"Sun seekers on a budget rejoice- the Renault Megane C-C is a cheap entry to open-top motoring."
When the weather is hot and the sun is out, we can all appreciate the appeal of convertible. Aimed squarely at sun seekers who place style and value for money ahead of practicality, the Megane Coupe-Cabriolet (or C-C) hard-top convertible blends its stylish good looks with an enticing bargain price. The back seats are very small, however, and once the roof is folded down into the boot, the luggage space is fairly small. There are six engines to choose from, three petrols and three diesels, and two specifications are available: the Dynamique TomTom, which obviously offers a sat-nav system as standard, and the sportier GT Line, which adds big alloy wheels and sports seats.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The most efficient engine in the Megane Coupe-Cabriolet is the 128bhp dCi diesel, which returns a healthy 64.2mpg and emits a reasonable 115g/km of CO2. The entry-level 110bhp model has the same emissions but drops the fuel economy slightly to 62.8mpg. Add the automatic gearbox and that goes down yet further to 58.9mpg and 124g/km of CO2. The TCe petrol engine isn’t bad either, returning 44.1mpg and emitting 145g/km of CO2. There's enough choice in the engine range to allow you to decide what balance of economy and performance you want to buy.
Interior & comfort
Generally, the Megane's suspension easily smoothes out and absorbs any bumps you’ll encounter on rougher UK roads, and the driving position is good, offering lots of visibility. However, there is a lot of buffeting from the wind when you have the top down and drive at any real speed – enough for it to become something of an issue that you need to bear in mind before you buy. When the glass roof is in place, however, there's a real sense of comfort, with it proving nearly the match of a standard roof at keeping out any wind, road or engine noise. The glass lets in lots of light and helps to make the interior feel very airy. It folds cleanly away into the boot at the press of a button, taking around 25 seconds to fully fold down.
Practicality & boot space
Good luck trying to get into the back of the Coupe-Cabriolet – even children will struggle to get comfortable thanks to the restrictive lack of any real leg or headroom. You’ll be better off using the rear seats purely for storage because, while small children will be okay, you’ll still have a devil of a time trying to fit their car seats in place. It's a major drawback, but then this isn’t car bought for its practicality, let's be honest. That said, you do get a pretty generous 417 litres of boot space – when the roof is up. When you take the roof down, it folds up into that space, which cuts the storage area in half to a lowly 211 litres. You’ll still get your weekly shop or even a bag of golf clubs in there, though. There's also a very handy hands-free key card system that locks the car automatically as you walk away and unlocks it when you pull the door handle. It's so effective it makes other cars that don’t do the same thing feel positively last century.
Reliability & safety
Renault is currently going through something of a renaissance in this regard – which is good because for a while the only way was up for its reliability reputation. It's the Megane range at the heart of the improvement, too. The current Megane cars all look and feel better quality throughout than any car that Renault has ever produced before. So it is that Renault climbed off the bottom of the manufacturers rankings in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, moving from a near-bottom 2012 ranking of 27 up six places to a resounding mid-table place of 21st. That means there's still some way to go for Renault to fully overcome its existing stigma, but it's on course to do it over the next few years. The Coupe-Cabriolet itself is fairly new, and should fare well, with the standard car coming in at 20th in the Driver Power top 100 cars – which is unusual because it has climbed 11 spots in the poll, while most cars only ever slip down the rankings over time. Renault is clearly on to a winning formula at the moment. It's also a safe car, securing the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. All models come equipped with front, side and thorax airbags, cruise control, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control as standard.
Engines, drive & performance
When you have the top up, the glass roof makes the interior feel very bright and nicely airy, while also effectively suppressing any road, wind or engine noise in the process. It folds down simply, at the touch of button, taking 25 seconds to stow itself in the boot of the car. While the extra weight of that roof does reduce performance, especially in the corners, the steering is very accurate, which compensates a little. But that heaviness does make the lowest powered 128bhp TCe petrol engine feels very underpowered. However, the rest of the range offers up enough performance to heft the car along at a reasonable pace. The 158bhp dCi diesel available in the GT version is by far the best engine, returning 48mpg economy and providing lots of speed.
Price, value for money & options
The Coupe-Cabriolet is designed to compete with the Peugeot 308 CC and Volkswagen Eos as its main rivals, so it's priced accordingly, but is does still work out as cheaper than both. You do get a lot of equipment and accessories fitted as standard for your money (including electric windows and sunroof), with the options list populated by very reasonable extras. Resale values in the UK used car market for cars like this are very season dependent, with demand higher in the summer when the attraction of top-down driving is more obvious, so second-hand prices and deals tend to reflect that.