Renault won’t be bringing the Talisman estate to the UK. This is a shame.
Now, I have to declare an interest here as I’ve always had a soft spot for large Renaults. My granddad had a 21 in the early Nineties which he replaced with a brand-new Laguna. He took me along with him to collect it which was, at 10 years old, very exciting. These are the things a petrolhead’s affections are built on.
That aside, the Renault Talisman looks rather promising. It’s certainly a stylish thing and suitably ‘premium’, both inside and out. Not sure it’s quite as elegant as the new Skoda Superb estate, but it works for me. The dashboard is centered around a tablet-like touchscreen, something we’ve only previously seen further upmarket on the Tesla Model S and Volvo XC90. And it should be a competent steer, too, especially high-spec models which get four-wheel-steering for better agility.
There are perfectly good reasons why the Talisman – in both estate and saloon forms – won’t be coming to the UK. Renault hasn’t had a D-segment contender here since it pulled the slow-selling Laguna in 2011. And sales are shrinking in the segment, as buyers increasingly turn away from traditional hatchbacks, saloons and estates in favour of SUVs and crossovers. In Europe and elsewhere, the market is relatively stable.
Be that as it may, estates still account for a good chunk of D-segment sales – 54 per cent across Europe – and it seems to me that, for the typical estate buyer, badge matters less than practicality. On that front the Talisman scores strongly. With seats-up bootspace of around 570 litres and nearly 1,700 litres seats-down, it has one of the biggest boots in the class.
It all adds up to what looks like being a very strong package. Possibly even strong enough to persuade British car buyers, fickle bunch that they are, into Renault showrooms. The Talisman would have to be re-engineered for right-hand-drive, but it’s based on a modular platform that is available with RHD in other applications. So it shouldn’t be too difficult or costly.
The official line is that Renault has “no immediate plans” to sell the Talisman in the UK. That just leaves the door ajar. Might not be able to see the light on the other side, but it’s not on the latch. Maybe it depends on how the long-overdue next-generation Megane is received – both its exterior and interior will look similar and it’ll take a jump upmarket.
As a journalist, I should of course remain coolly objective and wait until I’ve driven the Talisman before passing judgement on it – if, indeed, that ever happens. But the mere concept of a large Renault reminds of a very happy day, which sends objectivity out of the window. The fact that it looks like being a good car is an added bonus.
Of course, the only way Renault will sell the Talisman here is if people start asking them to. If its piqued your interest as much as it has mine, do so.
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By Only Motors