Road Test: Renault Megane dCi 110
The excellent new Megane is the icing on Renault’s recent brand renewal, says Alex Grant.SECTOR Lower Medium PRICE £17,900–£21,900 FUEL 76.3mpg CO2 96g/km
The pace of change at Renault is impressive. In a relatively short five years, it’s renewed and streamlined its product range and put a focus on service that’s now reaping rewards. In turn, this means the fourth-generation Megane sits on solid foundations.
Of course, it has a slightly smaller role these days. Renault already has the Captur and Kadjar crossovers for upsizing Clio customers, and the stylish new Scenic is likely to drive some demand towards the MPV sector when it arrives at the end of the year. But this remains a core segment, and the Megane feels ready to step back into the limelight.
That’s not to belittle the outgoing version. Updated twice during its eight-year lifespan, it was reliable, drove well, and its 90g/km and 80.7mpg are still among the best in the class. But even lairy RenaultSport versions couldn’t lift desirability to match its rational benefits, and that was reflected in its residual values.
Today, Renault has a recognisable family style, and the new Megane looks much bolder with its LED-lined headlights and oversized diamond cutting into the bumper. It’s longer than its predecessor, but with shorter overhangs, and has the widest front and rear tracks and lowest roofline in its class. Segment-above comfort and technology is the target.
It shows; front and rear head, leg and shoulder room is generous, the boot relatively large at 384 litres and the seats are adopted from the Talisman, which replaced the Laguna in some markets. Reassuringly weighty controls, plus the extra width and length gives big car stability and confidence, and there’s barely any wind, road or engine noise at motorway speeds, which reduces fatigue on long journeys.
Inside, there’s a consistent use of soft-touch plastics and aluminium accents, all versions get a digital instrument cluster and less frequently used functions are managed through the touchscreen. Renault is expecting most UK cars to be either Dynamique Nav or Dynamique S Nav, the latter adding the 8.7-inch portrait-orientated infotainment screen, parking sensors and bigger wheels for £1,000. There’s no CO2 compromise for the wheel upgrade.
It’s all really well thought out. The portrait display can show navigation, media and the drive mode information simultaneously, but air conditioning is still controlled by proper buttons. The navigation shows average speed through roadworks, and the adaptive cruise control option adds a display telling you how far you are, in seconds, from the car in front. Its keyless access system is exemplary, too; unlocking quickly as you touch the handle, and locking automatically as you walk away.
The only familiarity is the likely fleet-favourite engine; Renault’s proven 110bhp 1.5-litre diesel. While it’s slightly less economical than the old car on paper, it’s plenty efficient enough on the road and one of the quietest, smoothest small diesels in the sector. Low SMR costs, high residuals and the forthcoming mild-hybrid diesel will all bolster its fleet presence. The Megane is back among the cream of the crop.
The Megane impresses not by reinventing this segment, but by being thoroughly competent in everything it does and great value for fleets. A strong option.