Somewhat less impressive than its longevity is the sales volume, an area in which – the occasional spike in popularity notwithstanding – the model has consistently trailed Ford’s global champion.
It’s a similar story when compared with the long-term success of the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, highlighting just how difficult it is to break out of the also-ran mould in a segment well stocked with household names.
Renault has occasionally been guilty of not helping itself.
Another tradition of the past two decades is Renault’s habit of reskinning its hatchback without dramatically altering the running gear.
Under the first generation, for example, was essentially the old Renault 19’s chassis.
The outgoing Mégane was built on a modified (that is, bigger) version of its predecessor’s architecture, too.
Around it, the manufacturer promises a more sophisticated product. The car is again claimed to be significantly larger than the one it replaces. It is also substantially different in appearance, as Renault moves toward the house style already shown on the new Espace and Talisman (both unseen in the UK).