The Renault Megane is great at soaking bumps in the road but can’t match the Ford Focus for sheer joy of driving
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.
It's easy to drive and really comfortable on the motorway
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.