The Renault Megane has always stood out from the crowd - not always for the right reasons. The latest version has toned down the radical design flourishes of old in favour of a refreshed, contemporary look.
It’s a handsome beast, with its C-shaped LED daytime running lights and equally distinctive eyebrow-shaped rear LEDs lending the car a muscular, sophisticated presence. It’s easily one of the best-looking family hatchbacks on the market, with just a little more personality than the Mazda3 and Peugeot 308.
It’s a handsome beast, with its C-shaped LED daytime running lights
What’s it like to drive?
While not the fastest among its competitors, the Megane delivers when it comes to comfort and refinement. Its supple ride is a throwback to classic older French cars, with the Megane more than capable of soaking up the bumps and potholes of typical UK roads.
It’s equally as impressive on motorway journeys, with noise kept at a minimum. Light steering makes it an easy companion when driving in town, while there’s plenty of grip on tap for fast, controlled cornering when out on twisty B-roads.
Performance from the Megane’s range of petrol and diesel engines is more than acceptable if not top of the class. The Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf may be more entertaining to drive, but they both lack the Renault’s idiosyncratic Gallic charm.
It’s equally as impressive on motorway journeys, with noise kept at a minimum.
Renault has got the basics right when it comes to the Megane’s driving position. The driver’s seat, which has lumbar and height adjustment as standard, is low to the floor and the steering has a decent range of rake and reach adjustment. Both allow you to get comfortable easily on those long drives.
Thanks to the Megane’s narrow front pillars forward visibility is good. The car’s thick rear pillars can obscure the view when carrying out reversing and parking manoeuvres. On all but entry-level models rear-parking sensors come as standard, while Dynamique S Nav trim features a rear-view camera as well – ideal for reverse parking into a tight gap or just spying on who is behind you in the drive-thru queue.
In Dynamique Nav trim, the Megane comes with a 7-inch touchscreen with sat-nav as standard, along with Bluetooth and a DAB radio. While the Dynamique S Nav models feature an upgraded portrait-style 8.7-inch infotainment system, very much inspired by Tesla and Volvo.
The latest Megane’s interior is the best so far, with a level of fit and finish that outstrips previous models. There are tactile soft touch materials on the dash, quality fabrics on the seats and pleasing ambient lighting that brings the interior to life after dark. There are also configurable digital instruments on all but the most basic-spec models.
The Megane’s cabin offers plenty of comfort for both driver and passengers, with supportive seats and generous knee and headroom both in the rear and up front. Sitting three adults abreast in the back seat may be a bit of a squeeze though.
There are plenty of storage places, including a couple of carpeted door bins, cubbies under the front armrest and below the steering wheel and cupholders for front and rear occupants. The Megane’s boot will comfortably swallow a couple of buggies or the weekly family shop, and with the rear seats folded down there’s enough room to pack in some suitcases for a long weekend away.
Running costs and reliability
The Renault Megane has always been one of the most efficient cars in the family hatchback sector, and this latest model is no exception. The most economical diesel-powered model in the range will return 62.8mpg with CO2 emissions in line with the competition. The entry-level petrol engine offers similarly impressive economy, delivering 48.7mpg with equally low CO2 figures.
Renault’s quality has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Lingering questions over reliability still occasionally arise.
What cinch loves
We love the Megane’s ‘outsider’ status. It’s always been a little different from its more mainstream rivals, and this latest model is no exception. This time it’s got the looks, the technology and the sophistication to make it a genuine competitor.