Renault Megane hatchback
Renault Megane hatchback
Price £16,750 - £23,245
- Good value for money
- Comfortable to drive
- Excellent build quality
- Plain styling
- Cramped rear seats
- Less fun to drive than rivals
At a glance
"The Renault Megane is a decent all-round family car offering style, quality and reliability in equal measure."
The Renault Megane competes in the family hatchback market with cars such as the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf. Although the standard Meganes are not as fun-to-drive as the Focus or as well built as the Volkswagen.
Buyers can choose between a five-door hatchback, sportier three-door coupe, and the Megane Sports Tourer estate. The Megane has traditionally provided a fun driving experience, particularly in the fast Renaultsport Megane.
Buyers can choose between two petrol and two diesel engines. The basic diesel can get fuel economy of more than 80mpg, but the hi-tech 1.2-litre petrol is also surprisingly frugal, smooth, and quick.
MPG, running costs & CO2
All engines offer strong performance and economy, but the diesels really shine
The cheapest Renault Megane to run is the 1.5-litre diesel. It can return fuel economy of 80.7mpg, when fitted with stop-start technology, and emissions of just 90g/km for free road tax. Go for the more powerful 1.6-litre diesel and it can get fuel economy of 70.6mpg, while road tax is just £20 annually.
Of the petrol engines, the best engine to go for is the 1.2-litre. It can return fuel economy of 53.3mpg and low emissions that mean it will cost just £30 annually to tax. By comparison the old-fashioned 1.6-litre petrol can only return fuel economy of 40.9mpg and emissions of 159g/km for pricy road tax of £180.
Insurance for all five-door Meganes should be cheap and ranges from group 13 for the 1.6-litre petrol to group 17 for the 1.6-litre diesel. All new Renaults come with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty and if you buy the car using Renault’s finance, it also comes with the Renault 4+ pack. Worth up to £1,000 it includes four year’s roadside assistance and four year’s free servicing.
Interior & comfort
The Megane is comfortable to drive, but space in the back is a little cramped
In the latest facelifted model, Renault has tried to improve the interior of the Megane. It looks smart enough, but ultimately is not as well built as the Volkswagen Golf’s. Getting comfortable is easy thanks to a steering wheel that adjusts for rake and reach, and a drivers seat that can be fine-tuned for height.
Visibility in the Megane is mostly good, but seeing out the rear can be tricky. You could get round this by opting for the GT model, which comes with rear-parking sensors as standard.
Renault has given the Megane a soft suspension setup and it does a good job of smoothing out bumps in the road. That’s not true in the GT model, however, which gets stiffer suspension for a sportier drive.
Practicality & boot space
Megane's practicality falls behind the Honda Civic and Skoda Octavia
Counting in the Renault Megane’s favour is a 405-litre boot that is bigger than the Volkswagen Golf’s (380 litre) and the Ford Focus (316 litres), although it is outdone by the Honda Civic (477 litres) and the Skoda Octavia (590 litres). If you need more space you could always go for the Renault Megane Sports Tourer estate, which has a 524-litre boot.
The Megane’s boot also features a 33-litre hidden storage area under the boot floor. Fold the back seats flat and a maximum capacity of 1,162 litres is revealed. The seats fold almost completely flat, however there is a slight boot lip that you will have to lift heavy items over.
While passenger space in the front of the Megane is fine, the same can’t be said for the back seat where six-footers will feel cramped. Extra storage spaces are also thin on the ground and the car’s glovebox is small, while when in use the cupholders get in the way of the stereo’s controls.
Reliability & safety
Megane isn't as safe as it used to be
Unfortunately for Renault, the Megane suffered a shocking slide to drop from 20th to 92nd place in our 2014 Driver Power survey and little has changed in the facelifted car. It scored poorly in numerous areas including build quality, ease of driving and seat comfort. Certainly the Renault’s interior lacks the quality plastics that can be found in the Volkswagen Golf and the Mazda3.
An area that modern Renaults are usually strong in is safety, but the Renault takes a beating here as well. It has just been downgraded from five stars to three stars by Euro NCAP, although simple changes should be enough to get it four-star status. The Megane comes as standard with six airbags and stability control. Renault also offers the Vision Pack, which offers a rear parking camera for £600.
Engines, drive & performance
Megane has decent handling and comfort levels
The Megane is enjoyable to drive, thanks to accurate steering and plenty of grip in the corners. However, basic models aren’t as fun to drive as the GT version, which comes fitted with sport suspension.
Nonetheless, without a powerful Renaultsport version, none of the five-door Renault Meganes are very quick. The basic 1.6-litre petrol can get from 0-60mph in 10.5 seconds, while the more high-tech TCE 115 1.2-litre petrol is actually slightly slower taking 10.9 seconds to get from 0-60mph. The TCe 130 is usefully quicker taking 9.7 seconds to complete the same benchmark.
The diesel models are quite slow, and the 1.5-litre version can only manage 0-60mph in 12.3 seconds. Fastest model of all is the 130 diesel that can get from 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds.
The automated manual gearbox can be fitted to the 1.5-litre diesel and the 1.2-litre petrol, but it is slow to operate and not as much fun to use as the manual.
Price, value for money & options
Equipment levels are good, but Megane's used values don’t hold up well
All models of Renault Megane come with excellent levels of equipment. Even the basic Expression+ model comes with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. The Dynamique TomTom model, meanwhile, adds climate control, sat-nav as well as auto headlights and wipers. Top of the range GT Line TomTom models add rear parking sensors, a sporty body kit, and a upgraded stereo.
If you do decide to buy a Renault Megane we would advise pushing for a good discount. The model is showing its age now and it has poor second-hand values that mean it is unlikely to hold its value as well as rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
What the others say
The latest Renault Megane hatchback is competent in every area – it's comfortable, drives well, looks good and feels well built. Yet the outgoing car's trump card – its unique look – has gone. And the next Mégane can’t match the quality of the Golf MkVI, nor the driving experience of the Ford Focus. The forthcoming Coupé will add a touch of visual flair, but only time will tell if the Mégane can excel against some very tough opposition. It's close to the best, but it's not the class leader.
The Megane is keenly priced and has plenty of equipment. It handles well and is available with some fine engines, including some particularly clean and economical diesel units. The Megane isn't as classy or as good to drive as a VW Golf, and it can't match the best for ride comfort, either. Rear-seat head- and legroom are poor, too.
Renault caused a real stir when it launched the 2002 Megane with its angular styling and distinctive rear. Its replacement is a huge improvement in terms of interior quality, ride and handling, but sadly it lacks the same styling flair and looks conventional as a result. The good news is that it is far better to drive, plus there's more room inside. There's a good choice of engines too, including several that emit less than 120g/km of CO2 and can average 63mpg.