Renault Megane review
Renault Megane review
The Renault Megane is a family car with sharp looks that’s comfortable and easy to drive. It’s just that alternatives have more intuitive infotainment systems
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This version of the Renault Megane first came on sale in 2016 but received a range of updates in 2018, including improvements to the infotainment system and more space for passengers. The Megane is similar in size to the Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed and Ford Focus, but also shares a lot of parts with the Renault Kadjar SUV.
The Renault Megane’s interior looks simpler than in most alternatives so most of the buttons are easy to locate. High-spec models also get a portrait-style infotainment system, similar to what you’d find in more expensive Volvo cars. The rest of the cabin is well put together and has some silver accents to break up the otherwise all-black colour scheme.
Getting a good driving position is easy even in the entry-level Renault Megane because they get height-adjustable front seats as standard. You can also set the seat nice and low for a sporty feel and front seat passenger space is good. Accessing the rear seats is easy thanks to wide-opening doors and you can fit two adults without much hassle – three would be a push, because the middle rear seat is narrower than the outer two.
In terms of practicality, the Renault Megane’s boot is just about big enough for a week’s holiday worth of luggage and the opening is wide enough so you won’t have problems loading bulky items. However, some alternatives, such as the Kia Ceed, have a lower load lip making them even more practical.
The Renault Megane won’t wow you with a sporty drive, but you’ll be impressed by how comfortable it is.
There are two engines to choose from in the Renault Megane range so picking the right one is easy. The 140bhp petrol is hushed on the move and feels best darting around city streets. The 115bhp diesel is perfect for longer motorway journeys where it settles nicely into a cruise and uses very little fuel.
Driving the Renault Megane feels best on the motorway. Once up to speed there’s little wind noise and the Megane absorbs bumps very well. That isn’t to say it’s not good around town – there, the quick steering helps you dart in and out of traffic with confidence, however the manual gear shift is notchy and not that pleasurable to use.
No matter if you drive in town or on the motorway, the Renault Megane is a safe car. It was awarded the full five stars from EuroNCAP and, as standard, you get essentials such as airbags, an advanced stability control system and hill-hold assist. Mid-range models also get lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high-low beam as standard.
The Renault Megane has no problem taking four adults and the boot is pretty big, too, but it’s a squeeze to get three across the back seat and the high boot lip makes it hard to load heavy items
It's not often a new car comes out with a smaller boot than the old model, but the Megane's boot is bigger than a Golf's and some neat features that help in everyday life
The Renault Megane is big enough for a small family and you won’t have too much problems with interior room. There’s plenty of room upfront and the broad range of adjustment to the driver’s seat means you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable in no time. Sitting in the back, there’s a good amount of legroom and headroom is ok, but not exceptional. Two six-foot adults should be fine even on a long journey and kids will find it positively spacious back there. The rear doors open fairly wide so fitting a child seat is easy although you do need to stoop down a bit to manoeuvre the chair into the car.
Smaller storage areas are abundant, so the door bins are big enough for a litre bottle of water, there are numerous cup holders and a variety of other cubbies to hide small valuables.
Boot space has dropped by 19 litres compared to the old Renault Megane five-door, but a capacity of 384 litres means it’s just slightly bigger a Volkswagen Golf’s. It has various tie-down hooks for securing your luggage – or your curry – but the high boot lip will make it harder to load heavy items. Rear seats down, the Renault Megane has a total capacity of 1,247 litres.
The Renault Megane is great at soaking bumps in the road but can’t match the Ford Focus for sheer joy of driving
It's easy to drive and really comfortable on the motorway
The Renault Megane is available with a choice of three engines – two petrols and a diesel. The 140bhp petrol has enough power to move the Renault Megane at a very decent pace, although you need to push it a bit to get the best performance out of it. It shines around town where it’s quite nippy at slow speeds giving you confidence to move in and out of openings in traffic.
The 130hp version doesn’t feel quite as perky, but it’s cheaper to buy and returns very slightly better fuel economy – Renault claims it’ll manage 51mpg compared to the 140hp version’s 49mpg. In normal driving conditions, however, you can expect both to achieve a number closer to 45mpg.
The Renault Megane diesel, on the other hand, thrives on the motorway with the standard cruise control set to 70mph. The diesel has 115hp, but it has enough pulling power that it doesn’t feel much slower than the petrols and the biggest benefit you get with the diesel is the great fuel economy – 60mpg in the real world should be very easy to do in the Megane diesel.
GT models get 4Control four-wheel steer that’s designed to make the car feel manoeuvrable in town and very stable at motorway speeds. Drive slowly and the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the fronts, for a tighter turning circle. At a faster pace the operation is reversed – improving agility through corners, helped by the GT’s stiffer suspension. It can be turned off via the Renault Megane’s Multi-Sense drive system, which has Eco, Comfort and Sport modes that in turn adjust the engine noise, throttle response and steering weight.
GTs get an EDC (twin-clutch) gearbox as standard. It drops down multiple gears at once and has steering-wheel-mounted paddles that let you change gear without taking your hands off the wheel.
Basic versions do without the rear-wheel steer, feeling more natural to drive as a result. The weighty steering is accurate and the smooth ride makes for a comfortable cruiser at motorway speeds, where just a little wind noise disturbs passengers. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick – once you get used to the somewhat snatchy clutch – and a six or seven-speed twin-clutch auto is optional depending on model.
The interior of the Megane is hugely improved, compared to the old model, but can’t quite match some alternatives for build quality or clever practical features