2016 Renault Megane review

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2016 Renault Megane review

Priced From $27,490Information

Overall Rating

0

3.5 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

3 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

3 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars

Technology

4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProGenerously-specced; gorgeous to look at; GT model is surprisingly brisk.

  2. ConTight back seat accommodation, no AEB safety gear.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Renault Megane GT 205 5D Hatchback

What stands out?

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Design is the Megane’s calling card, and there’s no mistaking its fashion-forward LED head and tail lamp treatment for anything else. Slick and European to its core, the Megane is easily one of the most eye-catching small hatchbacks on the market.

Beyond that, Renault has made high equipment levels the Megane’s point of difference. From the base model Megane Life and up, all models receive luxuries like a reversing camera, keyless entry/ignition and dual-zone climate control as standard - among other features.

What might bug me?

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Rear seat space is the biggest drawback of the Megane, with tight legroom compared to many of its rivals. If you regularly carry more than one adult passenger, that may be a limitation.

What body styles are there?

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Right now the Megane is only available as a five-door hatchback, however the range will expand in the first half of 2017 with the addition of a four-door sedan and a wagon body style.

The Renault Megane falls into the ‘small car’ category.

What features do all versions have?

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From the base model and up, the Megane comes with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB audio system with a seven-inch colour touchscreen display.

Keyless entry and ignition provides added convenience, with drivers only needing to touch the door handles to unlock the car, and a dash-mounted button to start the engine. Simply walking away from the car will lock it, and the driver only needs to carry a compact credit card-sized ‘key’ in their pocket.

Dual-zone climate control allows each front seat occupant to set their desired temperature independently of the other.

Dusk-sensing headlamps and rain-sensing wipers, provide added convenience, with headlamps automatically switching on when the sun goes down and the wipers activating when rain hits the windscreen.

Front and rear daytime running lamps are always on, and help other traffic see the Megane – especially at dawn, dusk, or through thick haze.

All windows are powered and have auto up/down switches, an unusual feature in this segment.

A reversing camera and rear parking sensors are also factory-fit on all Megane variants.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The mid-spec Zen grade adds satellite navigation, an electronic instrument panel, 16-inch alloy wheels, front parking sensors and an electric parking brake.

Step up into the upper-grade GT-Line and Alcantara-upholstered sports seats replace the standard cloth items and a sporty bodykit spices up the exterior, while power folding wing mirrors, blind spot monitoring, glass sunroof, a self-parking feature and 17-inch alloys round out the rest of the upgrades.

At the top of the tree is the Megane GT, which is specced almost identically to the GT-Line but comes standard with 18-inch alloys, a dual-exit exhaust, alloy pedals and blue/black Alcantara upholstery. Under the bonnet, the GT receives a more powerful 1.6-litre turbo engine instead of the standard 1.2-litre powertrain.

An 8.7-inch portrait-format touchscreen display for the infotainment system is available as a cost option on the GT-Line and GT grades.

How comfortable is it?

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The Megane rates well for front cabin comfort, with both front seats featuring height adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. The seats themselves are also nicely bolstered, albeit firmly-cushioned.

There are idiosyncrasies, however. The cruise control/speed limiter toggle switch is mounted low on the centre console while the rest of the cruise buttons are on the steering wheel, and the driver’s audio controls are tucked behind the steering wheel on their own stalk, well out of direct view.

In the back you’ll find a pair of face-level air vents to help keep backseaters cool. Unfortunately, rear seat accommodation isn’t among the roomiest in the segment, with tight knee and foot room and no centre armrest in entry-level models.

What about safety?

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Standard safety equipment includes ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.

Passengers are protected by three-point seatbelts on all seats, as well as dual front and front-side airbags, and full-length curtain airbags.

The GT-Line grade also receives blind spot monitoring, however autonomous emergency braking is not presently offered. That particular technology – which is able to automatically slow down the car if an impact with an object like another car or pedestrian is imminent - is expected to be added to the Megane range sometime in 2017.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The range-topping Megane GT is great fun to drive, thanks to its more powerful 1.6-litre turbo engine, quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic and sports-tuned suspension.

Much of its sharp handling comes courtesy of a four-wheel steering system that turns the rear wheels the opposite direction to the fronts to tighten the turning circle at low speed, and turns them the same direction at higher speeds to improve stability.

With its launch control function active, the Megane GT can also sprint to 100km/h in a fairly swift 7.1 seconds

Non-GT Meganes handle well, though they lack some of the dynamic sharpness of the GT. With less power and torque, they’re also a lot slower off the mark – though the upshot is improved fuel consumption.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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With a 434 litre seats-up capacity, the Renault’s boot is comparatively generous for the segment.

A high loading lip may make it harder to load bigger items, however the 60/40 split fold rear backrest allows long items to be carried within the cabin – and dropping them unlocks a 1247 litre load area.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Autonomous Emergency Braking is a feature that is beginning to become commonplace in the small car segment, so its absence from the Megane range is notable.