The new look Renault Mégane has impressive modern styling and good space with impressive entry prices starting at €21,490, for the diesel version

Hatchback drivers have a wider choice of cars than ever this year helped by the recent arrival of the new Renault Megane. Renault has transformed the car with new styling and loaded on the safety and driver features to give a different driving feeling to the French brand car.
Renault launched a new version of the Megane hatchback car during the year adding to the wider than ever range of hatchback options for car buyers in the mid-range segment of the market.
Renault’s latest offering is attractive to look at and comes with some significant technical changes.
The new look of the fourth generation car is attractive; it sits marginally lower on the road and comes with a longer wheelbase. Renault now claims that the front and rear track widths are the widest in the class to add to improved stability.
The front of the Megane is distinctive using always-on LED lights to give good effect. The rear has similar LED type lights, which are also permanently lit when the engine is switched on.
There are significant changes to the inside and it feels more quality in terms of touch for the controls, including steering wheel. It comes with a configurable 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) colour instrument display, R-LINK 2 connectivity systems via either a 7-inch landscape or 8.7-inch portrait tablet, Multi-Sense technology to personalise the driving experience.
The higher specification GT versions get the addition of 4Control four-wheel steering.
The Megane comes with a new 5-Star Euro NCAP safety rating well ahead of its launch. The safety gear is impressive including adaptive cruise control, active emergency braking and lane departure warning throughout the range, while connectivity via the R-Link 2 system is fitted to all models above the entry Expression versions.
Standard safety features include ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with traction and under-steer control, speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and pre-tensioners at the front, side impact protection bars and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points on the two outer rear seats.
While Renault is offering a new petrol version of the Megane, I drove the entry level 1.5-litre turbo-diesel Megane in GT specification during my test drive, using the well-established engine. This car is marginally more fuel efficient than before and the entry model now starts at 110bhp rather 90bhp in the previous versions. That fact alone adds a more competitive nature of the Megane offer as Renault aim to get the car into the top four in the market.
This engine is cleaner and more fuel efficient than before, helping to lower running costs. Out on the road, it was possible to appreciate the engine power of the Megane. The higher specification GT versions have more features, while engine power and performance are almost the same as the standard entry model.
The Megane comes with a smooth six speed gearbox and in the GT version there was a sporty feel to the driving experience. That was more of an engine sound and a solid handling experience rather than performance as the car is not the fastest in acceleration terms relative to the more usual diesel competition.
Renault also has a 1.6-litre diesel engine offering for a more true competitive analysis and that engine produces almost 20% more and torque. For most drivers the 1.5-litre engine will be more than adequate and cost effective.
I took it across a range of different roads during my test drive afternoon. The official economy rate of 27km/litre (3.7/100km or 76mpg) is impressive against the competition and makes the new Megane one of the most economical cars in the mid-size hatchback segment.
In practice the car is truly economical and I found that I could achieve a range of over 900km on what is a modest size 40-litre capacity diesel tank. This makes running costs very competitive at €0.26/km and they would be marginally better if the Megane can get market share to help lower the depreciation levels.
The hatchback segment of the car market is now very competitive and the Renault Megane has ground to make up to win back market share. The entry pricing is competitive to start with coupled with competitive running costs.
The car drives and looks very well helped by the fact that it has a long wheelbase. There is comfortable space up front, while the foot-well area for the pedals is a little tight.
The seats on the GT version are a shade too sporty giving a harsher driving experience on smaller roads. Rear legroom is tight and while there are two rear Iso-Fix mountings for child seats, the space is tight.
The Megane also has a decent size boot, the biggest among the five top sellers that I’ve compared it with. Unfortunately the spare wheel is on the options list for entry models.
This is a car that looks modern, has made good use of in-car technology and is rated very safe. Add to that low running costs and Megane has to be on many 171 registration shopping lists. For car buyers the Megane offer will be price attractive starting at €21,490 for the diesel version, but that’s not alone the reason for considering it.