If you're a frequent visitor to the Motorcheck blog you'll know that I've been on the hunt for a new car recently. Just before Christmas the family gave me a strict list of set criteria (the 1973 Mercedes has been relegated to "project" status) and I busied myself with a variety of new car brochures.
Eventually I compiled a short list based on price, fuel efficiency and luggage space - all very responsible.
I did have my eye on the Nissan Juke (Irish Car of the Year 2010) but with all the noise surrounding Renault & their excellent scrappage deals last year (the Megane was Ireland's number one selling car for 2010) I decided to give the Renault Fluence a shot at the title. After-all it met all the criteria and left some change in the pocket for a nice paint job on the Merc.
All the Toys
My previous car was a 2007 Range Rover Sport SE that came with a climate pack and bluetooth. I was quite prepared to accept something with a more basic specification but the Fluence we were given to test drive (thanks Paddy!) had more gadgets than any of my previous cars.
Renault told me that the specification in the car I was looking at (Leather Interior, Sunroof, TomTom SatNav, Bluetooth, Heated Seats and Front and Rear Parking Sensors) made it quite a rare model for Irish roads. At the time there were only three in the country with that level of trim which made it very attractive to a gadget maniac like me.
I was a little concerned that the 1.5DCI engine wouldn't 'pull you out of bed' but the 110bhp model showed itself to be more than capable. It coped very well with the snow and icy road conditions that plagued us over Christmas and became a firm favourite for all the family. So much so that the wife's 07 BMW 3 Series spent most of the time parked outside the house as its rear wheel drive made it almost impossible to handle on the slippery surface.
The list price of the model I chose was €23,500. It was a demonstration car that Renault was in the process of selling and with the families consent I managed to negotiate a great price just shy of €20,000.
A quick call to AXA Insurance to transfer my policy and almost immediately the Fluence was saving me money. The lady at AXA promised to send me a cheque for 150 Euro as the premium for the Fluence was significantly cheaper than the Range Rover. That took care of the road tax and still left change for a full tank of diesel.
But there's always a downside isn't there? As I hinted in the title my daughter is more than a little disgruntled with the new car. You see, for the last year or so my two year old has made it her right to receive a packet of jellies every time we fill up at the local Topaz. This used to happen at least once a week (sometimes twice) and had become part and parcel of the weekly routine.
Unfortunately for Emma the Fluence is an extremely economical car. Whilst the official fuel statistics for the car are 4.6 litres for every 100 kms, Emma has a very different measure. Our weekly visits to the pump have now gone monthly delivering an actual fuel consumption of 20 miles to the Jelly.
Shame on you Renault , you should know better!