Renault Laguna Coupe GT 3.0D V6 - Communication

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Summary

Although Bluetooth connectivity has become pretty much ubiquitous in our lives, it still surprises me that cars are available without the option of wireless hands-free. Unsurprisingly, Renault hasn't made that mistake with the Laguna Coupe, and the test car came equipped with full Bluetooth connectivity and voice control.

It's testament to the car's logically laid out menus that I was able to pair my phone with the Laguna in a matter of minutes, without the need to refer to any documentation. Once paired, your phone will automatically connect whenever you start the car (assuming that you have it with you of course). Once connected, the Laguna's information screen will display how much battery your phone has, and the current signal strength. The latter is particularly useful, allowing you to ascertain whether you have a strong enough signal to make a call before attempting to do so.

As with all Bluetooth hands-free systems, call quality is as much to do with your phone as it is to do with the system. That said, the audio quality in the car was exceptionally good, while at the other end I was assured that my voice came through loud and clear. A nice touch is that when you answer a call while driving, the caller receives an automated message informing them that you're driving. You can choose to leave them holding until you pull over, or carry on driving while you chat.

The voice recognition is also phenomenally good. OK, so I still think that voice control of stereo functions is something of a gimmick, but for voice dialling, and even basic sat-nav commands, it can be a real benefit. You can copy your entire contact list from your phone across to the Laguna via Bluetooth. You can then scroll through the contacts list or, for ultimate convenience, assign voice tags to each entry. Once I'd recorded voice tags, the system recognised my requests perfectly without fail, whether driving or stationary.

Of course when you're dialling people in your contacts list, the system is comparing your voice command to the voice tag you recorded, it's still impressive that it always gets it right. More impressive is that the system managed to correctly recognise commands that weren't simple comparisons to my own inputs. If I chose to dial a phone number manually, the system managed to get it right every time. I wasn't saying each digit slowly and letting the Laguna recognise it before moving onto the next one either. I'm talking about blurting out an 11 digit number in one go and the system getting it spot on each and every time!

There's a voice command button nestled in the steering column audio controls, so it's very simple to initiate voice control. As soon as the button is pressed your music is muted and the system will instruct you to give a command after the beep. If you change your mind you can say "cancel" or simply press the voice command button again.

It's also worth noting that multiple phones can be paired with the car, which is useful for situations where multiple people drive a vehicle. In this instance the contacts list associated with each phone is only accessible when that specific handset is detected and connected, so no one will be able to rifle through your phone numbers when you're not in the car.

One last Bluetooth goody comes in the form of A2DP support. This means that if your phone or MP3 player is also A2DP compliant, you can stream your music wirelessly to the in-car stereo system. Of course you still won't be able to control the music using the car's controls, but it does mean that you can whack out your favourite playlist without needing to take your phone out of your pocket - well, except to press play, but that's it!

Martin Daler

March 25, 2009, 3:38 am

Riyad, nice to read up about the gadgets and how they actually work in practice. Good to see your own illustrative photos as well, much more informative than the usual press pack shots.


But seriously, is anyone ever going to put 㿊k in a Renault? I don't mean to be cruel, but wouldn't a document shredder be more convenient?

Riyad

March 25, 2009, 4:41 pm

As I said, you’re going to seriously want something a bit different to consider one of these over a smaller engined 3 Series. It’s a bold move from Renault to move into the luxury coupe market, and there’s a lot to like about the car, but there’s no doubt that it’s going to have a tough time in that market.





I’m going to get the new Megane Coupe out of Renault next I think. Plus the new Clio with TomTom sat-nav should be on the cards later in the year - both should be interesting.

Peter 14

March 25, 2009, 8:59 pm

Riyad. Just wanted to say, nice review, especially on the tech side. The Laguna coupe was definitely lacking a review like that before.





I just wanted to ask, how was the A2DP sound quality through the Bose speakers?





As far as I know, instead of the RCA inputs in the centre, there will be the "Plug&Music" terminal (on page 21 http://www.motorportal.com/ren... also located in the centre console storage box, with a USB and AUX-in jack. I think the "TunePoint system" (http://www.renault.co.uk/Resou..., which you mentioned in the review, is actually a connection box which fits in the glove box (dealer installed) and (I might be wrong), I remember reading somewhere, that for some reason it is not compatible with the Carmiat 3 3D (top spec sat nav).





Either way, enough of my tech neediness, once again great review!

Riyad

March 30, 2009, 7:55 pm

@Peter - I’m afraid that the A2DP is the one thing that I didn’t get around to testing, which is why I merely mentioned its presence rather than discussing its performance. Unfortunately I use an iPhone which (currently) doesn’t support A2DP, so I couldn’t test it with the phone I have with me all the time. Although I have other phones knocking around, every time I remembered that I wanted to test A2DP, I wasn’t in the office and only had the iPhone handy.





Theoretically though, it shouldn’t sound any different from playing back an MP3 on a CD, since the same decoding hardware will be used in both instances.

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