Review

Renault Megane Renaultsport hatchback

Price  £25,930 - £36,430

Renault Megane Renaultsport hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Sharp handling
  • Striking looks
  • Everyday usability
Cons
  • Interior doesn't feel special enough
  • Not as practical as competitors
  • Road noise with larger wheels

At a glance

The greenest
RenaultSport 265 Stop & Start 3dr £25,930
The cheapest
RenaultSport 265 Stop & Start 3dr £25,930
The fastest
RenaultSport 275 Trophy-R 3dr £36,430
Top of the range
RenaultSport 275 Trophy-R 3dr £36,430

"The Renaultsport Megane 265 strikes a great balance between very focused driving dynamics and day-to-day comfort."

The Renaultsport Megane is a fast hot hatchback that takes on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, SEAT Leon Cupra R and Ford Focus ST.

Its predecessor, the Megane R26.R, was a stripped-out hatchback that sported sharp handling, but was extremely uncomfortable to drive on the road, excessively juddering anyone inside all over the place.

However, the latest model manages to equal the previous car's performance while also being comfortable to drive on a daily basis – which is exactly what a hot hatchback should do. The standard 265 model is built with that in mind, while the cheaper Cup model is more track-focused, so has extra parts that improve cornering ability, but which are swapped for several “luxury” items. Confusingly, you can add the Cup parts to the standard car as an option if you so please.

The range has just been joined by the Renaultsport Megane Trophy 275. It sits between the regular Megane 265 and the hardcore Trophy-R. The 275 gets a lightweight exhaust from upmarket tuners Akrapovic, an extra 10bhp and Renault's Cup Pack fitted as standard. The latter includes stiffer suspension and a limited-slip differential for hard acceleration out of corners. Visual changes include a deeper front bumper with Trophy badging, stickers on the car's wings, and uniquely numbered sills.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.3 / 5

You'll pay handsomely for fuel and insurance

It may not have the sky-high fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of a full-blooded sports car, but if you try to use it for your everyday driving, you’ll quickly need to set up a tab at your nearest petrol station because you’ll be spending a lot of cash there. Any turbocharged performance engine is going to need a lot of fuel, and this one's no exception, with fuel economy of 34mpg and CO2 emissions of 190g/km for road tax of  £265.  

Surprisingly, the RenaultSport Megane Trophy is actually more frugal, it can return economy of 37.7mpg, while CO2 emissions of 174g/km mean that road tax drops to £205 annually.

The Megane has soft tyres that tend to wear out quickly, so you may have to replace the tyres more often if you drive it at all aggressively - and if you plan on taking the car on to a track more than once or twice a year, you will definitely need to buy an extra set of brake pads as well. 

Engines, drive & performance

5.0 / 5

With 265bhp, the Renaultsport is a very fast road car

The Renaultsport Megane certainly looks the part – based on the swoopy Megane Coupe, the RS adds flared wheel arches, sporty side skirts and front spoilers that transform the exterior dimensions into a much more intimidating-looking car - especially if you go for one of the bright colour schemes on offer. Its larger alloy wheels and oversized central exhaust pipe give a suggestion of the performance on offer under the bonnet, too. The engine is a turbocharged 2.0-litre that produces 265bhp and can accelerate the Megane from 0-62mph in only 6.0 seconds.

It’s also got terrific grip through the corners, while also offering excellent agility, all offset by powerful brakes to keep matters under control. It all adds up to a car that easily one of the fastest point-to-point cars money can buy. To really feel its true potential, take it to a nice winding B-road and enjoy.

The Trophy doesn’t feel much quicker than the regular car – it doesn’t need to – but it sounds faster thanks to an exhaust that growls at idle, while popping and banging at speed.

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

Sporty handling means very firm suspension

While the previous Renaultsport Megane was stripped out to the extreme, the current model’s interior is nicely screwed together and adds some welcome excitement to the standard Megane’s insides. You get sporty bucket seats that hold you tightly in place, plus there's lots of pleasing detailing on the dials, seatbelts and stitching, while parts of the leather trim are coloured in yellow. 

Coming with the cup pack as standard, the Trophy’s suspension also feels too stiff, but its Reacro sports seats offer excellent support for hard cornering and are some of the best currently available.

Practicality & boot space

2.3 / 5

Only available as a coupe, so access to the rear seats is limited

One of the main reasons for buying a hot hatchback is to get a sports car’s performance in a practical hatchback family car. However, if you're intending to use the Megane as your only form of transport, it simply isn’t as practical as the standard version. For a start, it’s only available as a coupe, so getting in and out of the back is really limited. It’s also a lot more expensive to run – even with stop-start technology added to improve its fuel economy, the Renaultsport still only returns 37.7mpg and emits 174g/km, so it lands in road tax bracket H. Plus, insurance costs will be high. You do get a decent-sized boot that offers 377 litres of space with the rear seats in place. It expands to a good-sized 1,129 litres with the back seats folded down flat, but a high load lip does makes lifting heavy items in and out that little bit trickier than it should be. The front racing seats eat into rear passenger space in the back – making things worse for rear passengers, who will already be having to endure the car's stiff suspension.

Reliability & safety

2.2 / 5

Renault cars don't have the best reputation

The Megane dropped a massive 72 places in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with the car being marked down for build quality, fuel economy, and performance. The latter isn't something we would ever accuse the Renaultsport Megane of being lacking in, though.

The Megane hatchback was tested by Euro NCAP and scored a full five star rating. But since then, the crash test organisation has heavily criticised the Megane for the poor way its rear seatbelt warning system operates, and has downgraded its appraisal to just three stars. Testers noted that with improvements to this system, the car could be capable of scoring four stars.

The Megane Renaultsport is fitted with the same level of safety equipment as the standard Megane but with the electronic stability control tweaked to take into account the performance model’s increased speed and sharper handling. However, drivers planning to use the Renaultsport on track days should tread carefully, because if you drive it hard, the Megane will quickly gobble up consumable parts like tyres, brake pads and clutches, which will impact on the overall reliability of the car.

Price, value for money & options

3.3 / 5

It's not what we would call cheap, but given the performance on offer, it is decent value for money

Driving enthusiasts rightly hold the Renaultsport Megane in particularly high esteem – which is good, because it's not cheap to buy! However, it is competitively priced when you look at the level of performance it offers. Factor in its combination of head-turning exterior looks and exclusivity, and it is quite a compelling package. It's also relatively well equipped, too, although stripped-out Cup versions don't get air conditioning or sat-nav as standard.

Renault's have iffy resale values in the used car market, but the Renaultsport's reputation and desirability should balance that out somewhat. 

As just 100 cars are coming to the UK, the Trophy model should hold its value well, but its £1,500 premium is hard to justify against the normal car. Especially when you factor in the hard ride. The extra money does buy you a three-year subscription to TomTom sat-nav, though.

But, if you’re looking for the ultimate Megane, we would go for the stripped out Trophy-R. Its does without rear seats, air conditioning, rear wiper, and sound deadening, but is 100kgs lighter and significantly quicker. With just 30 examples coming to the UK it is also as exclusive as Renault Meganes get.

 

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 1 review
4.0 / 5
As before, there are two models are available: the Renaultsport 265 and 265 Cup, but whichever model you go for, the driving position is excellent. The regular model has excellent electrically-adjustable leather seats, while the Cup version has supportive Recaros and 19-inch alloy wheels that really come into their own on the track, yet are still comfortable enough for driving around town.
Last updated 
31 Jul 2014

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