From £15,920
Latest Megane variant is a more than decent Volkswagen Eos rival

Our Verdict

Renault Megane
It's hard to make a case for any of the non-sporting Megane range

The Renault Megane looks bland, and it's not that good to drive either

25 May 2010

What is it?

Renault Megane CC is the latest model in the Megane family. Canvas roofs may have made a comeback at the premium end of the convertible market, but here Renault has opted a for folding glass hard-top made by Karmann that has the benefits of looking good and allowing plenty of light into the cabin when closed, but carries a significant 110kg weight penalty.

In all, after chassis modifications, the CC is 160kg heavier than the equivalent Megane hatchback. Standard spec includes a built-in Carminat TomTom sat-nav.

What's it like?

If you accept the compromise you're always going to make by taking the top off a car (Porsche Boxster, excepted) then the new Renault Coupe-Cabriolet is a remarkably comfortable and competent machine. To say rear space is at a premium would be understating the lack of accommodation behind the driver, but up front you're treated very well.

With the lid up, the glass roof and big rear window let in plenty of sunlight and what you see, in design terms, looks very pleasant, with the exception of the TomTom sat-nav which sits at the top of the centre console in a housing that bears no resemblance to the rest of the interior design. It worked well, albeit with out-of-date maps, though you could argue that the benefits of a TomTom are lost if it's hardwired and you can't remove/replace it.

The diesel unit produces 158bhp at 3750rpm, and a good spread of torque from low in the rev range. It most situations you can expect it to pull comfortably from 1200rpm in third or fourth, which makes for relaxed driving, as does the well-isolated engine note.

Dynamically the CC feels stable at high speed (and surprisingly quiet with the roof down and the wind deflector up), and the body control is pretty good considering its pliant ride. We'll have to delay judgement on the finer details of the ride for the UK launch as there wasn't a hint of pothole or broken surface on the three-hour test route.

The thick-rimmed wheel is easy to grip, and the electric power steering provides a consistent weighting as you apply more lock, though it feels a little artificial as you wind it back and straighten up. The CC responds steadily rather than quickly to steering inputs, with a fair degree of understeer, and you soon find out why. The extra weight at the back of the car (open the boot and you'll see a huge hydraulic damping piston and a forest of levers and hinges) means that it gets quite lively as soon as the front begins to bite. That means that in committed driving you can find that the attitude of the car changes pretty rapidly, though never dangerously.

Should I buy one?

The Megane CC is nearest in character to the Volkswagen Eos, particularly because of the appealing interior design and folding glass roof. If you're tempted to buy the VW, then you should definitely test drive the Renault first.

Compare the CC with a broader group of rivals, such as the Ford Focus or VW Golf, and enthusiastic drivers may find that the dynamic compromises of a folding hard-top (glass or not) are less easy to justify.

Ed Keohane

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Comments
17

25 May 2010

Pics look remarkably similar to the old one!!!!

25 May 2010

[quote julianphillips]Pics look remarkably similar to the old one!!!![/quote]

my sentiments exactly!

25 May 2010

Has someone in the photo department lost the plot?

25 May 2010

I never quite see the point of these cars. If you're single then a TT or similar would suffice. If you have friends then you'll want a Volvo C70. But in between is the Eos, Beetle, and stuff like this Megane. The rear seats are only good for children, so I don't see the point - as it appeals to a tiny sector of the market (divorcees with two small kids and no friends). Despite doing a few miles, I rarely see an Eos.

25 May 2010

[quote golfman]I never quite see the point of these cars.[/quote] As someone who owned two of the previous generation Megane CCs, I can say that they are fine for people who are married with 1 or 2 young kids. That way the couple can go for a drive with the roof down and still have the kids go with them. The two seat only cars are no good for a young family since one member would have to stay behind with the children.

With the roof up, the Megane CC boot is enormous. This makes it a surprisingly practical car. Load up your stuff, go on holiday - dump it at the hotel, and go for a drive with the roof down.

Of course it helps if you're not very tall. I am only 5'5 and it's perfect for me.

26 May 2010

[quote Autocar]

What is it?


Renault Megane CC is the latest model in the Megane family. Canvas roofs may have made a comeback at the premium end of the convertible market, but here Renault has opted a for folding glass hard-top made by Karmann that has the benefits of looking good and allowing plenty of light into the cabin when closed, but carries a significant 110kg weight penalty.


In all, after chassis modifications, the CC is 160kg heavier than the equivalent Megane hatchback. Standard ...Read the full article

[/quote] How much? Did you mean £16,000? Surely not BMW money for a R nault?

26 May 2010

I totally agree. As someone with 2 small kids, I have been looking at one of these (perhaps older model even) ever since my MX5 was finally sold last year. With the kids in the back and it's a nice day out, or just with the wife it's a nice evening out. Win-win. Not looking to race anyone, or find the edge of its sporting limits, just a nice drive that the kids can enjoy too. With age and kids the game has changed. So must the car!

26 May 2010

I appreciate what you're saying, but at some point you're going to want to drive that couple - who you are friends with - to the pub for the evening, or even the beach for the day. At such times these cars are just not up to it. I know, because I had one - and we had to sell it. If you want decent top-down motoring then it has to be the Volvo - even the BMW3 and the Audi aren't big enough. I love the Eos (although expensive) and just wish it was a bit bigger. The USA had a decent cabriolet in the Chrysler Sebring http://www.automedia.com/NewCarBuyersGuide/photo/2006/Chrysler/Sebring/Convertibles/ - which never came here.

26 May 2010

[quote golfman]but at some point you're going to want to drive that couple - who you are friends with - to the pub for the evening[/quote] I currently drive a two seater and find it a positive that I don't end up as a Taxi. I would much rather be driven to the pub and have a drink than the other way round. I'm not completely selfish as we do have 10+ pubs and restaurants in walking distance. For all other rare occasions like going to the beach (I live near Brum) you can always use the wife's people carrier. Unfortunately the two seater must go have two children, two Labrador and wife back in work in August.

26 May 2010

[quote golfman]at some point you're going to want to drive that couple - who you are friends with - to the pub for the evening, or even the beach for the day.[/quote]

Where does that line of reasoning end? At some point, you're going to want to move that wardrobe that sits in the back bedroom? At some point, you're going to have to carry granny's coffin to the crem because she didn't pay her Co-op premiums? At some point, that abrasive family you've avoided for so long are going to turn up with their 4 kids and demand that all ten of you go to the Peak District to try out their new mountain bikes?

A LWB Transit minibus awaits all of us, heaven portend.

If you don't see the point of the car, you don't have to buy it. You don't even have to consider it. Surely, that people have assessed their needs differently to you and have happily settled on a car you felt did not fulfil your requirements is not such a difficult thing to acknowledge.

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