The used Renault Laguna and the seaside town of Bognor Regis have something in common. This is that whereas neither is frequently perceived as the greatest of its type, both have a dedicated following. So, the Laguna sells despite being generally inferior to the Mondeo – and Bognor's beaches fill with tourists even though Spain is far warmer.Perhaps the Laguna's unconventional appeal is due to its engines. These come in various shapes and sizes, but the best compromise between performance and economy is the 2.0-litre 177bhp diesel. This propels the Laguna to 60mph in 8.2 seconds, and averages 49mpg on its way to the coast. Emissions are 150g/km, so it neatly parks in road tax band F/£125. Very nice too. Alternatively, those who believe that diesel should only power tractors may prefer the 2.0-litre 202bhp petrol model. This, and here comes the bad news, only averages 34mpg - but it compensates by hitting 60mph in 7.6 seconds and reaching 148mph. Great on paper, but unfortunately the Laguna is less suited to speed than a truck driver is to ballet. The handling characteristics, and let's be kind here, make the Laguna a competent cruiser rather than a sporty thrill seeker. Throwing it harshly into corners makes it wallow, swear in French, and punish you with woolly steering. That said, not every motorist wants the ultimate driving experience and there are thousands of happy owners out there. The current generation Laguna, which was introduced in 2007, is intended to feel more robust than its predecessor. Renault have succeeded up to a point. The cabin in particular is better screwed together, but I would not bet my life savings on it outlasting its main class rivals. The jury, as they say, is out. According to Motoring.co.uk's used car database, prices for three year old examples of the used Renault Laguna start at £5,000. This is a sensible sum for those who recognise its faults but love it anyway. After all, the Laguna's quirky lines and French 'X-Factor' make it appealingly distinctive. All you need now is a weekend break in Bognor.
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