At the tail end of 2009, Renault came out with the Renault Fluence, a compact-sized family sedan that aimed to balance costs, features, efficiency, and reliability. Renault figured that Europe still loves sedans and that there was enough space for the Fluence to steal some sales numbers in this incredibly competitive market. So, is Renault Fluence a good car?
The Renault Fluence certainly is a tempting proposition as it is now a few years old which means that it lost a great bit of its initial value. This means that you can get quite a bit of a car for not all that much money. This makes the Fluence a good car overall, but it isn’t the type of car that you are going to love, especially if you are a car enthusiast.
The reason why that is that Renault tried to play it safe and make the Fluence a jack of all trades. This does not make it stand out in any particular category while driving it feels remarkably ordinary. All of the engines on offer are efficient and quiet, the design is harmonious, the space is good and reliability is also good if properly maintained.
Overall, a used Renault Fluence has many things going for it at the moment, primarily due to the price.
You can get the Renault Fluence with a choice of a few diesel and gasoline engines. The gasoline palette starts with the 1.6L 4-cylinder which offers 110hp while the top-spec gasoline model is the 2.0L 4-cylinder with 140hp. There is a bit more variety with the diesel end of the market as there are more options to choose from.
Starting with the 1.5L 4-cylinder with either 90hp, 95hp, or 110hp or the larger 1.6L 4-cylinder with 131hp. All Fluence models come with front-wheel drive from the factory and you can choose between a normal 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic which is available as an option.
You can expect to get around 30-35MPG with gasoline models while diesel variants can do up to 50MPG if driven sensibly. All in all, these engines are sophisticated, quiet, and docile in all environments which means that they can do the trick even in today’s day and age.
Design and Driving
As far as design is concerned, the Renault Fluence won’t excite, but it also isn’t going to offend anyone. It looks like most other semi-modern Renault models which means that it has interesting body lines and shapes, but it’s not going to attract much attention. The interior is starting to show its age quite a bit now, but that is to be expected for an older car.
The driving experience is also ordinary and not too exciting looking. The overall fit and finish are okay, but the interior is known to wear out fairly quickly, especially on lightly-colored trim options which show signs of wear even more quickly.
Reliability and Common Issues
Reliability-wise, the Renault Fluence manages to stand the test of time if properly taken care of. The problem here is that many of these were abused throughout their lifetimes and thus they aren’t going to be nearly as reliable as you’d expect.
The most common issues include problems with the transmission, some of the car’s electricals, the suspension, the engine, and the A/C. The worst problems are potential transmission failures, ignition problems, and problems with the bushings which can cause accidents.
Pricing and Practicality
The Renault Fluence was never an expensive car, to begin with, but used examples can now be had for just a few thousand Euros, but it is a good idea to avoid these and go for better-kept examples with proper service history. Either way, you are not going to pay a lot of money for a Fluence and you can’t buy new anymore as Renault stopped making them a few years ago.
Practicality is on par with most other cars from this segment which means that it does offer a decent amount of space for a family, but not to chauffer adults around. The trunk space is expansive and easily accessible which does play in its favor. The overall visibility and ease of use are great, even compared to much newer cars.
How Safe is the Renault Fluence?
The Fluence comes with all the necessary kit such as airbags, ABS, ESC, brake assist, and even a rearview camera. As far as overall crash protection is concerned, a 4 out of 5-star safety rating is present which means that the Fluence is well-protected, especially for a 2009 model.
Where the Fluence can’t match most cars is the availability of various assistance systems which simply weren’t available at the time when the Fluence came to the market. As such, you shouldn’t worry too much if you aren’t too strict about having stuff such as blind spot assist, lane keep assist or adaptive cruise control.
Which Cars Rival the Renault Fluence?
The most notable Renault Fluence rivals include the Toyota Corolla which is now more modern and better equipped, but more expensive. The Honda Civic is pretty much the same story, but the Civic is widely regarded as a bit more fun to drive than all of these.
The Hyundai Elantra is the most reliable one of the bunch, the Nissan Sentra is fairly spacious and economical while the Mazda 3 is the most stylish and not too far off the Civic when it comes to driving pleasure.
Why did Renault Discontinue the Fluence?
Renault stopped making the Fluence due to poor sales and the rise of crossovers and SUVs. The market is rapidly changing, and the biggest change is the increase in SUV and crossover popularity which basically put the last nail into the Renault Fluence coffin.
Renault does not seem too willing to bring back the Fluence anytime soon, at least not as a combustion engine car. The EV world is becoming more and more relevant and some people are thinking that the Fluence is going to make a comenack eventually, but strictly as an EV.