Tuesday 25 April 2017

Renault Megane: 'The new Megane manages to both undercut its main rivals and bring a lot more to the table'

New Megane
New Megane

Sinéad McCann, CarsIreland.ie

The all-new fourth generation Megane has arrived and it looks like the Renault design team have finally hit the nail on the head with this one. Longer, lower, and sportier than before – it's suddenly one of the best looking (and best value) hatchbacks on the market.

Performance & Running Costs

The engine line-up will mirror that of the Kadjar, with a 1.2l petrol, a 1.6l diesel, and the trusty 110hp1.5l DCI - which will be the obvious choice for most with its incredible fuel economy of  (3.9l/100km) and €180 tax bill There's also a tasty 1.6l 205hp high-performance GT model complete with a new '4Control' four wheel steering system. A diesel GT is on the way next year, as well as a Hybrid version which promises to reduce running costs further again.

Handling

There has been a marked improvement in the handling and the new Megane is quite an enjoyable car to drive. The lower, wider body gives it more grip, and a slightly firmer suspension combined with a sharper steering set-up makes for some good fun on windy roads. Good sound insulation in the cabin and a smooth power delivery makes it feel smooth and refined on long motorway stretches too.

What’s in the cabin

The interior has seen some drastic improvements in quality, and anyone still slightly wary of French build quality will be pleasantly surprised by how well-screwed together the new cabin feels. 'Multisense' in the higher spec models allows you to change the colour of the ambient lighting and adds a real touch of class. Improvements are not purely aesthetic either and there has been a noticeable increase in  rear legroom, as well as a boot that has grown to a Golf and Focus-beating 434 litres.

Value for money

Standard equipment is generous and all models get air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

The mid-spec Dynamique Nav adds dual zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, a part-leather interior and SatNav. With a starting price of just under €24,000, it's likely to be the volume seller here. It also gets an additional safety pack with some great driver-assisting features like lane departure warning, road sign recognition and automatic high beam adjustment.

Renault have also joined a lot of the market in introducing a sporty 'GT line' spec - which offers the looks of a high-performance hot hatch, without the high-running costs. With prices starting at just under €26,000 – it gets upgraded exterior styling including a lower, wider air intake, a profiled rear diffuser and 17 inch alloy wheels. Inside you'll find sporty bucket seats with blue stitching, and a bespoke leather steering wheel. In addition to the generous kit levels of the Dynamique Nav – it makes for quite an appealing package.

Safety

Given the brand's excellent track record for performance in safety tests, it came as no surprise when the new Megane scored the full five stars on the Euro NCAP. The new range of active safety features available adds technology that helps to prevent, and not just protect against collisions.

Reliability and Ownership

Renault reliability has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and electrical bug bears are no longer the major issue they once were. The five year 200,000km warranty should add further peace of mind. One area where it may struggle in comparison to competitors is future resale values. Although in the age of PCP, that's not such a major issue these days.

Conclusion

The C segment is a notoriously difficult one to compete in and in order to do so a car needs to be either cheaper or better than what's out there already. Starting at just under €19,500 – the new Megane manages to both undercut its main rivals, and bring a lot more to the table besides a low asking price.

 

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