Not recommended. It is a long time since a new model from a major European manufacturer missed the target by this big a margin.
Renault was busy fighting the last war when this car was designed. They focused only on build quality, at a time when decent build quality is a given, not a way of differentiating your product.
No doubt, the build quality is comparable to a Mondeo or Insignia, but so what? It is the rest of the car that will make people choose, and there is nothing the Laguna does better than its competitors.
It is not that everything in the Laguna is actively bad: there are plenty of soft-touch plastics in the reasonably elegant cabin, for example. It is just that, in the UK, the Laguna is not the default choice ini this segment, and it offers no good reason to ignore the models which are the big sellers. The driving experience is marred by rather disconnected steering, and a jiggly ride (at least French cars used to ride smoothly), which leaves the motorway as the Laguna's natural habitat. It's certainly very quiet, with little wind or road noise and a choice of refined engines. The diesels (there is only one token petrol engine, a 2.0 litre)are strong, blending decent performance, good economy and low emissions, and the 1.5-litre engine is the pick of the range. You'd think a family car with such a small engine couldn't get out of its own way, but Renault has squeezed a surprising amount of power and torque from such a small capacity. Economy is even more impressive, managing 55.4mpg on the combined cycle.
As far as passengers are concerned, though, those in the front seats will be happier than those in the back. True, it's far from cramped in the rear seats, but there's noticeably less legroom than in giant family hatches like the Mondeo. The sloping roofline steals some headroom, too.
The hatch's boot has 462 litres of luggage space, whereas the Sport Tourer estate has 508 litres. That's pretty much what you'd expect, although the space is rather shallow and there's a high lip to lift items over.
If space and practicality are no better than you'd expect, safety provision is top notch. Even basic cars come with enough airbags to float the Titanic and an Electronic Stability Programme to help keep the car on the straight and narrow.
Overall, the Laguna is not a bad car, with its high safety levels and quiet cruising, but it is hard to see why mnay people would choose it over the competition. Woeful sales figures suggest not many others can see the point of this car, either.
Next: ratings and breakdown