£16,900 - £25,850 Price range
47 - 76 MPG
Premium appeal is something mainstream manufacturers are increasingly gunning for and the Megane has smart styling that makes it look altogether more convincing than the car it replaces.
But the biggest changes have happened inside. There scratchy plastics are gone, replaced by soft-touch materials that make it far more appealing. High-end models get a 8.7-inch touchscreen with smart graphics and intuitive controls. Interior space has increased, with Renault paying particular attention to rear-seat passenger room.
From launch, the top-of-the-range model is the sporty GT, which will need to keep enthusiasts happy until the reveal of the all new Renault Sport Megane. The GT gets a number of interesting technical innovations including active rear steer for a tighter turning circle, launch control and an EDC twin-clutch gearbox that can complete multiple downshifts in one go.
Aside from the GT, buyers get three engines to choose from. First of those is a basic petrol although, with 128hp, it’s more powerful than entry-level rivals. Diesels come in the form of 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre models – the most frugal returns fuel economy of close to 80mpg.
In all, there are six trim levels on offer and entry-level Expression+ comes with four electric windows, height and lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, a Bluetooth phone connection and a DAB digital radio.
Renault will launch the Megane Sport Tourer estate later in 2016. Expect it to offer around 500 litres of luggage space and a rear bench that can be moved forwards for more boot space or backwards for extra rear legroom.
If this sounds like the ideal hatchback for you, our Renault Megane colours guide will help you pick the ideal paint job for your new car.
Renault has been spotted putting an early Megane RS prototype through its paces, read our dedicated price, specs and release date article for full details.
The hard plastics that formed the vast majority of the old Megane’s interior were a stark contrast to the plush inners found in the majority of newer rivals. It’s something Renault has worked hard to fix in this new version.
Plastic quality is much improved and the majority are soft to the touch and, although some of the plastics are dark, trim pieces add a splash of colour.
All but the cheapest model come with sat-nav, but Dynamique S Nav trim levels and above have an 8.7-inch ‘portrait’ display that is unique to the class. Its crisp and colourful screen is lovely to look at, and takes your mind off the swathes of plastics that encase it. The system can follow swipe and pinch finger gestures, making it intuitive to use. Visual routes and directions are easily to follow, and real-world voice commands such as “turn right at the next petrol station” are a big help when you’re navigating through unfamiliar territory – the spoken directions feel a lot more human than in most other cars.
Renault Megane passenger space
The new Megane is longer and wider than the model it replaces, which has done wonders for passenger space. It’s easy to get a comfortable driving position thanks to a decent range of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. The Renault can comfortably accommodate two six-footers in the back, but a third is likely to feel somewhat squeezed on a longer journey.
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.
Renault Megane boot space
Boot space has dropped by 19 litres compared to the old 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 Megane has a total capacity of 1,247 litres.
How the the Megane drives depends on which one you go for.
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 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.
From launch the new Megane is available with two petrol engines and a pair of diesels.
Renault Megane petrol engines
While it serves as the entry point to the range for now, the TCe 130 petrol has more power than similarly priced rivals. Thats reflected by its 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds – two seconds quicker than a Golf of the same price. There’s no need to worry about running costs, either, the Megane should comfortably achieve fuel economy of more than 50mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km translate into a £30 annual road tax bill.
If you want more performance then the GT’s 1.6-litre petrol happily obliges. It produces 205hp, enough to get the Megane from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds, something that’s readily achievable thanks to the standard-fit launch control. Maximum torque of 207Ib ft means the engine pulls well at speed, so you can overtake slower traffic without needing to change gear. It’s lacking in character, though, with a wheezy turbo sound being the only hint you’re in something a little bit special. Fuel economy of 47.1mpg and a reasonable road tax bill of £130 a year should help take your mind off the dull noise, though.
Renault Megane diesel engines
Lower running costs mean the diesels are sure to be popular and both models offer decent punch while being impressively smooth and quiet. Renault claims the 110 dCi can return fuel economy of 76.4mpg, while road tax is free. The 130 dCi attains fuel economy of 70.6mpg and costs just £20 per year to tax. It gets from 0-62mph in 10 seconds and has mid-range pulling power that converts to surging in-gear acceleration for overtaking.
With air-conditioning, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, four electric windows, a height and lumbar adjustable driver’s seat, Bluetooth phone connection and a DAB digital radio; entry-level Expression+ trim is far from sparse. Nevertheless, Renault expects Dynamique Nav and Dynamique S Nav trims to account for the majority of sales in the UK.
Renault Megane Dynamique Nav
Dynamique Nav models come with sat-nav, part-leather seats and ambient lighting with various colour settings, all of which give the interior a more premium feel. Rear parking sensors, along with auto lights and wipers, guarantee a less labour intensive drive than you get in the basic car.
Renault Megane Dynamique S Nav
Costing £1,000 more, Dynamique S Nav is the trim we would go for because it’s the first to get Renault’s wonderfully detailed 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen. It’s compatible with apps on your smartphone, so you can stream music – an excellent opportunity to stretch the legs of the standard Bose stereo’s boot-mounted subwoofer. You also get parking sensors all round, a reversing camera, smart-looking 17-inch alloy wheels and tinted rear windows.
Renault Megane GT Line Nav
GT Line models get the sporty looks of the quick GT, but without its running costs. It uses the Dynamique Nav as a base and adds Sebring 17-inch alloy wheels, GT-style front and rear bumpers, chrome door mirrors and GT Line branded kick plates.
Renault Megane Signature Nav
Signature models are the most luxurious. They add to Dynamique S Nav trim with a full leather interior that includes a steering wheel bound in Nappa leather and an electrochrome rearview mirror that cancels out the glare from following cars’ lights. Meanwhile, full LED headlights give you a perfect view of the road ahead, and sharpen the exterior’s appeal along with the standard 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Renault Megane GT Nav
Until a full-blown Renault Sport model joins the range, GT Nav is the sportiest trim level and can only be had in conjunction with the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It’s not only the quickest model in the standard range but also the sportiest to drive, coming as standard with Renault’s 4Control four-wheel steering system.
While the current Renault Sport Megane has remained a firm favourite with enthusiasts, the outgoing regular model had fallen well behind the pack in key areas. Thankfully, the majority of these have been addressed by this new model – the 8.7-inch portrait infotainment screen is a thing of beauty that rivals can’t match, and there’s plenty of passenger space, a decent driving experience and a strong range of engines that will grow in time. It’s a model we would highly recommend trying if you’re in the market for a small family hatchback.