Renault Megane review

Now adopting the space-age hatch-coupe look that small family cars are moving towards, the Megane looks really sharp. In three-door coupe version it’s one of the sexiest cars on the road.

The five-door Megane Hatch range starts from £13,735, while Megane three-door Coupe models start from £14,485 – that’s alongside the Sport Tourer and coupe-cabriolet models too.

Sport and passion are the watchwords in these new Meganes, says Renualt, and it’s a good job too as there are strong competitors in this sector from the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308, Citroen C4 and Mazda3.

Both new Meganes are undoubtedly elegant, but the interior quality and range of gadgetry is stronger too while specifications are higher, to attract more buyers from larger cars looking to downsize.

Inside there’s a big leap in the quality of materials, which is not to say that the previous Megane was lacking; this new model simply kicks on again.

With high-quality materials, high equipment levels and an unfussy dashboard layout, it’s an impressive sight – and it’s practical too with plenty of room for five, plus luggage, and split folding rear seats for even more storage space.

There are three trim levels for the Megane Hatch, Expression, the best selling Dynamique and Privilege.

Air conditioning, oodles of safety equipment, variable power steering, electrical windows, heated electrically-adjustable door mirrors and loads more feature as standard kit here.

Renault says the Dynamique specification will be the best-seller – and for their money buyers really are spoiled. In addition to the standard kit above, Dynamique features 16-inch alloys, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, an upgraded sound system with Bluetooth, cruise control and front fog lights.

There are rafts of safety kit too, in addition to al the nice bells and whistles. ESP with Anti-Skid Regulation and CSV understeer control: ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating should keep minds at rest in even the most safety-conscious driver.

There are numerous petrol and diesel engines available, with more high-economy Energy dci engines on the way that should challenge for the most economical, least CO2-emitting engines on the market for the sector.

In the meantime there’s a superb 180bhp 2.0-litre TCe turbo petrol engine that’s nearing hot hatch territory, while there’s also a new 130bhp 1.9-litre dCi turbodiesel that gives a wonderful balance of performance and economy.

The 1.9-litre engine boasts high torque of 300NM, but it’s available from a low 1,750rpm so it pulls strongly from low down the rev range and means the perfectly-geared six-speed manual transmission doesn’t need to be worked hard.

Couple the good performance with fuel economy of well over 50mpg combined and it’s an excellent all-rounder. CO2 emissions 134g/km tmean road tax is in Band C rating, while benefit-in-kind tax for company drivers is 18%.

Ride comfort in the Megane is probably the best in the sector, Renault being famous for the quality of the suspension, but surprisingly the handling is also excellent – it’s rare to find both in cars, particularly in this sector.

The new Megane adds the style and good handling of the previous model and adds more specification, interior quality and gadgetry; it’s an impressive – even sexy – package that improves on the previous model. And when the previous model was the Mark II Renault Megane, that’s startling.

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