The fourth generation Renault Megane is a very good looking car that needs to shake off a mediocre reputation. The compact family car is competing in perhaps the toughest area to gain a foot hold.
The sector is dominated by the likes of Ireland’s best sellers Toyota’s Corolla, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf – all top 10 cars. The Megane looks like a winner but sales figures see it just just inside the top 30.
The new Megane is a handsome car and in hatchback form looks very cool and solid. It’s sculpted exterior features nice body creases and curves. Overall the latest generation Megane is pleasing to the eye and muscular looking. The grill and big diamond badge look great and the rear is very cohesive and designed beautifully also. This is no surprise as Renault has a great designer in charge of the crayons. The design team under director Laurens Van Den Acker is proud of the car proportions as the exterior is one third glass and two thirds body. The new C shaped headlight lights perhaps show the best attention to detail as they merge in to become part of the front bumper. This is not necessary and is purely to make the car look better. This nice touch goes beyond a normal design brief for a what is intended to be a volume selling ordinary practical machine.
Inside our GT Line (top spec) cabin is very comfy up front with body hugging seats trimmed with faux leather. I love the chunky leather steering wheel too. The faux leather feels very soft and this may be an issue on the bolsters in terms of wear and tear. The dash has been reworked and clutter reduced while the materials used appear to have improved. Inside mood lighting adds sophistication and made our GT Line felt really smart. we also got a bigger centre screen touch display at 8.7 inches. While there is good space up front the rear is a bit more cosy. The rear seats are low set and shoulder room is tight and there is not much sace under the seats for size 10s.
The boot is average for a hatchback and can hold quite a bit but loading and unloading could be easier. The rear bumper sill is high and the large bumper means a high lift to get bags in. There is no adjustable floor to make a flat load area. If you fold the rear seats there is a step in the load area where the seats hinge so the cargo area overall is not that user friendly. Rear visibility for the driver is not great as the rear window is small but our test car had a reversing camera as part of its GT Line standard equipment.
On the road the Megane in 140hp petrol form is good fun to drive, in fact the petrol is a breath of fresh air (you know what I mean!) compared to the usual diesel power that has dominated the sector since 2008. The suspension is supple and our test car felt eager to please. The 1.2 litre turbo petrol is a great unit and economical too, an ‘Eco’ monitor displays your driving style score out of a maximum of 100. The Megane 4 is lower by 25mm than the previous generation and its track is wider so its squat purposeful stance helps deliver good driving dynamics on the road. The manual gear shift is a little rubbery and the pedals could be better positioned. The brake pedal feels squishy and need a firm press to stop the car. GT model Megane’s get rear wheel steering to help low speed and high speed manoeuvring. The engine range features petrol (TCE) and diesel (dCi) power. Automatic (EDC) is only available in diesel and the Tce 140 version. The entry Megane gets a Tce 100 (100hp) unit, but its the Tce 140 (140hp) we love most. Diesel power is delivered by a 115hp engine.
The all new Megane can accommodate a host of safety driving aids now that its wiring is updated. Less critical to safety is the fun fact that even the engine note can be faked. Megane hatch grades are called: Play from €22,140, Iconic (€25,140) and GT Line (€26,940). Our manual GT Line Tce 140 including options cost €27,615. All new Renaults in Ireland come with 5 years 200,00km warranty as standard.