Here is our 2017 Renault Megane review! Renault’s all-new Megane is here to make more than a fashion statement, one that will shake its rivals to the roots.
It seems that people, in light of the current economic scenario, have realized that they don’t need so-called luxury cars or a large SUV when smaller, cheaper vehicles have just as many features and can accommodate as many people. And so today, we take a look at a mini sedan that is ready to make the moves!
The Renault Megane has been around since 1995 and we have seen atleast three generations before this 2017 year model. A little while ago, we got behind the wheel of the top-spec Renault Megane 1.6 LE+. Here’s our comprehensive review on the sedan with a French flavour.
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
The first generation Megane wasn’t exactly handsome, it had the quirks common to French automotive design. The 2nd generation car put up a pleasant face, but had a hideous hind. The 3rd generation to some extent, owned the streets, thanks to its flowing looks and to be honest, would have been a tough act to follow. Thankfully, the fresh-out-of-the-factory 4th generation vehicle is a looker too!
It’s basically a miniaturized version of its sibling, the Talisman, which we believe is the best looking car in the affordable mid-size segment. And so you get all of it styling, like the powerful LED headlamps – which is perhaps a segment-first – and C-shaped LED day-time running lamps that cradle the main lamps. All this combines with the conspicuous diamond emblem that sits on the slatted chrome grille to create a very sporty and premium outlook. You also have fog lamps to help you see in the expected hazy nights ahead. Winter is coming!
The raked windshield gives it a sleek profile, one that sit on beautiful 18-inch wheels that have a design that resemble abstract impressions of flower petals. Not bad! They come wrapped in 225/40 R18 tyres, which by the way is spec that goes on MkV Golf R32 hothatch. Not bad at all! The rear is characterized by beautiful tail lamps that stretch across from end to end, spit only by the chrome emblem. And at the bottom is a single chrome tipped exhaust – you really don’t need more!
The Megane is a rare of beauty in the segment that loves the bland and perhaps the Mazda 3 is its only real rival, aesthetically!
On the insides, it’s a little more sober. Its blacked-base cabin has a German feel to it and again, everything here imitates the cabin architecture of the Talisman. The well-bolstered steering is of adequate diameter and thickness and hence, nice to hold! And it has a centre-piece that sort of outlines the diamond emblem. Behind the arch of the wheel is a 3-piece instrument cluster that centres on a livid 7-inch TFT screen that has several skins to keeps thing interesting to the eye.
Be it in the front or back, the seats come upholstered in supple, but resilient leather which not only is a mark of the moneyed, but is also easy to clean.
Our Premium Edition test car had a large R-Link 8.7 touch screen on the centre console with a portrait orientation, much like that in a Volvo or Tesla. The response however is average and the user interface isn’t exactly your modern smartphone equivalent.
Now there are some hard plastics here and there, but the build quality didn’t pose concern atleast during the time we loaned it. As for ergonomics, one niggle we had was that it was difficult to access the USB ports etc. on the centre console, with the shift lever in ‘P’.
In the rear, the “two’s company, three’s a crowd” rule applies here. Atleast, there is a view out the roof that can accommodate more courtesy of its panoramic scale.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
The sharp lines and sporty wheels did build expectations not of pace, but of city-friendly zippiness in my mind. So I gave the starter button a push and then strolled the streets in a very casual manner for a while, before thumping the gas pedal. But nothing really came of it. The acceleration is slow and a test of patience! The 115 bhp and the 156 Nm of torque churned from the 1.6 litre inline 4-cylinder engine isn’t enough to pull this family car from 0 to 100 km/h any quicker than 13.2 seconds, which by the way is the manufacturer’s claimed time. But honestly isn’t enough. It’s also got the CVT working away in the back, so engine drone is omnipresent.
How about highway acceleration, which is important in the UAE, since we spend most of driving lives on them? But even as the speeds climb, the power never really comes. The 80 km/h to120 km/h run is achieved in 10.3 seconds! But once there, the cruise control with the speed limiter keeps things safe and convenient. So you see it gets the job done, but it isn’t quick by any means. And since it is mimicking everything the Talisman does, we think it use its turbocharged powetrain too!
But for every other aspect of performance, it does better than the class average and even good in some cases. The 49.7-litre fuel tank and the achievable 6.6 L/100 km claimed fuel economy gives a total range of 753 kilometres. But in real world, where traffic takes its toll, you can expect a figure is closer to the sub-600 mark. As for its emissions rating – which is a measure of performance for the tree-hugging, green activist kind of person who wears artificial leather and writes about banning fire crackers in third world countries to protect street animals – the of 153 g/km the Megane emits comes across as an acceptable figure for a gasoline-powered vehicle.
On the braking front, it is equipped by ventilated front discs of a 280 mm diameter and 260 mm diameter regular rotors at the back. When applied, it acts with an obedience equivalent to its size and mass which works well for domestic use. And it handles decisively too. The steering feel isn’t the most accurate but you can rest assured that it will go where you point it – the chassis has the goods, especially at civil speeds.
FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
If you open you the boot you get a large expanse able to fit a couple of suitcases.So you can drop you friend or family to the airport, without hailing an extra cab for luggage. Infact, the 503 litres it offers is more than some full-size luxury sedans even. You can also expand its capacity to 987 litres simply by dropping the split rear seats.
The LE+ model has every conceivable safety feature for its class and then some more, starting with the essentials like ABS, Emergency Brake Assist; front airbags, side airbags and even curtain airbags. You get seat belt reminders for all seats to go with the height adjustability for the belts in the front. You also get features which have been borrowed from a segment above like Blind Sport Warning System and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. In addition, you have the mandated ESP to keep your vehicle dynamics in check and Hill Start Assist to prevent you from rolling back, when cars queue up on mall ramp. Also, the families need to worry less thanks to ISOFIX points for child seats.
But this Megane isn’t about being “basic”. You also get stuff like a driver’s seat with lumbar support and a massage system. Yes, massage! The driver also gets comforts like a sliding arm rest, one touch power windows and one of my favourites, a welcome and goodbye ambient lighting system which switches on as you approach or leave the vehicle – it feels good to be greeted. And you probably wouldn’t want to take out that slim, business-card like keyfob that fits in your wallet anyway.
You also have dual-zone climate control with rear air ducts, which is rare in this segment; illuminated sun visors for when you want to straighten your tie or apply your lipstick and a rather good 3D Arkamys audio system with 8 speakers, which you can plug into via the 2 available USB ports or aux-in or Bluetooth.
The 2017 Renault Megane is a stylish and sophisticated compact vehicle with oodles of character. When you compare its price against segment-first features like LED headlamps, massage seats, dual-zone climate control and 8.7-inch infotainment screen, you’d known that the Megane is capable of punching way above its weight. Ironically, the motor lacks punch and few ergonomic issues muddle our thoughts…and makes what could have been a great car, just a good one.
2014 Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R set a time of 7:54.36 time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making it the 4th fastest front-wheel drive production vehicle to lap ‘Green Hell’
Body type: 5-seater; 4-door compact sedan
Engine: Front engine; 1.6-litre inline 4-cylinder; front-wheel drive
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (automatic)
Peak output: 115 bhp @ 5,500 rpm; 156 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
0 to 100km/h: 13.2 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 224 km/h (drag limited; claimed)
Price: Starting at AED 52,900
Pros: Beautiful scaled-down styling from the Talisman; tech-laden with segment first features; decent vehicle dynamics;
Cons: Motor lacks punch; some hard plastics and ergonomic issues; questionable residual value