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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Renault Fluence has come in for its first facelift, but the changes are limited to minor styling and interior equipment tweaks.

On the outside, the nip-tucked Renault Fluence gets a larger chrome grille with three horizontal slats, which mimics the Renault Koleos compact SUV, in addition to new alloy wheel designs (16-inch Dynamique/17-inch Privilege), new black-tinted projector headlights claimed to improve night-time range, and a rear chrome strip. A new Metallic Brown hue replaces Midnight Blue on the colour palette.

Renault Fluence 6

Inside, the Fluence picks up a digital speedometer from its Megane hatchback sibling.

The $23,143 Fluence Dynamique manual (plus-$2K auto CVT) only gets new cloth seat trim and Arkamys six-speaker audio with Bluetooth connectivity, with most of the equipment additions reserved for the flagship model. The auto-only $30,298 Fluence Privilege adds new ‘premium’ leather trim, Bose audio with nine-inch subwoofer, a seven-inch colour touch-screen housing the satellite navigation and reversing camera, an electric park brake, and proximity-sensor technology for the Smart Key, allowing drivers to open and lock the car and start the car with the key in their pocket.

Renault Fluence 2

Continuing as the only engine option is a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder that produces 103kW of power at 6000rpm and 195Nm of torque at 3750rpm.

Unlike most small sedans in the class, Renault’s entry-level sedan continues to cost more than its equivalent hatchback. The Fluence Dynamique sedan costs $2155 more than the Megane Expression hatch, and although it misses out on Renault’s new 1.2-litre turbo engine, it uniquely adds alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights/wipers, and dual-zone climate control with rear seat air vents.

Renault Fluence 3

The Fluence Privilege also costs $308 more than the Megane Privilege, but while it exclusively gets a Bose audio and touchscreen interface, it also misses out on the heated front seats, front parking sensors, and ‘Visio’ – Renault’s auto-dip headlight and lane departure warning system – standard on its sibling.

The Korean-made Fluence has been a slow seller for Renault since its launch in 2010, this year mustering only 120 sales to August, beaten even by the Proton Preve which has tallied 167 units over the same period. Despite this, Renault said earlier this year at the facelifted Megane launch that it remains committed to selling the small sedan, while admitting that its sales base has predominantly been the domain of fleet buyers.




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