Renault Megane coupe
Price £18,250 - £28,930
- Excellent build quality
- Quick Renaultsport version
- Small rear windows
- Not as practical as rivals
- Confusing specifications
At a glance
"The Renault Megane coupe is a sporty three-door hatch that has an improving reputation for quality and reliability."
The Renault Megane coupe may have the same name as the five-door Renault Megane and share a lot of parts and mechanicals, but that is where the similarity between the two cars ends. It's a rival for the likes of the Volkswagen Scirocco, Hyundai Veloster and SEAT Leon SC and gets sleeker, sportier dimensions compared to the more practical five-door. Both cars do have the same dashboard layout inside, though, and the quality of the interior is undeniably better than Renaults of old, which raises the coupe's game. The Renault Megane coupe comes in three main specifications – entry-level Expression+, mid-spec Dynamique TomTom, and top-of-the-range GT Line. There have been a handful of special editions including the Renault Megane coupe Knight Edition, while a 2012 update added some extra features to bring it up to date, including daytime running lights, and new black trim.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Mid-range diesel engines offer best mix of pace and economy
The Megane Coupe's 90bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel fitted with stop-start technology is the most efficient engine on offer, returning a claimed 80.7mpg in combined fuel economy and emitting only 90g/km of CO2, ensuring that it is free of road tax thanks to the magic sub-100g/km threshold. The entire engine range is fairly frugal, but we’d suggest you avoid the 1.6-litre 110 petrol engine, which only returns 40.9mpg and emits 159g/km – placing it in tax band G, which will cost you £175 per year in tax. Everything else easily clears 50mpg and gets under 125g/km of CO2 so you'll never end up paying a fortune to run one. You also get Renault's 4+ really quite excellent after sales package, which includes servicing, road-side assistance, warranty and financing.
Interior & comfort
The coupe transmits bumps and vibrations into the car's interior
The Megane coupe is generally reasonably comfortable to ride in – but the coupe does inflict more jolts and vibrations on its passengers than the standard car thanks to its stiffer suspension set-up. Wind, tyre and engine noise are all kept to a minimum, however, even at motorway speeds. The back seats are also pretty cramped, though, thanks to the coupe's sleek dimensions, with small rear windows not letting in very much light to leave the interior feeling decidedly dark and claustrophobic. Space in the front, however, is good, with a decent driving position that offers plenty of visibility, with the pedals, steering wheel and seat all offering comprehensive adjustment.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space is reasonable, but difficult to access thanks to a narrow opening
The Renault Megane coupe loses nearly 30 litres of boot space over the standard car, offering 344 litres of luggage capacity. This expands to 991 litres when you fold down the standard-fit split-fold rear seats, which is very reasonable, even if the seats prove very fiddly to fold down. Only problem is, the space isn't as useful as in the five-door, because the hatchback opening is too narrow and there's a high load lip that makes it hard to lift heavy items into the boot. Anyone sitting in the back will find it all a bit cramped, while there's very little in terms of storage inside the main car, either. It's not that it's an impractical car, just that it fails to be any better than other three door coupes on the market. If practicality is at all important to you and you simply have to have a Megane, we’d recommend going for the standard five-door instead.
Reliability & safety
The Megane actually jumped up the Driver Power 2013 rankings
The good news for anyone thinking about buying the Megane coupe is that Renault's temperamental reliability reputation is currently on the up and has been steadily improving over the last few years. It was even one of the most improved performers in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, climbing six places up the manufacturers rankings to place 21st. Admittedly, that's still in the bottom third of the table, but that's certainly a good start.
And this improvement is in many ways down to the Megane, which feels like a quality product from the moment you step inside. In fact, the Megane has pulled off that rare feat of actually climbing back up the Driver Power list of top 100 cars – there's only one direction cars usually travel in the rankings, and it isn’t up – moving from 31st in 2012 to 20th in 2013.
Safety has always been one of Renault's selling points, and the Megane hatchback was originally awarded a full five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and the coupe inherits these credentials. Since then the hatchback has been downgraded to three stars, making it among the lowest rated cars of its type. Failure for the car to warn the driver sufficiently if the rear seatbelts aren't being used by rear passengers was singled out for criticism. Euro NCAP said that with improvements to this system, the car could score four stars.
Standard safety equipment includes front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control (ESP) and selt belt pre-tensioners as standard equipment. Renault has consistently been producing perform at the highest level in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, so you can have peace of mind that the Megane Coupe will protect you if you're involved in an accident.
Engines, drive & performance
Sharp handling backs up coupe's sporty looks
The Megane coupe has sportier suspension than the standard five-door car, so, while it is less forgiving over rough roads, handling and steering are improved over the standard car. The smaller engines on offer – the 1.5 dCi 86 diesel and 1.6 VVT 100 petrol – do feel underpowered and slow, but the remaining engines in the range generate enough power to produce some genuinely zippy performance. It's not as fun to drive as the Subaru BRZ, but if you’re really interested in speed, you’re better off looking at the Renaultsport Megane 265 performance model, which is one of the most exciting cars to drive at any price.
Price, value for money & options
It costs more than the five door, but should hold its value better
Most car manufacturers charge you more money for more doors on its cars. Not Renault – no. The French car maker has decided to charge a premium for the three-door coupe version of the Megane, which is a bit cheeky, considering that it's not any better than the standard car. That said, the coupe will likely have stronger resale value on the UK used cars market when you come to make a second-hand deal – especially the high-performance Renaultsport model. All models across the range come well equipped with a range of accessories, getting air-conditioning fitted as standard. TomTom models also come with an integrated sat-nav unit, which is easy to use and handy when you get lost!
What the others say
If you crave a harcore hot hatch then get the Renaultsport version, or get yourself an R26 verion of the outgoing model, but for most people the coupe offers plenty of usable performance without compromising on space or comfort. A great warm hatch.
The Megane Coupe is keenly priced, looks great and comes well equipped. It handles well too and is available with some fine engines. But rear-seat head- and legroom are poor, and the ride is very firm compared to the best in the class.
The Megane Coupe has a much sleeker appearance than the hatchback and enough appeal to turn heads of owners of the Hyundai Coupe and perhaps even the Volkswagen Scirocco. However, it still has enough practicality to attract interest from buyers who want a car that looks good and is more useful than traditional coupes.