Refrigeration, sewing machines, canning, hot air balloon, bicycles, the braille system and pasteurisation, what do these inventions have in common? They are all discovered and invented in France, likewise with hundreds of other things in the fields of art, fashion and cars. Did you know that the French invented the concept of the automobile before anyone else? It was Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot was a French inventor who had the brainwave to built the first steam powered self-propelled land-based vehicle in 1769 for use by the French army.
It consists of two wheels at the rear and one at the front, which the latter supported its steam boiler and drive mechanism. It weighs in at 2.5-tonnes and one source had stated that it seated four passengers and moved at strolling speeds of 3.6 km/h. Not only that the French had invented the first ever automobile, but the first passenger car in history.
The Renault Fluence 2.0 you see here is the result of 246 years worth of development and improvements, where key areas of the car were invented and implemented by, which you’ve probably guessed it by now, the French.
Appearance wise, the Renault Fluence 2.0 appears to be a practical and civilised saloon that doesn’t attract too much attention – especially with unwanted attention. The Fluence you see here in pictures is the Dynamique trim that comes with chrome accents with daytime running lights. The rear lamps cluster are LEDs instead of the regular bulb type on the Expression trim.
The practicality theme continues inside, where you will find soft touch materials on the dashboard, front and rear door cards and centre armrest adds a touch of additional comfort. Occupant space wise, Renault has gotten it right, where the Fluence offers a decent amount of occupant space; with its long wheelbase of 2,702 mm, passengers are able to stretch out as there is plenty of head room for front and rear, as well as legroom.
The front seats are wide and supportive, able to sit drivers and passengers of large sizes comfortably with good lateral support. Likewise at the rear, three adults can sit abreast comfortably with sufficient head and legroom.
Going for a long distance trip outstation away from home for long periods of time will not be a problem; with its 530-litre boot space, you could fit a month’s worth of clothing, with plenty of space to spare for souvenirs. If do need to carry larger and bulky items, that is not problem as its rear seats can be folded down 60:40, allowing additional storage space and easier access to the item.
Lying under the hood is a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine making 141 hp at 6,000 rpm and 195 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm. Like all modern petrol engines, the 2.0-litre engine is a four-stroke internal combustion engine, which the principle originated by Alphonse Eugène Beau de Rochas. His achievement lay partly in the importance of compressing the air-fuel mixture before ignition. The two-litre four-pot make the 1,406kg weight seem if not inconsequential and capable of pulling away from junctions in a hurry.
Both Expression and Dynamique trims sit on 17” alloy wheel, which both wheels comes in silver and two-tone finish respectively. These alloy wheels are wrapped with another French contribution to land transportation; Tyres. Édouard Michelin had improved greatly on the design of pneumatic tyres, making them easier to replace and repair. Soon it was quickly adapted for motor vehicles, of which France was becoming the world’s leading producer. In this case however, the tyres fitted on the Fluence are the Continental ContiPremiumContact 2 as standard.
The engine is connected to a CVT transmission that sends power to the front wheels seamlessly without the slight pause of a conventional automatic transmission, making the driving experience comfortable and manageable. The Fluence achieves a extra-urban fuel consumption figure of 6.4 l/100km (15.6 km/l) as tested.
What you will expect from driving the Fluence is that it’s an easy car to operate; with its digital speedometer, travelling speed can be determined at a glance with vehicle information displayed accurately with the digital display screen with a deep blue illumination. The R-Link multimedia system allows access to your media content, make calls or find the quickest route using the built-in navigation system. The multimedia centre can be connected to all of your devices, even streaming your favourite songs from your smartphone via Bluetooth.
The Renault Fluence 2.0 scores high on value for its generous space, and good fuel economy. Also, its easy-to-drive characteristics doesn’t intimidate the most timid of drivers, which makes it a suitable car for anyone in the family who holds a drivers licence to drive.
Renault Malaysia is providing a 5-years manufacturer’s warranty with 5 years free maintenance for parts and labour available at all 15 authorised Renault service centres nationwide should you opt for one. Last but not least, Leon Levavasseur, a French powerplant engineer, aircraft designer and inventor, had innovated and patented the V8 engine in 1902.
Plush ride, plenty of interior space, punchy yet frugal engine, and easy to drive
Interior feels tacky
Price: RM123,481.97 (Tested)
Engine: 1,997cc I4
Top Speed: 190km/h (Tested)
Fuel Economy: 6.4 l/100km (15.6 km/l) (Tested)