Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tourer Is in a Tough Market

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tourer Is in a Tough Market

Article excerpt

Byline: By STEVE HUGHES

WITH all the talk about wholesale migration from conventional cars to crossovers, 4x4s, SUVs and a host of other new wave types, you could be forgiven for thinking that familiar family models are now history.

In fact, if anything, the boring old estate car is enjoying something of a renaissance, especially when it is as stylish as those produced by the likes of Peugeot, Audi, BMW and Renault.

They even give them trendy names such as Station Wagon, Avant, Tourer and, in the case of Renault, the Sport Tourer.

Ford is one of few brands brave enough to call a spade a spade, or rather an estate an estate.

This has done nothing to lessen the appeal of its load-lugging Focus and Mondeo models, which continue to set the standards to which the others aspire, at least in terms of practicality if not ultimate quality.

Renault is planning to muscle in on both counts with its forthcoming Sport Tourer version of the latest Laguna, which has already arrived in five-door hatchback guise.

When the Sport Tourers take to the roads in January they will aim to rank alongside Audi and BMW in terms of quality with their ace card being a series of innovations to enhance their hold-all appeal.

The order book is now open and prices have been set at pounds 16,940 for the entry-level two-litre petrol model with Expression trim and pounds 18,600 for the 150bhp two-litre diesel that is likely to be the best seller.

In addition to Expression versions, there will be Dynamique, Dynamique S and Initiale models that ultimately take the price tag all the way up to pounds 24,350 for the fully-loaded 150bhp oil burner with oodles of kit.

In due course, there will be an even more powerful version of this car with a power output of 175bhp and prices yet to be announced. To compete against peers such as the Mondeo, Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, Vauxhall Vectra and Toyota Avensis and to aspire to enter the premium class occupied by the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 is an ambitious aim. …

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