From £16,5506
Diesel Mégane has its charms but final specifications and pricing, due in summer 2016, will decide its true appeal

Our Verdict

Renault Megane Dynamique Nav S

New platform, fresh looks and a better cabin raise its game. Is it now a front runner?

What is it?

It's a diesel version of the recently revealed fourth-generation Renault Mégane.

Next generation Renault Megane Sports Tourer unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow

Unlike the hotter GT version tested recently, which was replete with a 202bhp turbocharged petrol engine, dual-clutch automatic transmission and four-wheel steering, this is a more conventional affair.

Behind that distinctive new nose you'll find a 1.6-litre diesel engine, badged Energy dCi 130, which drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. 

There's no trick four-wheel steer system here, which saves a little weight. Like the GT, however, it packs all-round disc brakes, MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the back.

It's likely to prove a more popular choice in the new range thanks to its low claimed emissions and fuel consumption - prominent factors for many a hatchback buyer, and of even more concern to company car drivers.

The 1.6-litre diesel reputedly emits 103g/km of CO2, for example. That means annual VED of just £20 and low company car tax. Fuel economy is similarly impressive, with a stated average of 70.6mpg. As always, though, your real-world figures may vary.

What's it like?

Key to the success of a hatchback is its ease of use. Anything that's finickity, a chore to drive or an ergonomic nightmare immediately drops down the class order, never to be seen in the best-seller lists again. Fortunately, the Renault has no major failings on this front.

Head out onto the road and you'll find it a fairly sweet-steering, smooth-riding hatchback. Sure, there's not a great deal of feedback through the wheel, but it's got plenty of grip and a tight turning circle.

The 1.6-litre diesel outputs a useful 129bhp and 236lb ft and, when you deploy all of that in earnest, it'll propel the Mégane from 0-62mph in 10.0sec. Decent in-gear pull makes motorway and cross-country work relatively effortless, too.

It's not the most refined diesel on the market, with a gruff note emanating through the bulkhead when loaded up or extended to its limits, but it's otherwise unobtrusive enough. Similarly, the six-speed manual 'box isn't the slickest around.

What is good is that it appears, in the real world, to be a frugal choice. Despite a wide mix of conditions and speeds on our test route, it returned 47mpg without effort. That would grant a 480-mile range on one tank.

Likewise, in terms of being a good hatchback, the Renault stacks up quite well inside. It's comfortable, there's lots of space both front and rear and its boot is bigger than that of a Volkswagen Golf. Practicality is bolstered further by big door pockets, a sensibly sized glovebox and myriad storage points.

Fit and finish is decent, too, with the only real detraction being some noticeable wind and suspension noise when on the move. The large tablet-like touchscreen is a little hit and miss, though. It looks smart and presents information clearly, but it can be reluctant to respond at times. It's likely to be an option on most models, mind, only appearing as standard on the flagship trims.

Should I buy one?

Initial impressions suggest that the new Mégane has the potential to at least stand up as a decent alternative to the established mainstream alternatives.

After all, it feels well built, is easy to drive and comfortable. To be a really viable contender in such a crowded and hotly contested market, however, it'll have to be priced and specified correctly, too.

Renault, at the moment, is suggesting that the diesel Mégane range will start at around £18k, with a model featuring this 130 dCi engine costing some £20k.

Consequently, with that engine and a decent amount of kit, it'll be put into contention with the likes of the super-slick Audi A3 and well-equipped versions of the Ford Focus, among many others. That'll be a tough battle to win.

If the Mégane ends up offering good equipment levels and lower monthly PCP costs, or lower list prices outright, then it could prove to be a more commendable choice.

2016 Renault Mégane Energy dCi 130 review

Location Cascais, Portugal; Price £20,000; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, diesel; Power 129bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1318kg; Top speed 123mph; 0-62mph 10.0sec; Economy 70.6mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 103g/km, 15%

Join the debate

Comments
11

16 December 2015
Looks outdated already and IMHO the shape is just plain 'awkward' especially the back end. Oh and I'm no fan of low down Sat Nav's either.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

16 December 2015
There was an opportunity to be bold and take inspiration from twingo and it's rear drive layout. If rear drive is such a good idea why not take advantage and engineer a rear engined megane ? It would have given Renault a unique vehicle in this segment. An opportunity missed ?

16 December 2015
Andrew 61 wrote:

There was an opportunity to be bold and take inspiration from twingo and it's rear drive layout. If rear drive is such a good idea why not take advantage and engineer a rear engined megane ? It would have given Renault a unique vehicle in this segment. An opportunity missed ?

The Twingo was engineered with Smart so it made more economic sense. AFAIK, the Megane shares bits with Nissan, so rear-drive wouldn't have been feasible here. Get us back to the glory days of the 2002 Megane, I say... I still believe that car revolutionised car design when everything was beginning to look the same... that and the Micra from the same year.


"Work hard and be nice to people"

16 December 2015
...who thinks that the dashboard is very Volvo-esque? And no, that's not a good thing in a French car.

16 December 2015

Indeed, in the hot version test it was "just" bigger than the Golf, but on this one "its boot is bigger than the Golf". Is that 4 litres bigger (in both cases)? Perhaps, more importantly, the Mégane has a significant 68 litres more boot space than key rival, the Focus.

I would be interested to know the rationale for Renault using the 1.6 engine in this model. I thought the 1.5 was acknowledged as the sweeter one to have, and even more economical too? Pleasing to see the mpg in context put in this article (thanks, Lewis!).

16 December 2015
It looks great from the front 3/4 angle and rear 3/4 angle. Side on, though, it looks positively frumpy. The dashboard may get comparisons to the new XC90, but that touch screen looks nowhere near as user-friendly or convenient, especially for driving on the move. I'm getting more and more convinced that systems like Mazda, BMW and Audi are using, are the way forwards - not touch screens.


"Work hard and be nice to people"

17 December 2015
it looks extremely competent and not unpleasant to look at. in fact it's handsome. But the real problem for the French firm is there's nothing OUTSTANDING...which you just must have in this bracket. Well all markets segments I guess. Audi had its interiors/perceived QC...Ford have driver involvement, Kia etc have value...Renault have...er...well...that's harder to define and THAT's a real problem. Find that Renault ( and it can't just be the usual gallic default 'style' ) and you will succeed again.

japester

17 December 2015
it looks extremely competent and not unpleasant to look at. in fact it's handsome. But the real problem for the French firm is there's nothing OUTSTANDING...which you just must have in this bracket. Well all markets segments I guess. Audi had its interiors/perceived QC...Ford have driver involvement, Kia etc have value...Renault have...er...well...that's harder to define and THAT's a real problem. Find that Renault ( and it can't just be the usual gallic default 'style' ) and you will succeed again.

japester

21 December 2015
It's about time that Autocar's review reflect that we all know that emission tests are pure fiction. It's no longer enough to say: "The 1.6-litre diesel reputedly emits 103g/km of CO2, for example. That means annual VED of just £20 and low company car tax. Fuel economy is similarly impressive, with a stated average of 70.6mpg. As always, though, your real-world figures may vary."

It needs to be something more like: "Of course, your real-life usage of the car will not match these figures". Autocar gives the impression that we could possibly get 70.6mpg ("your real-world figures may vary") when we all know that this would be practically impossible.

The best that can be said for the current tests is that they provide a measure for comparison between cars. The absolute figures, on the other hand, are meaningless.

22 December 2015
I think Lewis has gone as near as he can to the wire of publishing disbelief of the official figures. There are so many caveats in there, the reader is left in little doubt. But as he points out, the tax etc incentives are there, and this may be of some attraction. The key figure for me was the 47mpg achieved without effort. That sounds like real world enough.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK