What is it?
Renault is keen to point out that the new Sport Tourer is not merely an estate version of its recently introduced third-generation Laguna hatch. The French firm says the Sport Tourer appeals to a considerably younger crowd, witnessed by the average age of Laguna estate buyers being 40, as opposed the 50-year old who typically drives the hatch. The reason behind the contrasting figures is that there are more private buyers choosing the wagon's extra practicality over the hatch, which sells more to company car drivers in the fleet market.
A little longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, the new Sport Tourer is perhaps a more handsome car than the hatch, which has had a lukewarm reception to its looks. There are also some neat estate-car touches that make the Laguna a decent proposition for the family or business user, as well as a broad range of excellent turbodiesel engines, including a new 175bhp version of the 2.0 dCi. There are also a couple of 2.0-litre petrols, and there's a 3.5 V6 petrol and 3.0 V6 turbodiesel on the way later in 2008.
The Laguna Sport Tourer is also a key part of Renault's determination to improve build quality, reliability and its image with buyers. The company has formulated a three-year plan, called the Renault Commitment 2009, which states that, by the end of that year, the company will be in the top three in its segment for product and service quality - bold words from a company that has struggled in the past to make its cars reliable. However, Renault is confident enough to offer a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard with the Laguna hatch and Sport Tourer.