New Megane Punches Above Its Weight
Price $35,990 drive away
It’s going to take a leap of faith for buyers of small cars to cop a 1.2-litre, four cylinder under the bonnet. After all, that size engine is what you’d expect in something like a Suzuki Ignis…. right?
Thing is, Renault has used its vast experience in motor racing to optimise this small capacity power plant, bolted on a power boosting turbocharger and added efficiency improving technology like direct fuel injection to give the 1.2 the same performance as a non-turbo 2.0-litre with possibly better fuel economy.
NEW, NEW, NEW
A new Megane sedan lobbed a few months back with a new platform, styling and powertrain and it’s a significant improvement over the previous model.
That little donk bestows Megane with sporty performance right off the mark and on test I saw an average of 6.8-litres/100km using 95 fuel – not bad at all given no attention was paid to driving economically.
It steers well too with sharp reflexes and a firmish ride with flat cornering.
There are limits of course defined by the fact that the Megane Intens is a `family’ four door car.
Luxury and safety equipment is generous with plenty of advanced driver assist technology in this particular Intens model. Big touch screen too, with Renault’s excellent R-Link2, infotainment system and hard wired satnav.
Leather too as you’d expect in a car this price.
It’s no lightweight at 1321kg but all that kit, including dual zone climate control, sunroof, 18-inch alloys, tyre pressure monitor, adaptive cruise and premium Arkamys audio inevitably add to the beltline.
Power transmission to the front wheels is via a seven speed dual clutch `manumatic’ but no paddle shift.
A number of drive modes are provided including Eco and Sport, the former imparting a feeling like there’s a sock in the exhaust. Left in Sport fuel consumption is good.
Megane sedan is a roomy car for five with a huge boot expandable with the rear seats folded.
More lumbar support would be an improvement in the front pews.
Instrumentation and layout is attractive to look at and easy to use and I really like the ambient light selection.
But the front is a bit overdone in styling terms especially the recurving LED daytime driving lights.
Apart from that the overall look is smooth if conservative.
Megane is safe as houses with a high ranked 5-star crash rating plus the benefit of those sharp dynamics to steer you out of trouble if needed.
I like it, like it a lot especially if you are not Corolla-minded…
➔ Surprisingly good performance from small capacity engine
➔ Impressive fuel economy and you can run E10 without hiccups
➔ Generous amount of advanced driver assistance technology
➔ Sporty drive feel
➔ Passes Euro 6 emissions regulations
➔ Snappy dual clutch auto transmission
➔ Bright lights
➔ Large touch screen
➔ Premium audio
➔ 5-star crash rating
➔ Handsome to look at from most angles
NOT SO MUCH
➔ Cloth not leather trim
➔ Weighs a bit too much at 1321kg
➔ Stop/start system hesitates a bit
➔ No paddle shift
ENGINE: 1.2-litre turbo petrol four cylinder 97kW/205Nm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual clutch manumatic
0-100KMH: 7.5 seconds (approximately)
ALTERNATIVES: Mazda3 SP25 GT $29,990, Subaru Impreza 2.0i S sedan $28,990, Toyota Corolla 1.8 ZR sedan $31,920, VW Jetta 1.4 TSi Comfort $30,290, Hyundai Elantra SR $28,990..
Our Rating: 79/100