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.
Despite being French the Renault Megane is built in Spain
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.