When Renault launched the Fluence they positioned the petrol as the premium variant with all the bells and the whistles while the diesel was the cheaper alternative with a visually lower spec interior. All the niceties from the petrol like the climate control, leather wrapped steering and seats, auto headlamps and wipers, rear air-con vents were dumped for a dumbed down black interior. Naturally our diesel worshipping market didn't take very kindly to this and Renault ended up with sales figures that were luke warm at best.
The Fluence E4 then had to be the logical solution. Yep, this car has all the nice bits from the petrol but with an oil burner under the hood. Perhaps the only omission is the CVT auto from the petrol, you can only have your diesel Fluence with a manual box. So the Fluence finally has some toys to go with its inherent strong points.
What strong points you ask? Well the styling's always been one of them. It's exactly the same on the outside with the exception of some chrome on the window sills and boot lid. She's no instant head turner but the subtle lines along with a wide body and those swept back headlamps and long tail lamps make for an attractive design that relentlessly grows on you.
The interiors themselves are untouched save for the beige colour scheme and the new bi-zone aircon controller. However this car was never really made for spending much time up front. The Fluence with its roomy rear and excellent ride quality is the perfect car to be chauffeured around in. The rear air-con vents and sun blinds stand testament to this. However if you do find yourself at the wheel you'll marvel at the incredibly light steering that makes, umm light work of traffic but weighs up at speed. The car has a planted feel at high speeds although body roll is evident. The 106PS 1.5-litre diesel gives you just enough power (0-100kmph in 13.5 seconds) and torque for a relaxed and stress free drive while efficiency is a thrifty 15.9kmpl. The E4 is priced at Rs 15.04 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai and that's the exact same price as the top petrol E4 with the CVT box. It's also about the same as a top of the line Altis diesel. So if you're in the market for a comfortable chauffer driven diesel car that stands out from the crowd the Renault Fluence is worth a look.