Reanult’s Talisman hopes to work magic on global markets
But car maker’s new saloon almost certainly not bound for Irish shores
Big and imposing: the Renault Talisman is the successor to the long-defunct Laguna
Based on the same CMF-CD (common module family) platform already seen (or more accurately not seen) under the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trial and the recently launched Renault Kadjar crossover, the Talisman is a big, imposing four-door saloon – 4.85-metres long and 1.85-metres wide, with a leg-stretching 2.85-metre wheelbase and a whopping 608-litre boot (it holds four – four! – golf bags, says Renault).
Renault is clearly going to be selling the car with heavy emphasis on its cabin space, which is a critical issue for it as it will primarily be sold in China. Renault already has a model of the same name on sale there, and the spreading of the Talisman name to global markets is the first step to creating a more global model range for Renault, following on from Ford’s example.
Global, but not entirely so – the Talisman won’t be coming here or to the UK. It’s a victim of the sluggish sales of the last-generation Laguna and the old Espace that saw Renault pull the plug on right-hand-drive production of those models, and that’s not a decision that looks likely to be reversed any time soon.
Although saloons and MPVs still sell tolerably well in Europe itself, here and in the UK the emphasis is increasingly on SUVs and crossovers. So we already got the Captur and will get the Kadjar, but the new, more luxurious Espace and the Talisman won’t trouble Irish dealer forecourts.
Which seems a bit of a shame – this looks like an imposing saloon (albeit one that seems to owe more than a small debt to the styling of the current VW Passat) and if the interior is anything like that of the new Espace, then it will be a comfy and classy place in which to spend time.
Engines range from a new 1.4-litre 110hp diesel with 95g/km CO2 emissions to a top-spec 200hp petrol turbo. Renault expects the best-sellers to be the mid-range 1.6 diesel versions with either 130hp or 160hp. The Talisman comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and can be had with a new dual-clutch automatic as well as adaptive dampers in the suspension that allow the driver to switch between Comfort and Sport modes. Full LED headlights are available as an option. Top spec Talismans (Talismen?) come with an 8.7-inch central touchscreen and a Bose stereo system.
Alexis Martot, exterior designer of the Talisman, took great pleasure in fine-tuning the balance of the vehicle. “My chief priority was to make sure the car had all the right fundamentals in terms of its proportions, the ratio of glazed areas to sheet metal and wheel size.
“The next task was to ensure that the Talisman always looked natural and balanced when seen from any angle. In this type of exercise there will inevitably be areas where compromises have to be made: while it is important to ‘stretch the lines’ in order to give the body a well-planted stance in both length and width to visually lower the roofline, it is absolutely out of the question to do this if it impinges on occupant accommodation or headroom.
“On a large family vehicle like this, it is also essential to recognise that buyers expect a large boot. Yet we need to avoid the ‘backpack’ effect. In other words, we must ensure that the rear boot section is neither too tall nor too dominant in order to ensure a balanced impression.
“The lines must ‘tuck in’ at the back to achieve the desired elegance, but not excessively. And while the Talisman’s lines are sleek, we took great care to ensure it isn’t pitched too steeply forward merely to accentuate the dynamic effect.”
Those saddened by the non-appearance of the Talisman on Irish price lists (and there must be some of you out there) might be mollified to know that it will be here in spirit – the same CFM-CD platform will also underpin the new Megane, which arrives next year.