The Megane is the most versatile model in Renault’s current line up, available in hatch, wagon and sedan form there’s a model for everyone. What we’ve got our hands on is the Megane Sedan in range-topping Intens guise. Tackling the small sedan market where there’s already healthy competition from rivals, the Megane Sedan makes a strong case for those looking at Euro styling without bankrupting your finances. The two-tier range kicks off from $27,490 for the entry-level Megane Zen and stretches to $31,990 for the Intens tested here. All prices are before on-road costs.
In hatch form the Megane works a treat with the styling matching the proportions but this is a sedan and the styling struggles here for a number of reasons. The long bonnet and stubby rear don’t quite work for my tastes and while I do like the hook style lights up front that huge badge and funky grille hasn’t won me over. From the rear the Megane sedan does look rather delightful, the striking horizontal brake lights dominate and the sleek, all-black roofline makes an impact to suit.
While the French quirkiness is refreshing, overall it’s a bit of a hit and miss, some styling features pull you in while others push you away.
But who cares about how it looks from the outside when you spend all your time in the ambient lighting equipped interior with adjustable colors. The leather upholstery feels plush and At first I thought it was a bit of a gimmick but over time the effect grew on me. Mix that in with the trendy and upmarket interior design and you’ve got a nice place to get your driving done.
Centered in the dashboard is the portrait mounted 8.7-inch touchscreen which is the Megane’s greatest asset. Portrait mode allows you to see further ahead when navigating and the whole software package has been polished off to a high standard, easy to use and plenty of customisation.
The trim level all throughout is mostly finished well for a high quality feel except for a few cheap plastics used in the lower dashboard but that’s the least of your issues. Rattles could be heard coming from behind the dashboard and passenger door. There were also creaking sounds from the sunroof. Evidence of poor build quality continued under the bonnet with some rubber hoses cut shy of their correct length and not even cut at square right angles. The French may have a word for quality control but something got lost in translation when the Megane was assembled in Turkey.
The instrument cluster gets the digital treatment and comes with a selection of different display modes so drivers can focus on speed, rpm or economy gauges. The French sure like to do things differently, the speed cluster starts at 30km/h and jumps up in 20km/h increments which doesn’t match Australian speed limits well at all as you miss the vital 60km/h, 80km/h and 100km/h markings.
There’s a focused emphasis on fuel economy with dedicated eco modes in the driving profiles as well as a scorecard readout of how frugal your trip was on its completion. The whole thing is almost game like, you can drive like a saint and go for 5 stars or if you find the idea of a car judging your fuel economy offensive you can give it hell and aim for that elusive 0 star rating.
Overall visibility is average, thick A and C pillars block your view and the high boot lid doesn’t help either. However, with the same wheelbase as the wagon which is 43mm longer than the hatch, the sedan offers good cabin space for all occupants. Rear air con vents will be appreciated for those seated at the back but not the limited headroom if sunroof is equipped (such as in my test car). Oddly, even though the Megane is front wheel drive, a transmission tunnel is present in the rear which robs precious leg room from rear center passenger.
From the side profile you’d never guess that with the short stubby rear end the Megane would be hiding a hefty 503 litres of boot space that almost doubles with the seats folded down to reach 987 litres. Explore beneath the cavernous boot space and you’ll be pleased to find a full sized spare for ease at mind on those long road trips.
For its size the Megane isn’t as heavy as you’d think, clocking in with a kerb weight of 1,321kg it’s able to make do with a much smaller engine as well. The 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is able to push out 97kW at 5,500 rpm and hits its peak 205Nm of torque at 2,000rpm, making the Megane responsive and drivable around town with the ability to summon enough grunt to get high speed overtakes done with effort. Cog swapping falls to the 7-speed dual clutch clutch transmission which puts a standard slushbox auto to shame. The transmission cycles through the gears with ease and a rapidity not found in a CVT and works a treat at both comfortable speeds and when making haste, the only down side would be slight roughness on down shifts but you’ll barely notice it.
Tiny engines mean tiny fuel bills and that rings true for the Megane as well, I managed 7.5L/100km against the factory rated 6.1L/100km figure while making several attempts at a zero star eco rating. The light weight also benefits the handling with a responsive turn in and a fairly firm ride, definitely more on the sporty side than comfort.
The electric-assisted steering rack is very light and provides little feedback, it can be firmed up by adjusting the drive profiles but this ends up with a slightly heavier and equally vague feel. The drive profiles can be adjusted completely allowing ambience lighting, instrument gauge, steering wheel resistance, throttle and gearbox settings to be mixed and matched for your preferred configuration.
The range-topping Intens spec Megane is host to a solid assortment of technological toys for both convenience and more importantly, safety. The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) includes Lane Departure Warning, Distance Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and the Advanced Emergency Braking System. The Lane Departure Warning system can be sensitive at times giving quite a few false positives and the cruise control buttons are split between the centre console and the wheel making it a pain to toggle between speed limited or active cruise. And then there’s the key fob, it’s the same size as a bar of soap cut in half and you can’t hook it onto a key ring which is fine for those with a handbag to drop it into but as a man it’s irritating.
The remaining list of toys include Side Parking Sensors, the Easy Park Assist system, 18″ alloy wheels, 8.7 inch R-LINK 2 navigation and multimedia system, MULTI-SENSE personalised driver modes with mood lighting, electric sunroof, LED headlights and reversing camera. The 3D sound system is above average but not amazing as it lacks the range and separation of audio found in higher end units. Renault has also used the sound system to beef up the engine noise artificially when using the Sport drive mode, it’s surprisingly convincing but no substitute for the real deal.
Design and Comfort: 7.0/10
Performance and Handling: 7.0/10
Equipment and Features: 8.0/10
Well priced, well featured and an attractive 5 year warranty package with roadside assistance makes the Megane a very tempting look if you’re willing to take the gamble on build quality. As I write this I’m driving another Renault and it has absolutely no build quality issues, so we know for a fact Renault can build cars well when they choose to but for the Megane Sedan they missed the mark and for those looking to buy you’d do well to take it on a very rigorous test drive to make sure you snap up one of the good ones.
- Sporty handling
- Well priced with 5 year warranty
- Good fuel economy
- Build quality lacking
- Big key fob
- Speed guage intervals are wrong
2018 Renault Megane Sedan Intens Pricing and Specification
|Price (Excl. on-road costs):||From: $33,990
As tested: $34,590
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometers
5 Year Roadside Assistance
|Country of Origin:||Turkey|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/30,000km|
|Engine:||1.2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine
97kW @ 5,500rpm, 205Nm @ 2,000rpm
|Transmission:||Sports Automatic Dual Clutch|
|Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):||75.4|
|0-100km/h (s)||Claimed: 10.9|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 6.1 / Tested: 7.5|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||47|
|Body:||4-door sedan, 5 seats|
|Safety:||5-star EuroNCAP, 8 Airbags, Antilock Brakes (ABS), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Brake Assist (BA), Reverse Camera, Forward Collision Mitigation (high/low speed), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Traction Control System (TCS)|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4630/1814/1434/2711|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,321|
|Entertainment:||8.7-inch Infotainment System, 8-speaker 3D Sound by Arkamys, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, USB and AUX, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay|