Latest engine injects new life into Renault's hatch

What is it?

This is Renault’s C-segment contender, the third generation Megane hatcback.

No surprises so far, but we drive it here fitted for the first time with the TCe 130 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. We’ve already sampled the 128bhp, 140lb ft unit in the new Grand Scenic, where it impressed us with its effective, efficient combination of performance and economy.

It should fare even better in the smaller, lighter Megane.

What’s it like?

Talking purely in terms of the new engine, it’s really rather good.

Renault claims that the downsized, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol motor has the power of a 1.8-litre engine and the torque of a 2.0-litre. As bold as those claims might sound, in practice it’s a refined, brisk and lively performer, and surprisingly flexible, too.

Useful torque isn’t an attribute one would historically associate with smaller capacity petrol engines, but that’s progress for you. Around town it’s particularly lively, and on the open road is a satisfying engine to get the best out of. And all this comes with a combined economy figure of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 156g/km.

The rest of the Megane is now familiar territory. The Megane handles well and the ride is mostly good, although somewhere shy of the class leaders and their fully independent rear suspension set-ups.

The steering, however, will split opinion. Some will like its feather-lightness; those looking for a more involving drive will bemoan the lack of feel and communication on offer.

In upper-middle class Dynamique trim the cabin is comfortable and well-equipped, with a decent driving position and largely well-executed controls.

Our test car was also fitted with the new TomTom-developed integrated sat-nav system, which is being rolled out as an option across Renault’s range. At £450 it’s more than £1000 cheaper than the integrated system that was previously an option in the Megane. A bargain.

Should I buy one?

Possibly. In a class led by the Focus and Golf, anything less than exemplary can appear somewhat mediocre, but the frugal, sparky TCe motor injects a playful edge into the Megane package.

Whether that’s enough to tempt buyers away from the dynamically superior Ford or VW is arguable, but this smaller petrol-engined option has raised the Megane’s game.

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Old Toad 11 November 2009

Re: Renault Megane 1.4 TCe

Do you know what I think the whole small hatch sector is overflowing with blandness. So much so that come the time to change my car I wont be having any of em. I'm definitely interested in " something different " . A second hand Skoda Yeti is top of the list so far.

I mean the Yeti is pratical , different , and fresh in an honest sort of way. Most likely will be reliable and above all I will be able to see out of it . Can anybody name a small hatch with decent visibility these days that isn't bland either.

Whaddyathink ?

J400uk 9 November 2009

Re: Renault Megane 1.4 TCe

PhilM4000 wrote:
I don't understand why makers list these prices then instantly discount very significantly to the extent you have no idea if you are getting a good deal. Only a few marques resist.

Completely agree. I don't see the point of it at all, especially given that the list price has some impact on company car tax etc.

Ford and Vauxhal seem to be the worse offenders, discounting the list price by as much as 50% in some cases. VW is generally 10% off list, and they tend to hold onto value the best, wonder why...

PhilM4000 9 November 2009

Re: Renault Megane 1.4 TCe

J400uk wrote:
Just so you know, when the Golf MK6 came out,the list prices were cheaper than the Focus model-for-model, and still are.
Golf must have been the first one I noticed, my mistake. I don't understand why makers list these prices then instantly discount very significantly to the extent you have no idea if you are getting a good deal. Only a few marques resist.