What is the Renault Mégane?
The Mégane is Renault’s affordable family hatchback and rival to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It’s showing its age and feels uncompetitive – and is one of an increasingly rare band of new Renaults for sale. Falling sales have seen Renault drop the Espace, Laguna, Modus, Kangoo and Wind from its showrooms. That leaves just the Scénic, Mégane, Clio and Twingo, plus the electric Twizy and Fluence.
The Mégane is probably the least able and desirable of those remaining. Priced from £16,745, it’s a car that, with one exception – the Renaultsport version – struggles to stand out from the crowd of also-rans in the class over which the Golf and Focus reign so convincingly.
Despite a wide range of petrol and diesel engines from 1.2 to 2 litres, and body styles including hatch, coupé, convertible and estate, there’s not a Mégane on sale that comes close to troubling the best cars in the family hatchback class. Except the Renaultsport version, which, for pure driving enjoyment, remains an absolute blast.
Sadly, “dull” is the word that springs most readily to mind. While some Méganes are faster than others, none save the Renaultsport has anything to tempt a keener breed of driver.
If you’re someone who cares not at all how you get there, but just how little it costs, the Mégane does have something to offer. The 1.5-litre diesel engine delivers all the performance of an arthritic sloth, but it’s at least said to be capable of more than 80mpg and has CO2 emissions so low you can count on a free tax disc for the foreseeable future.
It’s hard to believe that the Renaultsport Mégane was born of such unprepossessing raw material, but a 265bhp shot of power and chassis settings decided by some of the best in the business can work wonders in even the most mundane of cars. That the car is extremely fast is demonstrated by the figures alone; you need to drive one to appreciate how nimble, involving and capable is its chassis. If you need a hatchback but want the best possible driving experience, you should start shopping here.
Renault has made massive strides in production quality in recent years, and in the cabin of the Mégane it really shows. The design is clean and neat, the quality of the plastics beyond reproach.
Less impressive is the amount of space in the back. We don’t expect cars in this class to provide the headroom and legroom of a limo, but it is fair to hope that a couple of reasonably proportioned adult should be able to sit side by side in adequate comfort. In the Mégane, both legroom and headroom are limited, but at least the boot – with a capacity of 372 litres – is a good size.
The one to buy
Mégane Renaultsport 265
- £26,925 (correct at first publication)
- 1998cc, 4-cylinder turbo
- 265bhp @ 5500rpm
- 266 lb ft@ 3000rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 6sec
- Top speed:
- 37.7mpg (combined)
- Road tax band:
- L 4312mm, W 1808mm, H 1423mm