Renault Fluence 1.6 Review
Gallic In(Fluence)

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Jarvis Mun
28 Nov 2010
 

Raymond Lai takes the new 1.6-litre saloon from Renault for a spin.

Introduction, styling

With an overall length of 4620mm, the Fluence is quite possibly the most generously proportioned saloon in the 1.6-litre class.

A sedan model is essential if you want to do significant volumes in a car market like Singapore. The Europeans might prefer hatches but our motorists are more inclined towards the booted saloon thanks to their ‘more metal for their money' philosophy.

The Renault Megane is a case in point. While the French car maker's mid-sized five-door hatchback is tremendously popular and has found hundreds of thousands of homes across Europe since the introduction of the first generation model in 1995, it is the saloon version that traditionally does well here in Singapore.

But while previous generation Meganes were available in four-door saloon body styles, the latest Megane III is not offered as a saloon. But for saloon friendly markets like Eastern Europe, South America and Asia including Singapore, Renault will offer a new compact sedan model called the Fluence.

Although the Fluence shares its name with a sexy looking 2+2 coupe concept car from the 2004, the French car bears hardly any resemblance at all to the latter.

Well, the Fluence is not exactly fully French actually. The four-door sedan was not only developed and sold as a Renault but also as a model for the brand's Korean division, Samsung Motors. The latter badges its variant as the SM3. Fluence models bound for Singapore are also made by Samsung at its Busan plant in Korea rather than at Bursa, Turkey, the same plant where the Megane II saloon and the Megane III hatchback are made. Renault has roped in Nissan for the Fluence as well, the latter supplying its CVT gearbox here. Like the Koleos SUV, the Fluence is more of a Franco-Korean-Japanese effort rather than a purely Gallic one.

Compared to the five-door Megane III, the Fluence is a significant 425mm longer than the former and has a 61mm longer wheelbase. With an overall length of 4620mm, the Fluence is quite possibly the most generously proportioned saloon in the 1.6-litre class. In terms of length, it is longer than both the Nissan Sylphy and the Mitsubishi Lancer EX, two of the biggest four-door models in Cat A.

The front end styling of the Korean made Fluence differs slightly from the version being sold in Europe. The European version has a narrow slit for its front grille while the cars offered here have a full sized radiator grille with a chrome strip on top. Devoid of Renault's contemporary corporate face, the Fluence somehow manages to look a tad dated when viewed directly from the front even though the heavily sculpted bonnet is a design feature it shares with the Megane III.

Along the sides, the designers have done a commendable job of hiding the Fluence's generous length and rear overhang.

The curvaceous C-pillars meet the boot line in a seamless fashion, thus giving the rear a cohesive feel and look that is often missing on hatchback derived four-door models. The large wraparound tail lamps give the rear a more contemporary than the less successful nose. A big gripe of the Fluence's outward appearance is its relatively small wheels - they just fail to convincingly fill the generously proportioned wheel arches.

 


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 112bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 156Nm @ 4400rpm
Power to Weight 83.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 11s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 185 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed 6-speed CVT
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4620 x 1809 x 1476) mm
Wheelbase 2702 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 metres
Kerb Weight 1339 kg
Boot Capacity 530 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs