Stand-out styling for tech-fest French hatch
- Great styling, loads of tech
- Excellent diesel engine lineup
- Comfortable and engaging drive
- Interior feels spec-sensitive
- Some cheaper materials used
- No faster manual version – yet
If you’ve been on a French holiday recently and been impressed by the bold, handsome, and not-for-the-UK Renault Talisman then we’ve got some good news. No, you still can’t have one, but you can have a fourth-generation Renault Megane hatchback which borrows heavily from the larger car’s styling.
We think it’s one of the most interesting and unusual faces in the mid-sized hatchback market, with curious angles and creases to rival anything the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and SEAT Leon can offer.
Five engines with a bias towards diesel
Buyers have the choice of a 110hp, 130hp or 165hp diesel, plus petrols in the form of a 130hp unit and a 205hp auto-only motor for the Megane GT.
All manual gearboxes offer six speeds and the seven-speed dual-clutch auto carries a very small penalty in terms of CO2 and fuel economy figures – good news for high-mileage company car drivers.
Finally there’s an uprated chassis with four-wheel steering on the GT model, a system that effectively shrinks the length of the car for tight city manoeuvres.
Renault Megane techfest
Helping this car catch your eye is a raft of impressive gadgets, all of which integrate cleverly into the car without looking bolted on.
Pick a higher-spec car and you get a large portrait-oriented central screen plus a digital dial set-up like you get in the Renault Kadjar.
There are also some top-bill contraptions like a premium-sounding Bose stereo and automatic parking system with which to impress your friends with.
Safety first with lots of assistance kit
As well as a five-star Euro NCAP rating you can also have Adaptive Cruise Control and Active Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning.
In addition, Safe Distance Warning and Overspeed Prevention with Traffic Sign Recognition, plus reversing camera, automatic dipped and main beam headlights, Hands Free Parking and front, rear and side parking sensors are also available.
Flagship diesel added to the range in June 2017
For those missing a truly punchy diesel version, Renault has added the GT dCi 165 Auto EDC version. It's a twin-turbo, auto-only 1.6-litre diesel, developing (as its name suggests) 165hp and 380Nm of torque.
It gets a sportier-looking exterior, with competitive performance and economy figures backing that up. Renault claims a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 133mph – but the official combined fuel consumption is 61.4mpg combined with 120g/km CO2 emissions.
The Parkers Verdict
The Renault Megane is a competent family car, espacially if you're interested in owning something less obvious than its more common rivals, such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It's good to drive, and it's a nice-looking interior in which to spend time.
If you buy a top-spec version, there's plenty of equipment and safety tech to ensure you're getting value for money.
It's not perfect, though, the looks are challenging in as much as you'll either love it or hate it, and start poking around inside and it won't take long to discover cheap-feeling, scratchy plastics. The infotainment screen is prone to getting mucky, too.
But on the whole, it's a viable alternative to the more mainstream options, and you'll not feel shortchanged by going French.