Renault sticks the boot into its mighty Megane
When it comes to embracing saloon cars, we are among Europe's keenest, drivers
Irish buyers love saloon cars, we always have and despite the buoyant SUV and crossover market, more than one in every five cars we bought this year was a saloon.
Arriving in showrooms in time for 171 sales is the new Renault Megane Grand Coupe, the saloon version of the five-door hatchback launched last year. Made in Turkey and sold in just 22 countries, it is aimed predominantly at the Middle East, China and other markets outside Europe.
The new four-door Megane features a saloon body with touches of coupe styling and a panoramic glass roof linking the windscreen to the rear window, adding a sufficient dash of French style and sophistication.
Inside, Renault plans to woo buyers from the Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia market with a spacious interior and a healthy 550-litre boot. The cabin is similar to that of the hatchback and shares features such as the seven-inch colour instrument panel and an 8.7-inch multimedia tablet.
Two diesel engines will be offered, the dCi 110, available with a six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed automatic gearbox and the dCi 130, available with a six-speed manual gearbox. At the launch we had an opportunity to test both.
On the road the Megane is smooth and quiet, making elegant work of the city streets.
On the open road, the one to choose for sheer power is the 130bhp, the 110 is less refined and less potent, but what it lacks in power it more than compensates with impressive fuel consumption and emission figures.
No prices have been confirmed for the new Megane but as the replacement for the Fluence we would expect prices to be a little above the current model that starts at €21,990. Interestingly, although the Fluence was offered in an all-electric form, Renault has ruled out a zero-emission Grand Coupe.
As you would expect from Renault, it's very safe and shares the same range of active driving aids as the rest of the Megane family; once you get anywhere near another car it will bleep you into submission.
There's plenty to like about the new Megane. It's comfortable, smooth and spacious. Saloons might be a bit of a niche buy but for those who want just a little more space than the average hatchback, the Grand Coupe ticks a lot of boxes.