In-depth reviews

Renault Megane hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The Renault Megane engines are reasonably powerful, but handling and gearbox not the best

The Renault Megane can be chosen with one of two engines, a diesel and a petrol, while a plug-in hybrid is also on its way. The first is the dCi 115 diesel, and there’s also a 138bhp 1.3-litre petrol, badged TCe 140. It’s the petrol model, unsurprisingly, that’s the better of the two to drive and significantly faster too. The TCe 140 accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds, while the diesel dCi 115 takes 11.1 seconds.

The 113bhp dCi 115 Megane is pretty good to drive, but it's still not quite as satisfying as a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf for keen drivers and feels somewhat sluggish. Most rivals offer a version with 148bhp, or even more in the case of the sporty versions.

Manoeuvrability around town at low speeds is made easy by the light steering, but it also has the effect of robbing much of the feel and feedback that cars like the SEAT Leon offer. Iconic and R.S. Line feature a ‘Multisense’ system, which changes the way the car responds. A Sport mode adds a little weight to the steering, but it feels artificial and doesn’t convince.

Even the sporty, driver-focused GT Line model can’t match the sharpness of some rivals: the SEAT Leon and Mazda3 are both geared more towards entertaining you but there's just enough ability to engage keen drivers.

Renault Megane petrol engine

The petrol engine is a surprisingly sprightly 138bhp 1.3-litre turbo that suits its six-speed manual gearbox, and in this form it accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is also available, resulting in a slightly quicker 0-62mph time, but it’s slightly less frugal. Both have a top speed of 127mph.

While its acceleration times are competitive, you do have to work the small engine hard to extract performance from it. It's also not the most refined engine; the Volkswagen Golf's 1.5-litre TSI engine is smoother and has a slicker gearshift. 

Diesel engines

The diesel is a 1.5-litre with 113bhp. Getting the most out of it involves lots of gear changes, but it has plenty of power, particularly at low revs. Again, there’s an automatic transmission available, which makes sense around town and cuts the acceleration time by 0.2 seconds.

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