Look-a-like: Renault Talisman and…

Renault Talisman is a very good-looking car, no two ways about it. It manages to look imposing and elegant (well, aside maybe from the running-mascara daylights) while at the same time retaining a clear family resemblance to the more swoopy Renault designs such as the Twingo or Clio thanks to the imposing diamond on its grille. However, there is one element of the car’s design that to me always looked too similar to one of its direct competitors, namely the front lights.

It is not an obvious similarity, since the designs of the the two cars are otherwise not that close, but the Renault’s headlights bear a clear resemblance to the items on the european VW Passat. They both share the same aggressive slant on the inner corner, the same pointy finish where the lights extend into the fender, but most importantly the same flat top that gives the cars an aggressive, furrowed brow look, accentuated on the Passat with a chrome strip, and on the Renault by the LED daylights. It brings to mind Mazda CX-5 and Infiniti QX60: two cars that don’t look very alike, aside from the almost-identical headlight design.

Was the Talisman, revealed mid-2015, actually influenced by the Passat, itself released in the fall of 2014? Long lead times on converting designs into production would suggest there was not enough time for that. However, looking at the unusual shape of the edge of the hood above the front fenders one has to wonder whether the Talisman was not originally intended to have different lights, more akin to the large swoopy items on its smaller Clio sister, which were then replaced at the last minute by the final design we see now. This would not be the first time, as Carlos Ghosn famously directly interfered with the design of the second-generation Renault Twingo, deeming the original not good enough.

  1. I think it looks better both outside and inside than the Passat. The LED daylights and the creases in the hood give it more flavour, and on the side it has more curves than the Passat.

    The Passat looks bland in comparison.

    1. I remember some video test when that started: “This car looks like a Passat corrected by Renault”.

      Nevertheless D-segment buyers are mostly conservative. I’m really anxious if Talisman will manage to sell above 50k a year.

  2. And the recently leaked new Volkswagen CC looks like a cross between a Passat and a Talisman 😀

    I prefer the Talisman sedan to the Passat, but the Passat Variant looks classier than the Talisman Estate imo.
    Somewhat disapointed that the Talisman has received a lot of criticism because of its interior quality though, especially because Renault had done a pretty good job of raising its bar for quality with the Laguna III.

    1. I think that this criticism is to big. Quality of interior is good, maybe not so good as in Passat, but better than Superb, Mondeo for example.

    2. The new VW CC looks like Volkswagen Sport Coupe GTE Concept which was showed before Renault Talisman…

      1. Bad quality of the french cars is not a propaganda – that’s why lot of Renaults are not selling in the UK, no one wanted to buy them because of fatal reputation… And of course the highest drop of residual value – french cars because of fatal reputation…

      2. Partially you are right. Renault had a very bad moments when it comes to quality and a failure in UK. But as far as I know they do not have highest drop of residual value. Focus or Astra as fleet models have bigger ones. Not mentioning Citroen or Fiat.

        Nevertheless German propaganda is repeating myths about bad quality of french cars while PSA diesels are better then VAG (just a one example).

        I think that it would be much better for us, customers, if the competition was healthier.

        To be clear. I do not claim Talisman is better then Passat (what I wrote several times in this topic).

  3. Does Hella supply both? That may be the real explanation. The vertical leveling mandated in the EU, and the turn tracking both push towards common optics design. There are ways around it – I’ve seen examples in concept rooms at Valeo in Paris and Koito in Shizuoka – but if you’re looking to save cost… If true, is there a Nissan model with similar lights?

  4. The the only criticism I saw of the interior quality of the Talisman is that it’s not as good as the Passat. Which is said of all the non-premium offerings of the segment.
    And since the editorial groups that control most automotive magazines are controlled by german groups I have serious doubts about those reports. When I read reviews in my home country about Skodas and Seats they always lavish praise on the materials and build quality of those interiors and when I sit in those cars I am always underwhelmed because they’re no different from other options.

    1. I agree with you Pedro. 99 out of 100 car reviews in European magazines are written with a European orientation and since Germany has the largest industry it means a German orientation. According to these reviews VWs always have a better interior than related Audis, Skodas and Seats, but no one can really explain the assumed difference, because all parts are from the same factory. In fact, VW Group uses interior parts from Faurecia which is a French company. Nevertheless, Peugeot and Citroen (owner of Faurecia) are considered to have bad interior quality compared with e.g. VW. That’s ridiculous! This is one reason why top brands like Infiniti and Lexus are always behind e.g. BMW and Mercedes-Benz according to European car journalists. They’re using a German car as a reference and forget to analyse a Lexus or Infiniti as a non-German car. Of course you can compare products, that’s fine, but it’s unfair to put on German glasses when reviewing non-European products.

      About the Talisman, I think it’s a good looking car. One of few D-segment cars with some charisma unlike the….pleonasm alert!!!….dull Passat.

      1. At least over here in Portugal you have two weekly auto magazines.
        Their main editorial groups are german: Autofoco has a partnership and shares a lot of content with Auto Bild. And Autohoje belongs to Motorpress, which is a german editorial group with its headquarters in Sttutgart Germany and whose main publication is Auto Motor und Sport in Germany and a bunch of other european countries.

        And tuga: L’Automobile is owned by Motorpress, which is this german group so it’s natural they also make those comments as you can see. 😉

        The portuguese magazines constantly have renders and stories about the future models of german brands. Much more than of any other brands of other european countries and much more than those of any non-european country.

      2. Auto Motor und Sport – the best european automotive magazine

        “The portuguese magazines constantly have renders and stories about the future models of german brands. Much more than of any other brands of other european countries and much more than those of any non-european country.”

        Because german automotive industry is the biggest in Europe – they produce the most cars, have the most quantity of brands, huge quantity of models, so it’s natural that the most informations, news and renders are about german brands

        Automotive Industry in others european countries is a midget comparing to the Germans.

      3. “Because german automotive industry is the biggest in Europe – they produce the most cars, have the most quantity of brands, huge quantity of models, so it’s natural that the most informations, news and renders are about german brands

        Automotive Industry in others european countries is a midget comparing to the Germans.”

        No it’s not. And nothing justifies that you have renders mostly of the german cars when you have plenty of asian brands also present in the european amrket, american brands (Ford, Vauxhall/Opel), Jaguars, Volvos, italian and french cars which are making amazing things. Why aren’t the european magazines making renders of possible Alpine models or DS models? Where are the renders of new Alfa Romeos which are slated to show up untill 2019? Or of the new Maserati Granturismo? Or of the future Volvo XC60 and S/V60? Or of the new Jaguars?

        And then we still have the asian brands present in Europe. Why no renders about the future Hyundais, KIAs which will even release a 4 Series competitor? Or of new Lexus for that matter.

        As you can see there’s plenty of variety that could be reported by these magazines but curiously in the printed media what we get is overwhelmingly renders of always the same brands.

    2. L’Automobile Magazine made those comments too and they are, for the most part, very pro-French. Not that it’s bad, but taking into account what they CAN do ( with the Espace for exemple, or the new Megane ) it should have been better.

      And Renault agreed, because there have already been ( small ) upgrades to the interior.

    3. @Pedro Please don’t compare L’Automobile to AutoHoje/Autofoco. They may be under the same publishing group ( That AutoHoje ), but they have a lot more editorial leverage and financial means, they can actually road test cars ( comprehensevily ) all over Europe, and consider that a Picasso is better than a Touran ( because it is ), or that a 308 is just as good as a Golf ( which it can be ). Even when they participate in Motorpress ubertests ( which they don’t do often ), they seem to have their own people there, and i have never seen a simple reprint of a German story in L’Automobile, unlike what AutoHoje commonly does. Or what AutoFoco does, which is poorly translating an entire German magazine and adding small details relevant to Portugal.

      Another source that i find unbiased is the Spanish site Km77, and they, again, thought the Talisman was good, but not as good as the best. Which in my opinion, and this is my opinion, it should have been, because i believe they could have done it.

      And i get that people don’t like VW, but guess what? The Passat? Pretty damn nice inside.

      1. They may have more leverage but they still spread the same bias about the “interior quality” then there’s a gruop-wide editorial policy.
        The Passat is a great car in Europe, but is boring and non-descript. Much like Volvos in the 80’s and begining of the 90’s.
        And the interior? It’s a matter of opinion: I hate those fake air vents across the entire dash for example. And you have reports of rattles in the dash in this new Passat.
        So their interior quality isn’t that different from the others.

  5. I agree with most of your comments, the Talisman is a good-looking car and the interior is pretty nice, though personally I prefer landscape-oriented infotainment systems to the portrait orientation in the Renaults (same is true of Tesla, Volvo). I certainly prefer it to the Passat’s, which uses the ugly vertical strips around the ventilation system (much like the Audi Q7)

    1. Krzysztof – i can’t agree with you . Passat has clean, distinctive lines and minimalistic european style. And Talisman? It’s like a car from Asia – take off renault badge and this front could be in every chinese or korean car. And Talisman’s side profile – Talisman is a Hyundai Azera copy!!

      1. Bazooka, I have a different view:

        The Talisman merges classical NW Euro styling with some Latin flair.
        Flair, let alone some sensuality, is totally lacking in Asian design.

        Laurens van de Acker is right: Designwise, the Talisman stand comparison with a Benz or Audi. .

      2. @Rick
        So look at the Talisman’s side profile and then at Hyundai Azera’s side profile… This is not Euro styling with some Latin flair, this is pure Asia…

      3. Considering that the koreans have european designers, it’s more those that have european design.
        I laugh when I see comments demeaning the design of asian cars as “pure asia” as if that’s a bad thing. It has racist undertones.

  6. Few months ago I did comparison:

    Cheapest versions of Superb, Talisman, Mondeo, Insignia -> Talisman is best

    Most expensive versions of the same cars -> differences are slight but still Superb is the weakest.

    1. The best for Renault fanatic only – which hates VW Group – you’ve forgotten to write this 🙂

  7. Bazooka, you don’t seem to accept very well that people may have a different opinion than you about the talisman and Passat design and you are starting accusing others of being Renault fanatics. Maybe you should look yourself in the mirror?

  8. From what I see here you suffer from the exact opposite that he does. So you are not exactly impartial as well.

  9. @Bazooka, Pedro

    I never wrote that I “hate” or “love” a brand. I don’t like VAG but I never wrote I hate it. I like Talisman design. Does it make me a Renault fan?

    Bazooka is the one who only tolerates one brand (concern) and keeps arguing with every other people who think oppositely.

  10. I saw both cars (Talisman and Passat) recently, and in my opinion, Talisman has a better look, is more impressive in live than Passat. The design is modern, and thanks to God, Renault doesn’t use terrible glossy painted plastics. The overall quality is high class. Maybe Passat is still a step forward, but anyway, Renault has done a great work with new Talisman.
    If we compare the Renault with other cars as Mondeo, Mazda 6, Superb…. I prefer Talisman, In my opinion has a better mix between design/quality/room/equipment/comfort/ride.

  11. Sad renuault had to make a new talisman to show the market they are almost the same class as passat, in my opinion laguna3 phase 2 were one step forward to a nice car just with a odd design. Just if pahse 2came earlier like 2008 I believe laguna3 would have done great in sales compared to passat. At 2015, instead of making a new model they should have maade a new laguna 4 because renault made a nice car baser on laguna 3 for korean market, the renault/samsumg sm7. Laguna 3 together with opel insigina was two of the nice looking cars in mid-size categoty.

  12. Even the interior of Talisman looks a lot like the Passat, please look at steering wheel and a/c vent grills design.

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