Look at the future as it was in 1995 and look at the future circa 2015. Are we going back in time? Sideways?
I was moved to write this when I saw a breathless announcement at French Cars In America that there was a new Renault Laguna on the way. They alleged that the car was going to be shown at the Paris Motor show (happening around now, if you reading this in 2016 sometime) They got their story from Auto Plus. While cross checking it I found that Auto Express had nothing to say on the matter at all. So, I don’t know if the car really will be sold or is just a Photoshop story.
Assuming the car looks a little like the one shown above we have another big, grey bloater with a high waistline and a busy front end. Renault have not really grasped what they might need to do to catch our attention. This car takes existing trends and works them over a bit. The glasshouse is almost absurdly small. Otherwise if one had parked this car in a car-park in 2009 nobody would have noticed it. Like the new-for-2011 Euro Mondeo recently revealed, this design seems half a model cycle out of date already. But, it gives me a chance to run an unflattering comparison with the 1995 Renault Initiale concept car (below).
I liked this car when it was shown but in the intervening years I realise it may have been one of the last cars done with a nice deep DLO. Look at that side glass. And then look at the letterbox the 2015 car above is burdened with. Pleasingly, the 1995 Initiale has some fitted and matching luggage. I think we can say Bryan Ferry would go for this one.
Some of the ideas on the Initiale ended up pasted onto the Renault Laguna and the Renault Megane saloon of 2006.
Looking back, the 1995 Initiale was a really big wasted opportunity. You could say that the appearance is dated: window lines are now a lot higher. But if that design had been
produced perhaps it could have affected the later trend for high waistlines. As Sean has noted, history is shaped by the winners. Bearing that in mind, the Initiale’s appearance and proportions are not as strange as you would think, certainly not in comparison with other 1995 cars. Not many concept cars look so good after 19 years; the 1995 Initiale, at least to my eyes, looks horribly like a sad, missed chance.