Some cars are truly endearing in look, touch and feel. And they convince you even more once you are behind the wheel. One of such cars is the latest Renault Mégane. Under the experienced hand of Laurens van den Acker this Renault has gained in stylishness and character. Competition and painstaking research have further transformed the Renaults over the years into perfect driving machines. Smooth, responsive, powerful, agile, frugal. A joy to drive and own. This Mégane is no exception. Just read further.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Zest and panache
Indeed, the body lines of the latest Mégane have character written all over it. We like the front grille and also the rear end treatment with the very iconic rear light “signature” we also find on the larger Talisman.
The interior also pleases with fluent lines, clear instrumentation and the massive, easy to read and use touchscreen. We said it already in our test of the new Espace and Talisman, Renault reaches new heights when it comes to readability, ease of use of its instruments and infotainment.
They strike a masterful balance between style, sportiness and clarity with their electronic speed, revs and car function display. As we told earlier in our previous tests, the instrument layout is masterfully adapted to the different driving modes one can choose from, i.e the comfort, neutral and sport mode.
In neutral mode, the speedometer is prominent, against a blue background, and no rev counter is indicated.
This is however quite present in the neutral and sport mode, in a large dial surrounding the digital speed indicator and fuel and engine temperature dials. So logical and stylish, it is an example for many. In the sport mode, the dial surroundings light up fiery red.(see photo above…)
A nice touch also here again is that the led lighting of doors and panels changes color in function of the chosen mode.
Smooth and powerful engine.
Pushing the starting knob, the diesel engine bursts very smoothly into life. Indeed, even when starting from (very) cold, no diesel clatter is heard, and the combustion noise is quite nearly as smooth as a petrol engine. Where a diesel unit still outclasses a petrol engine is in sheer torque and pulling power. One is truly impressed by the liveliness and throttle responsiveness of this 1,6 liter four cylinder 130 HP ENERGY dCi engine, developing indeed massive torque of 320 Nm at 1750 rpm. This makes this Mégane quite lively, ample power being available in all driving circumstances. 0 to 100 is absolved in 10,5 seconds, top speed being 201 km/h.
The 6 speed manual changes slick and effortlessly, the clutch is progressive and smooth too. This means that crawling in dense city traffic is no punishment, and allows a “zen” driving style throughout.
Of course, this Mégane has a clever “eco” driving assistant, and this learns you how to take most advantage of the qualities of this drivetrain. We achieved an average consumption of 5,4 liters/100 km, resulting in an “eco score” of well over 80 pct of course. Our driving style didn’t mean that we were crawling, we used more often than not the excellent power of the engine in city traffic and we found ourselves cruising at the legal speed limit on the open road whenever we could.
The manufacturer quotes 4 liters as the official test cycle average, with CO2 emissions being 105 g/km.
We must admit here that Renault has reached high grounds when it comes to perfecting the diesel engine, and from a technological viewpoint it is rather sad that the legislators worldwide are now increasingly turning away from this engine type.
Indeed, we were never truly fond of diesel engines, ironically enough, until now…
Renault has a massive experience in chassis and suspension design and has tuned it to achieve a very nice balance between comfort, agility and precision in this Mégane.
The sport mode awakens the better driver in you, but also in the comfort and neutral mode driving pleasure and entertaining handling is yours to be enjoyed.
The French love zest, comfort and last but not least practicality. The Mégane truly rises to the occasion here. We just love the keyless entry, with clear acoustic signals when the Mégane closes up when you leave it. We already praised the easy to use and intuitive infotainment, with the legendary audio control at the right side of the steering wheel column. Every car should have this, its ergonomic layout is truly ideal.
Our test car came with driving aids like the park surrounding control, and also lane assist, which emits a low frequency warning sound through the speakers when you deviate from your lane. Clever! The Bose sound system is truly a class of its own, and needless to say that, music buffs as we are, we truly enjoyed listening to our favorite jazz tracks through this system. It made us like this Mégane even more…
Renault is a world class manufacturer, and this shows again clearly in this Mégane. It is very well balanced and styled, has superb smoothness, frugality and performance, with loads of good everyday practicality further thrown in. When looking at a hatchback in this segment, don’t miss this one. Just take it for a spin, it will win your heart…
Hans Knol ten Bensel