This is the Renault Fluence 2.0, the latest C-segment sedan to be launched in Malaysia. It made its debut in May this year after a few months of sighting lightly taped-up Fluence test units in the country.

We got to see disguised test units running about because Renault distributor TC Euro Cars went and immediately started local assembly of the model – this has resulted in the car rolling in with an attractive price tag of RM115,000 (on-the-road, without insurance).


The Fluence competes with C-segment sedan rivals such as the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla Altis, as well as other European badge C-segment cars such as the Peugeot 408 and C346 Ford Focus Sedan.

It’s essentially a sedan built on the Renault Megane platform, but while the previous-generation Megane sedan just tacked on a boot onto the Megane design, resulting in awkward looks, the Fluence gets its own bespoke exterior design. Because of that, it gets its own name rather than just being called the Megane sedan. The only thing that reminds you of the Megane is the identical dashboard.

What’s under the hood is also completely different from what’s available in the Megane. You get a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT gearbox. The engine is called the M4R in Renault nomenclature, but Malaysians are familiar with the engine as the MR20DE, also found in cars like the previous-generation Nissan Sylphy, the 2.0 litre Nissan Teana and the second-generation Nissan X-Trail.

Some people might term the Fluence a reskinned previous-gen Sylphy, but that’s not true, as the two cars are built from completely different platforms. The old Sylphy was built on a stretched version of Nissan’s B-segment platform, while the Fluence is built on the same C-segment platform that underpins the Megane.


There are of course limitations as to how far you can take a stretched B-platform, which explains why the old Sylphy looked awkwardly narrow and tall. The Fluence, being built from a proper C-segment platform, does not suffer from this.

At 2,702 mm, the Fluence’s wheelbase is technically the longest in its segment, but only by a marginal two millimetres. This number was more impressive when the Fluence was first launched, but since then plenty of its rivals have come to the 2,700 mm wheelbase mark with their latest incarnations.


The 2.0 litre engine under the hood is mounted transversely and the Jatco CVT gearbox drives the front wheels. Peak output is 143 hp at 6,000 rpm, with 195 Nm of twist at 3,700 rpm. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 10.1 seconds, on to a top speed of 195 km/h, while rated fuel economy is 7.7 litres per 100 km, with an average CO2 emissions figure of 178 g/km.

At RM115k, it’s one of the cheapest non-national 2.0 litre C-segment cars around to buy. The cheapest is actually the Peugeot 408 2.0 at RM106,824, followed by the Ford Focus 2.0 Titanium (not the more expensive Titanium+) at RM113,734.


But that’s just the cost of acquiring the car. The most interesting USP of the Fluence is the ownership package that TC Euro Cars has crafted to go with it. First, there’s a five-year manufacturer warranty with unlimited mileage. Yes, all five years are by the manufacturer – no extended warranty at play here.

Second, there’s 100,000 km of free service, which Renault advertises as five years of free service based on an average of 20,000 km per year. The service interval for the car is 10,000 km. The total value for the free service package is RM5,231 (exclusive of service tax or GST, which TC Euro Cars bears as well). When it’s time to service your car, TC Euro Cars provides a free pick up service, so you don’t have to send it in yourself. For work that requires at least 48 hours, the company will provide a courtesy car.


It’s quite an interesting after-sales package. You could say it’s rather Lexus-like, but as a company that’s been selling Kangoos and then Meganes for so long, TC Euro Cars realises it has to do this to dispel any fears and uncertainties that potential buyers might have in going with a less popular brand like Renault in this segment. After all, the last Renault sedan in this segment in Malaysia was what, the Renault 19?

So once you buy the car and drive it off the lot, you’re covered for the next 100,000 km. And I’ve rambled on for quite a bit already about the car’s supporting infrastructure without actually getting onto the actual car.


When I picked up the Fluence for this review session, I was surprised to be handed a black “card” instead of a key. It’s about the size of a business card, maybe wider, and much thicker of course. It goes into a slot on the dashboard just forward of the gear lever. The Fluence has keyless entry/start, so you don’t actually have to bother with the card much, but it did feel a bit odd having a big card in the pocket. You don’t even have to bother locking the car – it locks automatically when you walk away from the car.

Now, the Fluence probably won’t raise your fancies in a way say, the Mazda 3 will. You won’t be buying this one because of its looks, but it’s certainly not an eyesore. There’s actually a second, better-looking facelift with the new Renault face (similiar to the new Megane facelift) somewhere out there, but TC Euro Cars had to bring this first facelift version in, because CKD preparations had to start much earlier.

We were told the latest facelift was only available as a left-hand drive at the time, and some right-hand drive markets such as Australia also have the same first ’face’ as we do.


Inside, you’re greeted by an instrument cluster that features an analog RPM metre on the left, a digital speedo in the centre with integrated door opening indicator, fuel gauge and water temperature metres, and a multi-info display on the right.

The Renault R-Link navigation system is mounted on the top of the dashboard, looking like it could potentially fold into the dash like an Audi’s, but it’s actually fixed in that position. The Fluence is one of the few cars in the C-segment with a full colour touchscreen infotainment system from the original manufacturer (the Mazda 3 is another one), so it somehow looks more premium.


If you don’t want to reach out to use the touchscreen, you can use a control knob mounted on the dashboard, but this is unfortunately mounted vertically, and the knob diameter is actually quite small, so it’s not very comfortable to use, especially when you’re on the move. The knob is situated in the middle of some shortcut buttons that you can use to skip to different sections of the infotainment system.

There’s a data USB port at the bottom of the centre stack, which you can use to hook up your mobile phone or a USB storage device. There’s also an SD card slot but this is used to store the maps for the built-in TomTom navigation system. The TomTom navi is visually pleasing with high resolution graphics, but I think no built-in navi system can hold a candle to Waze these days.

You also have an AUX port for old school playback devices. Sound is output through a six-speaker system, and the infotainment system has a CD player and Bluetooth capability as well.


Other features to note include dual-zone automatic climate control with rear air con vents, cruise control, automatic headlamps and automatic rain sensing wipers. Curiously, there are neither front or rear parking sensors, but Renault makes up for the rear ones by including a reverse camera in the R-Link system. You’ll have to rely on the video feed though, as there aren’t any beeps to help you along.

The projector lamps are halogen with manual height adjustment, which aren’t as bright as xenon units, and thus the car lacks that certain ‘premium’ look at night time that xenon headlamps give a car. There are no DRLs either, and the rear lamps are powered by bulbs as well.


Like its seats, the Fluence steering wheel is wrapped in leather and the two o’clock and 10 o’clock rest positions are made thicker for a sportier feel. There are only cruise control buttons on the steering wheel – for audio you have to reach to a separate panel extending out from the back of the steering wheel, similiar to older Peugeots or Citroens. Must be a French thing.

There’s also another oddity – the switch to activate cruise control is near the handbrake lever while the rest of the controls are on the steering wheel. Other than that, operating the Fluence is quite intuitive. In general, fit and finish is very good, and there’s a good choice of material selection as well.


As for storage, you get shallow door pockets, two cup holders in the front between the two front seats and two cupholders at the rear in the pull-down centre arm rest, and a rather small glovebox. They could have certainly done better with more storage, especially with the door pocket volume and glovebox.

There is another downside that I have to point out – the seats are not very well sculpted and the seat bottoms feel a little short, so they feel a little flat and the seat padding feels a little hard; I found myself a little fatigued after getting stuck in an hour-long jam after picking my wife up from the centre of town.


The safety bits are covered by the inclusion of six airbags and electronic stability control. Child seats can be fixed on either side of the rear via two pairs of Isofix points that are provided, which gives the Fluence an edge over the other Tan Chong-sold C-segment car, the Sylphy, when it comes to potential buyers that have infants or toddlers.

The Fluence is well balanced through the corners thanks to a typically European suspension tuning and steering weight, but although it shares the Megane’s platform, it drives nothing like one. That said, at the very least it remains quite stable at highway speeds, which is getting more and more relevant these days as we all start to live further and further away from central Klang Valley. This is pretty much a car designed to travel from A to B while being as invisible to you as possible.


Don’t get me wrong – that’s actually a good thing in this segment. You just get in and drive to your destination without any fuss from the car getting in your way. You don’t really notice what the engine and gearbox are doing either, because of the well-calibrated CVT shift logic and engine’s good mid-range torque.

The combination somehow encourages you to drive economically and keep the revs low. If you don’t get what I mean, let me explain – driving a Fluence is like the opposite of driving a car that you have to rev up all the time because it’s gutless in the low to mid revs, or a car where the gears shift up and down too often, or even a car where you have to take care on how much power you give it from standstill because the clutch might judder.


With such cars, you really ‘notice’ the car, and you have to work your way around its faults. The Fluence simply wants to be a reliable tool that you don’t have to bother too much about. Sounds somewhat like a Toyota, right? But this one’s got full safety specs as standard.

So yes, the Fluence, not the most exciting C-segment car around, but you might want to consider it especially if you are a very busy person and you value the extra focus on aftersales services, like free pickup and return-for-service appointments.