Test Drive: Renault Fluence facelift 1.6 16V CVT image

Renault has introduced last year a facelift for the Fluence, during the Istanbul Motor Show, where the model has received some visual updates, which are making it resemble other new vehicles in the company’s lineup and now, a year later, our team has went for a spin in such a car.

Engine and Transmission

The facelifted Renault Fluence tested was powered by a 1.6-liter 16-valve petrol engine, which is good for 115 HP, at 6,000 rpm, and It has a peak torque of 156 Nm, available at 4,000 rpm. This may not seem like anything important, compared to the torque of the diesel engines of 200 / 240 and 320 Nm of the dCi 90, dCi 110 and dCi 130, but you won’t feel that big of a difference, especially if you’re used to driving petrol powered cars. Test car was also fitted with one of the best transmissions out there, a CVT, which is actually providing one out of two main “features” for the drivers, like you either love it or hate it, because there isn’t a yin and yang middle way in which you can say “well, at least it’s better than the manual”.


Fuel Consumption

Renault says that the 1.6L 16V CVT powered Fluence facelift is burning 8.6 liters of fuel every 100 km in the city, while on the highway, the trip computer will indicate 5.1L / 100 km, with a 6.4L / 100 km average fuel consumption. The figures mentioned above are pretty close to what we obtained so we have to give Renault a big credit for not lying to its customers. The fuel consumption figures which we’ve seen stood at 8.7L / 100 km in a normal drive in the city and 5.1L / 100 km at 90 km/h with the cruise control on, on the highway. We have to mention that these were the actual figures achieved by the test car and we also have to tell you that if you push the throttle hard enough in the city, the car’s average fuel consumption will go up to 12 or 13L / 100km, but this also means that you will get faster from A to B.

The Ride

For a C-segment sedan from the upper-medium segment, the facelifted Renault Fluence is actually a comfortable car even for the rear passengers. The suspension system will allow you to get over speed bumps without making you feel like your kidneys will fall on the seat and it will also provide you with enough grip to make it to your destination safely. And speaking of grip, you should know that despite the boxy look with no corners and family features, the Fluence is quite agile in corners, especially on a tight mountain road, but don’t forget that its FWD will eventually make you under steer, so don’t abuse it.

Interior Design

If you have went for a spin in any other brand new Renault car, the cabin of the facelifted Fluence will feel familiar and déjà vu will kick in telling you that you already know the dashboard, you know that it has an R-Link, dual-zone climate control with air vents for the rear seats, a multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors and so on. The model we tested was the top of the line Privilege, which is also adding features like the front armrest, the curtain airbags, rear parking assistance, electric side mirrors with auto folding features, tire pressure monitoring system, front heated seats, audio system, USB, AUX, Bluetooth, SD slot, cruise control, speed limiter and so on.

I expected some annoying features when I went behind the wheel in the facelifted Fluence like no cup holders, no side support for the front seats, a tall driving position or the rear passenger’s knees in my back but surprisingly the car is quite good and it’s actually better than I imagined. There is enough room for the rear passengers even with a tall driver holding the steering wheel in a comfortable position, the front seats have side support so they will encourage you to use the brake pedal less and less around corners, it has three cup holders for the front seats and a good driving position which wasn’t letting me see the bonnet with the seat all the way down. And I also have to mention that the Fluence is a well sound-proofed car, which will be appreciated when taking long trips in it.

Likes / Dislikes

A big “like” goes to the exterior design which has been slightly modified and it now makes the Fluence look more like the Clio, the Megane, the Scenic and so on. Another huge “like” this time goes to the exterior color, which is named the “Ivoire” by Renault, or simply “Ivory”, a definite “must” if you want to get away from the popular choices of black, white or grey.

Another thing which I liked was the fuel consumption and the fact that Renault didn’t lie about it, in the official figures, but then again, this is one of the few companies which will tell you the truth about how thirsty your car is. Last but not least, I have to thank Renault for offering a CVT too, besides the new EDC, which is a definite “must” if you’re into such transmissions, but make sure to take a car fitted with the CVT out for a spin before placing a deposit for it.

The “dislike” part will include the heated seats, which only have two settings, “Off” and “Call the firefighters” and the rain-sensing wipers, which are useless here too, just like in almost every vehicle out there.

Safety

Euro NCAP hasn’t actually tested the regular version of the Renault Fluence, but the Fluence ZE has received an overall 4-star safety rating, with 72 percent in the Adult Occupant protection, 83 percent in Child Safety, 37 percent in Pedestrian Safety and 84 percent in the Safety Assist category.

Price
13,200 EUR for the base entry-level version
18,600 EUR for the model we’ve tested