The Renault Talisman – the car that the French won’t give us
The Renault Talisman is a handsome French car. It’s available as a saloon and as an estate, and its handsome design makes it arguably one of the more attractive European cars in this segment. A range of engines are available, from an efficient 1.5-litre diesel to a 200bhp turbocharged petrol, and Euro NCAP has awarded the model its maximum five-star rating. So why haven’t we reviewed one?
Because here at the Telegraph, we generally review cars that are actually for sale in Britain. And the Talisman isn’t – Renault decided not to bring it to the UK, or any other right-hand-drive market.
This choice was made in 2015, if not before, based on the fact that Brits don’t buy big French cars anymore. Renault has also stopped selling the Espace here, and travellers to foreign climes may have noticed an unfamiliar Citroen by the name Elysée – another French car that hasn’t made it across the Channel.
The Talisman looks a lot like the Megane (which remains on sale in Blighty) and was designed by Alexis Martot, who also penned the latest Koleos. These cars share the C-shaped DRLs and the slightly exaggerated front and rear light clusters. It has a masculine look and talks Renault’s design language more fluently than anything else in the company’s stable. The interior is pretty coherent too, with great space for all passengers, a huge boot in the estate version and an all-round demi-premium feel.
They don’t sell it here, and they don’t plan to. The UK has historically been a crucial market for car manufacturers so it’s rare for us to be deprived of models sold in the rest of Europe, despite our contrarian right-hand-drive persuasion. But post-Brexit, we can expect growing reluctance from car makers to cater for our idiosyncratic ways – future omissions are possible, especially from the French.