Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Renault Laguna performance figures depend on your choice of the five engines available. The engines are carried over virtually unchanged from the previous Laguna, with the exception of a new 110bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel. This engine offers decent performance, with the potential for impressively low fuel consumption of 58mpg. The 2.0-litre dCi diesel is available with a choice of power outputs (130bhp or 150bhp) and both pull strongly.

The more powerful unit is very impressive and manages 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds while returning 47mpg. Petrol engine choices are restricted to a 140bhp 2.0-litre or a 170bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre. Both offer brisk performance but the turbo version is only available with an automatic gearbox which means it’s no faster than the 140bhp but fuel economy is a poor 32mpg.

Most versions of the Laguna come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the shift action is fairly sloppy and imprecise. A six-speed automatic option is available on 150bhp diesel models. The GT models were introduced in Spring 2008 and top the Laguna range. One’s a 2.0-litre diesel with 180bhp and the other is a 205bhp turbocharged petrol.

Both are swift – the petrol manages 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds – though aren’t quite the out-and-out performance models that they are sold as.

The Laguna was never engineered to appeal to driving enthusiasts – like most cars of its type – and places comfort before the thrills associated with sharp handling. It uses the same platform from the previous model so although it offers a comfortable ride and grips the road pretty well, the steering is lifeless and lacking in feel. Occupants will feel the after-effects of sudden changes of direction as the body of the car takes a moment to settle, but on the whole, body control is good.

Electronic stability control is fitted as standard across the range. GT models – from Spring 2008 – get four-wheel-steering for greater grip and a more enjoyable driving experience. Renault calls this system Active Drive – the rear wheels move up to three degrees when the car is being driven on twisty roads. Another benefit of the system is that it reduces the size of the turning circle – around town the Laguna GT can turn in the same space as a Clio.