There is surprisingly little that this new Renault Megane actually does wrong. There are the usual gripes and niggles, but no howling errors or omissions. Indeed, the only thing it cries out for is a means of distinguishing itself from the pack.

Quality is a real strong point, and the value it offers (from the discounted purchase price, through the level of equipment on offer, to the running costs) are all tempting. Just make sure the up-front discounts go some way to making up for the hefty depreciation.

Nothing less than real flair and talent almost across the board will do the job

In the modern era, and particularly if you’re unfortunate enough to have to attempt to share shelf space with the Ford Focus or Hyundai i30 simply being an inoffensive, moderately able but entirely undistinguished class player is nowhere near good enough.

Expectations in this class have rocketed to such an extent than nothing less than real flair and talent almost across the board will do the job. It’s a standard Ford and Volkswagen have embraced for some time, while even Hyundai has recently recognised and reached it. For Renault, however, more work than this Megane represents will need to be done before it can join them – it’s short of space and dynamic flair.

The Renault Mégane Renaultsport is a different kettle of fish, though. Even in Cup form this is a more mature, less brutish hot hatch than ever. And on initial inspection it is easy to confuse this maturity for a lack of soul. But that would be a mistake. Because get it on the right road (or better still a track) and the maturity melts away to reveal a hot hatch that is intimate, confidence-inspiring and exceptionally talented.

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