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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

Much like rival solutions, the CMF platform is a modular architecture designed to underpin a range of different front-engined vehicles of varying sizes.

The platform is based around five interchangeable modules: cockpit, engine bay, front underbody, rear underbody and the electrical systems.

In the Mégane, I struggle for rear foot and knee room. I’m not truly comfy in the driver’s seat, either

Versatility is at the heart of this technology, as well as the standardisation of out-of-view components between apparently different models within the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The Mégane’s underpinnings – codenamed CMF-C/D – are not only shared with the similar-sized Kadjar and the Nissan Qashqai but also the bigger Espace and Talisman.

Allied to the platform is a conventional hatchback chassis of front MacPherson struts and a torsion beam behind.

Independent rear suspension (favoured by a number of rivals) can be combined with CMF, but it is offered exclusively with four-wheel-drive models, none of which currently features in the Mégane line-up. Which doesn’t necessarily mean the car wants for innovation: the range-topping warmed-up GT model, fettled by Renault Sport, includes 4Control, the segment’s first four-wheel steering system.

Elsewhere, the suspension has been revised, with particular attention paid to the dampers, bump-stops and bushings.

The steering is electrically powered and claimed to be more precise now, thanks to the elimination of rubber mountings between the subframe and body.

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Measured from the outside, the Mégane has become usefully bigger. Overall length has increased by 64mm, while the gain at the wheelbase is 28mm. (The difference is accounted for by a longer front overhang; the rear actually shrinks by 21mm.)

The car is lower and wider, too, sporting what Renault claims are the widest tracks in the segment. The new proportions are intended to make the model a more balanced prospect visually, although the Mégane does seem rather crowded by the thrusting family-look front end. It is a honed and more contemporary presence, but not necessarily a more harmonious one. 

The engine choice is more black and white. From launch, there are only four to choose from, and none is entirely new. The unit tested – the omnipresent 108bhp 1.5 dCi diesel – is the most venerable of the lot, having been recycled through Renaults and Nissans for much of the decade. The other oil-burner offered – the 128bhp 1.6 dCi – is newer but no less familiar.

Likewise the 128bhp 1.2 TCe, which underpins a petrol line-up topped out by the 202bhp 1.6-litre turbo motor exclusive to the GT. A seven-speed EDC dual-clutch automatic gearbox is standard on the GT and optional with the 1.2 TCe 130, while the 1.5 dCi can be had with a six-speed EDC, although a six-speed manual is standard in most cases.

A diesel-electric hybrid and a 163bhp 1.6-litre twin-turbo diesel engine is set to join the range, as will it appear in the new Scenic and Grand Scenic.