There won’t be a Megane III sedan, instead we have the new Renault Fluence which will be built at the Megane II sedan’s assembly line in Turkey. It’s a relatively large car, somewhat like a small Euro D-segment slightly smaller than the size of an Avensis. It’s shorter than the Avensis but it’s got a 2,702mm wheelbase, just 2mm longer than the Toyota. Renault themselves say it’s size is somewhere between a large C-segment car (like the FD Civic) and a D-segment car.
The Fluence is all about space. It has 530 litres of boot space and Renault claims it has more passenger space than any major rival. Interior stats include 1,480mm of elbow room at the front, and 1,475mm at the rear. The driver’s seat can be adjusted 240mm fore/aft and 35mm +/- in height, and the steering wheel has both rake and reach adjustment. The cabin features 23 litres of storage, including a 9 litre refrigerated glovebox and a 2.2 litre centre console cubby. The 530 litre boot has a low sill and a 1,020mm wide entry for easier loading.
It’s got decent specifications too. All models including entry level ones will get rear aircond vents, and dual zone control for the front is an option. Renault has also made available a hands-free entry and ignition system using a card. As the card-holder walks away from the car, the doors will lock automatically. You’ve got up to 6 airbags, ABS, and stability control.
In the engine bay, for now diesel and petrol engines are available. All the diesel models qualify for Renault’s eco2 branding, which means CO2 emissions of 119g/km. In 2011, Renault will be introducing an all-electric Fluence, which technology most likely adapted from the Nissan Leaf EV.
The petrol engines include a 140hp 2.0 mated to either a manual or a CVT. This is likely the same engine and transmission combination available in the Sylphy. There is also a 110hp 1.6 litre engine. The eco2 Diesel engines all use the same 1.5 dCi block but with different stages of tune – 85, 90 DPF, 105, 110 DPF and another 110 DPF mated to a new twin-clutch transmission.
I think you can guess that the Fluence is obviously a car designed for emerging economies. The Renault Fluence’s main markets will be Turkey, Russia, and Romania. Too many manufacturers are producing cars that are focused on being as small and cheap as possible and when they can afford something better there is no economical larger sedan to turn to. This is bound to happen as the economies of these developing countries mature. The Fluence can be one of their choices, and Renault has put effort to ensure running costs are low.
Renault claims the Fluence’s diesel engine service interval is once every 30,000km! For light to moderate usage of about 300km per week, that would mean once every 2 years! The only exception is the dCi 85 which requires changes every 20,000km or every year. Renault has also added an additional 800 QC checks over their standard procedures to ensure the Fluence will be able to sustain the ‘demanding’ road conditions of the countries where it will be marketed.
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