09 Nov 2016 | 10.54 am
Roadtest: Renault Mégane
Looks great, well equipped from entry level up
09 Nov 2016 | 10.54 am
A female design influence is evident in the latest Renault Mégane, writes Olive Keogh
In the very male dominated world of car design, Renault has been more open than most to using female designers and has benefited greatly as a result. Twenty years ago Anne Asensio played a leading role in the design of the original and hugely successful Scenic. Now Agneta Dahlgren is making her mark with the new Mégane and latest generation Scenic.
Producing a design that is fresh enough to attract new buyers without alienating existing owners is not an easy task. But Dahlgren seems to have balanced the two quite skillfully. She has used Renault’s new styling language (first seen on the flagship Talisman) to good effect with the new Mégane, and has produced a modern looking 5-door that is both stylish and practical.
Sales of compact cars may be falling due to the heated love affair between drivers and small SUVs. However within the C-segment, hatchback sales are growing so Renault is right on cue with its newcomer, which shares its platform with the Kadjar crossover. That said, the Mégane faces tough competition from the big hitters such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf.
The fourth generation Mégane comes with a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating and is available in five trim lines. All versions come with fuel efficient, low emission powertrains and there are two petrol and two diesel options. Prices for the entry petrol model start at €19,490 and at €21,490 for the entry diesel. The newcomer is lower and longer than its predecessor with a wider track and broader shoulders, and this more youthful stance is accentuated by distinctive front and rear running lights.
The exterior is definitely a styling hit and the cabin has also been reworked with some success. The decidedly unaesthetic interior that characterised the old Mégane has been jettisoned in favour of a major upgrade. The look, touch and quality of the finishes are much improved and the cabin is a smarter, sleeker place, with a much more contemporary feel. It’s also comfortable thanks to automatic dual zone climate control, so rear seat passengers get their own heating ducts to keep their feet warm. Less impressive were the small but irritating squeaks detected during the test drive.
The GT Line Nav is the flagship model and comes stacked with equipment from traffic sign recognition to understeer logic control. The 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system incorporates TomTom navigation, mapping, Bluetooth audio streaming and voice control.
The GT also gets some nice styling detail, including a chrome tailpipe, the option of dark metal alloy wheels, a lower air intake with honeycomb-pattern mesh, a rear diffuser and GT badging. The front seats have additional lateral support with integral headrests and stitched leather. The GT version is the ‘hot’ member of the Mégane family and the suspension is stiffer than the mainstream models. This is not a problem over smooth surfaces but it can intrude a bit on rougher terrain.
Renault is in all action mode at the moment with no less than five new or refreshed models coming down the tracks. If the new Mégane is anything to go by, the company has clearly decided to up its game.
Model Renault Mégane GT Line Nav
Engine 1.5 Dci (diesel) 110bhp
Safety Adaptive cruise control, active emergency braking, lane departure, blind spot assist, distance alert, easy park assist, front, rear and side parking sensors
Fuel Combined cycle 3.7L/100km
Verdict Looks great, top safety rating, well equipped from entry level up