"Renault's Megane Coupe is a sporty three-door hatch that has an improving reputation for quality and reliability."
They share a name, and sit next to one another on the specification lists - but that's where the similarity between the Megane Coupe and the five-door Megane ends. The three-door Coupe has sportier styling than the more practical five-door, and the handling is designed to be more entertaining. Both cars have the same dashboard layout, though, and the quality of the interior is better than anything Renault has ever built before.
The sporty Coupe's suspension is firmer than the five-door's, so is less forgiving over bumpy roads, but wind, engine and tyre noise are kept out of the cabin at motorway speeds. The driving position is excellent, with pedals, seat and steering wheel all offering lots of adjustment. The smaller engines - the 1.5 dCi 86 diesel and 1.6 VVT 100 petrol - feel slow, but the remaining engines provide enough power for nippy performance. The high-performance Renaultsport 250 is one of the most exciting cars to drive at any price.
In general the Megane is comfortable, although the Coupe transmits more bumps and vibrations into the cabin than the standard Megane. Back seat passengers can feel claustrophobic, thanks to the small rear windows and dark cabin materials.
Renault's reputation for quality is steadily improving, and that's in part due to the Megane. It feels like a quality product from the moment you get in. The Megane's showing in the 2010 Driver Power buyer owner survey, which ranked the car 11th for reliability and fifth in the overall standings, backs up the feeling that things have improved.
Although the Coupe's 344-litre boot is only slightly smaller than the five-door hatchback's (372 litres), the space isn't as useful, because the hatchback opening is narrow and there's a high load lip to lift items over.
Value for money
Renault charges a premium for the three-door Coupe - other makers usually charge less for fewer doors. However, the Coupe is likely to hold its value slightly better than the five-door - particularly the desirable Renaultsport model. All models are well equipped, with air-conditioning across the range. TomTom models come with integrated satellite-navigation as standard.
Renault's entire engine range is relatively frugal, but the best balance of price and performance is found in the 128bhp petrol and diesel engines. They’re powerful enough that they don’t need to be worked hard, so you should get close to their claimed economy figures: 55mpg for the diesel and 42mpg for the quieter petrol. As ever, diesel is cheaper for Road Tax and company car tax because emissions are lower.