The Renault Megane is great at soaking bumps in the road but can’t match the Ford Focus for sheer joy of driving
The TCe 130 petrol has more power than similarly priced rivals. That’s 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 reasonable 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 should help take your mind off the dull noise, though.
It's easy to drive and really comfortable on the motorway
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. The 130 dCi attains fuel economy of 70.6mpg and gets from 0-62mph in 10 seconds plus has mid-range pulling power that converts to surging in-gear acceleration for overtaking.
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.