Renault Megane hatchback
"A new look and impressive infotainment system help the latest Renault Megane stand out from rivals in the popular family hatchback class"
- Good build quality
- Attractive design
- Hi-tech cabin
- Limited engine choice
- Full-size touchscreen only available on top model
- Steering and gearbox not great
Renault is renowned for giving the Megane a distinctive look, which is useful in a crowded family hatchback class where standing out is essential. Renault learnt the hard way that launching anything too outlandish is risky (the Renault Avantime and Vel Satis from the early 2000s were sales flops) but some buyers still like a break from the norm. The styling of the fourth generation Megane strikes a fine balance between distinctive and divisive. It’s arguably one of the most sophisticated-looking family hatchbacks on sale.
Compared to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, the Megane looks far more expressive, with its C-shaped LED daytime running lights, and distinctive LED rear lights, which almost span the full width of the tailgate. The car can more than hold its own against the SEAT Leon, Mazda3 and Peugeot 308 in the looks department. Perhaps the best news, though, is that it can also compete with the Skoda Octavia, Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30 when it comes to value for money.
If you thought the Megane's exterior was stylish, you’ll be impressed by the interior too. Dominating higher-spec models is a large portrait-orientated touchscreen, similar to those found in the much more expensive Volvo XC90 and Tesla Model S. Less expensive trim levels make do with a smaller conventional screen but both act as the control centre of an infotainment system that offers DAB radio, even in the entry-level Play model.
There's Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, air-conditioning and alloy wheels across the range. Other luxuries such as sat nav become standard on the Iconic model and upwards, as do rear parking sensors and automatic wipers and headlights.
At the top of the range, GT Line offers the attention-grabbing 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen. There’s also a different exterior trim and special 18-inch alloy wheels for a sportier look, along with sports seats and special upholstery.
Fuel consumption figures have been updated for ‘real world’ WLTP testing with the 1.5-litre diesel engine being the most frugal achieving up to 62.8mpg. The petrol TCe 140 engine returns up to 46.3mpg and road tax for all Meganes is £150 a year. The diesel emits 119-126g/km of CO2 (depending on the exact spec) when paired with a manual gearbox, while the petrol puts out 137-144g/km.
Renault has a good track record for building safe cars and the Megane is no exception, with a five-star rating from independent crash-test body Euro NCAP. We’d recommend adding Renault’s Safety Pack (£250 for Iconic) or Safety Pack Premium (£400 for GT Line). The former includes autonomous emergency braking, with adaptive cruise control included with the latter.
All told, the Volkswagen Golf still beats the Megane for quality, and the French car trails the Ford Focus and SEAT Leon on driving fun, but it's still a great all-round package that blends style, comfort, technology and economy.