Renault Megane – Review

A lot of cars on sale in Ireland at the moment aren’t very exciting to look at. Most manufacturers seem to be playing it safe when it comes to design. But among the usual dreary and bland suspects lies the Renault Megane. Renault have tickled my fancy in terms of design. But, is that all it is? A piece of art? Or is it good to drive too?…

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Renault Megane GT Line
Engine: 1.5 diesel. 110hp and 260Nm
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual, front-wheel drive
Price: Prices starts at €19,490 for the Megane range. As tested – €27,130

DSC_0009

Styling

Its no secret that the Megane is a pretty little thing. Although no longer “shaking that ass”, the French hatchback is a  well proportioned car. My test car was finished in Iron Blue. DSC_0014The five door hatchback Megane packs lots of distinctive curves and lines into the bodywork. However, the recently debuted Grand Coupe doesn’t have the same sex appeal as the hatch. Renault has taken the face from models like the Clio and Kadjar and adapted it to suit the Megane. This results in a handsome, angular and full front end.

Interior

I was equally impressed with the interior as I was with the exterior. DSC_0026When you open the door to the GT Line, you are met with huge, body hugging bucket seats. They are black cloth with a contrasting blue line through the centre.

The centre console is a flat surface with the 7 inch touch screen for the R-Link system taking dominance. Interior lighting is a feature in the French hatch. You can change thepjimage colours on the door panels and the instrument cluster. You can also change the design of the instrument cluster to your liking.

The seating position is comfortable and for a driver my height (six foot), there is enough leg room in the rear.

 

On The Road

Now, I have been singing the Megane’s praises up until now. But Renault, you have let me down. The 110hp 1.5 diesel unit is…well, appalling. Its slow, noisy and sluggish. One word Renault need to consider, torque. Torque, torque, torque…It is non-existent. Every time you pulled off from the lights, there was nothing there. When you put the car into Sport mode, it brings it to life a little bit but nothing too impressive.

DSC_0016

The handling is not half bad for a family hatch. Once put into Sport, the steering is tightened up and the throttle revs a little more freely. To get the most out for the 110hp and 260Nm, stick it into Sport. The dashboard and interior lighting glows red when put into Sport too so that is a bonus…I guess…

Practicality/Boot Space

Opening the boot and you greeted with 384l of space. Fold the seats to increase this for larger loads. Having this space is all well and good but the high loading lip doesn’t help when getting heavier loads in or out of the boot.

DSC_0033

In terms of storage space up in the cabin, there isn’t much to shout about. There are the usual door pockets up front and in the rear. The glove box is of decent size too.

Equipment

The Megane GT Line comes standard with R-Link 2. DSC_0019It has Sat Nav, Bluetooth connectivity and a radio visible from a 7 inch touch screen. It sounds good, yes? Well I wouldn’t know…No matter what I did, I couldn’t get my phone to connect to the system. I’m starting to sound like a broken record now at this stage when it comes to car connectivity but I still believe that I’m OK when it comes to technology… or am I?

DSC_0027

Running Costs

The car emits 101g/km of CO2 so costs €190 per year to tax. Throughout my week of mixed motorway and city driving, I achieved fuel consumption of 5.4l/100KM.

Pricing

Prices starts at €19,490 for the Megane range. The GT Line I tested was priced at €27,130.

Competition

Opel Astra – The Opel Astra holds the title of European Car of the Year 2016. However, the Megane looks better, is cheaper and has a bigger boot. One point to the Frenchies

Volkswagen Golf – A typical benchmark for any family hatch now. I have said it time and time again, everyone has a Golf. They’re getting boring at this stage. So for that reason alone, another point to the French!

Mazda3 – Ah yes, a real contender for the Megane. The Mazda3 is a great car all round; it drives well, looks great and has a comfortable interior. The Megane is cheaper and, to be honest, I’d rather be seen driving an Iron Blue Renault Megane rather than a Soul Red Mazda3. Megane, you are cool. Another point for you sir.

So the Megane wins against its competitors here.

DSC_0018

Conclusion

Lets cut to the chase, I like the Megane. The French have made a good car but by fitting that 110hp diesel just ruins it and doesn’t excite the inner child in you. Renault, there is no harm in making your good car even better by giving the engine more power. Being a petrolhead, I am most definitely excited by the GT (200hp hot hatch). But, will the engine just be a let down like this one?