Renault Megane hatchback
Price £16,750 - £23,250
- 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 family hatchback class is fiercely fought over, with most major brands fielding impressive models such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. Inevitably, there are some also-rans in the mix including the Renault Megane. It's an also-ran because, despite a recent facelift that brought minor styling revisions and an updated dashboard, it's beginning to look and feel its age. There are some efficient new engines, but it's dull to drive and cramped inside. An all-new Megane is likely to arrive in 2016.
On the flipside, the current car is comfortable, well built and generously equipped. Given its relative uncompetitiveness and imminent replacement, it's also good value for money, more so after a big discount, so it could still be worth a closer look. On that point, it's worth knowing that those big discounts have a sting in the tail, since the model depreciates much faster than its rivals.
We're reviewing the five-door Megane here, but there's also a sporty three-door coupe that includes the seriously impressive, high-performance Renaultsport version, a convertible and an estate.
There are two petrol and two diesel engines to choose from. With economy of 80mpg and zero road tax, the basic diesel makes a good case for itself. With figures like these, even its pedestrian 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds is unlikely to put many buyers off (the automatic is slightly quicker, but less economical).
The smallest petrol engine – the 1.2-litre – provides a better balance of performance and economy, with a time of 10.9 seconds, 53.3mpg economy and a road tax bill of £30. It's not only faster and smoother than the diesel, but also cheaper, so if your annual mileage is low and you tend to do local journeys, it could be the more pleasurable and cost-effective choice.
At the other extreme is the hot Reanult Megane GT 220. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds and can go all the way to 149mph. It's not as focused as the Renaultsport Megane coupe, but thanks to its Renaultsport-tuned chassis, it doesn't feel massively inferior and is certainly a lot cheaper.
Trim levels aren't the easiest to get your head around and include Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique TomTom and GT Line TomTom Energy. Fortunately, they all feature the essentials such as air-conditioning, cruise control, electric mirrors, Bluetooth phone connectivity and alloy wheels.
The Megane was awarded four out of five stars by Euro NCAP in its crash tests, so it can be regarded as reasonably safe. It has six airbags and electronic stability control as standard. The recent update brought improvements to the Megane's quality and reliability, reflected in owners' feedback. It's also worth noting that Renault is one of the few car companies to offer a four-year warranty, where most rivals call it a day at three.
All engines offer strong performance and economy, but the diesels really shineAll engines offer strong performance and economy, but the diesels offered with the Renault Megane really shine
The Renault Megane has decent handling and is pretty comfortable
The Megane is comfortable to drive, but space in the back is a little cramped The Renault Megane is comfortable to drive and standard equipment is impressive
The Renault Megane's practicality isn’t up to the standards of the Honda Civic and Skoda Octavia
Despite all the updates, the Renault Megane isn't as safe as it used to be