What is it?
The third generation of Renault’s Mégane is coming up to its third birthday, and it’s hardly controversial to say that during that time it hasn’t really set the new car market on fire.
This very mainstream five-door hatchback lacks the dramatic looks of the three-door, and it rolls on standard-issue MacPherson struts and a beam axle. Renault isn’t selling the car on the strength of its dynamic performance or looks, however. This Mégane has been endowed with some considerable practical strengths instead – not least a EuroNCAP crash test score of 37 points out of 37 and a comprehensive list of safety kit.
What's it like?
Inside, the interior is nicely sculpted, there’s lots of finely detailed switchgear and excellent, supportive seats.
However, the main reason for our return to the Mégane is the introduction of Renault’s all-new EDC dual-clutch transmission, mated to the familiar 1.5-litre diesel engine (a new version of the EDC will be needed to deal with the extra torque generated by the firm’s next-generation 1.6-litre diesel). The EDC works in the same way as established DSG gearboxes, with one clutch for odd-numbered ratios and one for evens. Renault claims a shift time of 290 milliseconds and combined fuel economy down 4.5mpg on that of the same engine with a manual ’box.
Despite our best efforts to catch out the EDC, it remained slick and smooth. It also worked well with this motor – something that can’t always be taken for granted in a small-capacity diesel. This engine is, by the way, pleasingly refined, flexible and most undiesel-like.
Should I buy one?
The main message, though, is that the new EDC drivetrain is impressive.
Renault Megane 1.5 DCI EDC
Price as tested with EDC: £19,995; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 11.7sec; Economy: 64.2mpg (combined); CO2: 114g/km; Kerb weight: 1215kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1461cc, turbodiesel; Power: 109bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch auto