Renault Megane Hatchback - A family car with plenty of character
The Renault Megane is a family hatchback with plenty of French charm, character and flair. The Megane has always been one to stand out from the crowd with its daring and distinctive looks, making it one of the more memorable family hatchbacks. This is a good thing, as the family hatchback market is littered with impressive rival models such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and Vauxhall Astra.
The Renault Megane has been in production for nearly 25 years beginning its life back in 1995 and has continued to be a popular choice ever since. The Megane has been available in various body styles in the past from hatchback, saloon and estate, as well as convertible, allowing it to cover a vast market.
The Renault Megane is now firmly into its fourth generation model and has been re-developed from the ground up to help it compete with its main rivals. The ride and driving experience has been improved along with an improved and upgraded interior and tech package.
The Megane is available as a hatchback or estate (Megane Sport Tourer), so those families who need a little extra storage space for camping holidays etc. can still choose a Megane model. For those of you who like the Megane but are after a bit more performance, there is the mighty Megane R.S. to satisfy your need for speed. We will review the Sport Tourer and R.S. models separately at a later date.
The Renault Megane is available in a choice of just three trim levels, Play, Iconic and GT Line, each one impressively loaded with high-tech features and assists. Renault has revised the engine line up to just one diesel and one petrol, but both are available with either an automatic or manual transmission.
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Engines, Power and Performance
The Megane engine line up is pretty simple just one diesel and one petrol, both of which are fuel-efficient and economical. Both engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed EDC automatic.
The petrol engine (TCe 140) is a 1.3-litre turbocharged unit developing 140hp and 240Nm of torque. If you opt for the manual transmission, it will hit 0-62mph in 9.5secs, while the automatic manages the same feat in 9.2secs. The automatic version is fractionally less due efficient than the manual, with the automatic having a claimed combined mpg WLTP of 42.2-44.2 and the manual coming in at 42.8-44.8.
The diesel offering is the Blue dCi 115, a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine, which generates 115hp and 260Nm of torque. With the manual transmission, the diesel engine will propel the Megane from 0-62mph in 11.1secs. With the automatic gearbox, this slows to 12.3secs. Both diesel options offer great fuel economy with the manual having a claimed combined mpg WLTP of 58.9-61.4 and the automatic slightly lover at 56.5-58.9.
Renault has improved the chassis of the Megane, allowing it to be more engaging and driver-focussed without losing too much of its relaxing ride. The balance between the two is very good and gives you more satisfaction and confidence than in previous models when driving a little more enthusiastically.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Renault Megane features probably one of the most noticeable changes from previous iterations, with a new modern chic design, using premium materials and the latest technology throughout. The interior quality competes with the class leaders with, a few unique features to separate it from the crowd, such as the touchscreen being positioned in portrait orientation rather than the usual landscape.
The Megane comes with a wide range of standard equipment, many of which would generally be reserved for the higher trim levels, so the fact you get them with the entry-level ‘Play’ trim is a welcome bonus. The R-Link 2 infotainment system is controlled via a 7-inch colour touchscreen, with features such as smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and DAB radio. There is also a Digital Speedometer, using a 7-inch colour TFT screen, which can be customised and configured to display different information.
Move up to the next trim level (Iconic), and you get built-in sat-nav, and rear parking sensors included as standard, along with many other useful features and safety assists. Stretch to the top-spec GT Line trim level and the 7-inch colour touchscreen is replaced by a larger 8.7-inch screen, which given its portrait orientation looks fantastic.
There are various optional extra packages which could be worth considering such as upgrading the 7-inch touchscreen to the larger 8.7-inch at a low cost of around £300. However, it should be noted this is only available if you have selected the Iconic trim.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Renault Megane is not the most spacious of family hatchbacks on the market, but it still has plenty of headroom and legroom to accommodate a couple of tall adults in the front. The front seats both have a good amount of adjustment to accommodate tall occupants. The steering wheel has various levels of adjustment too, which makes finding that perfect, comfortable driving position hassle-free.
In the rear, space is a little compromised compared to what you get in the Ford Focus and new Volkswagen Golf, especially if those in the front a particularly tall. There is room for three to sit in the rear of the Megane, although three adults will find it a bit of a squeeze and probably best left for shorter journeys.
There are various useful storage compartments such as a pair of cupholders front and rear, door pockets front and rear and a decent-sized cubby located under the front centre armrest. The boot is one of the larger ones in its class, with a capacity of 434-litres and can rise to a maximum of 1247-litres with the rear seats folded down.
The Renault Megane scored an impressive top 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, with various safety and driver-assist systems available, some as standard and some as part of optional extra packs. Some of the standard features include; multiple airbags, cruise control, hill start assist and ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist.
As you move up the trim levels, there are more safety assists included as standard, such as rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.
The Renault Megane is a modern and chic family hatchback which dares to be different. The Megane offers value for money with a standard equipment list to make most of its rival envious. If you’re after a family hatchback and fancy something a little different, then the Renault Megane could be the one for you.