 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty. There is also a 5-year/90 000km service plan, comprehensive roadside assistance for the duration of the warranty period, fixed-price servicing costs (15 000km intervals) and guaranteed parts availability or a mobility solution until parts become available.
• New Fluence Expression 1.6 litre 16V: R214 900
• New Fluence Dynamique 2.0 litre 16V: R249 900