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A minor facelift doesn't alter the Megane's looks dramatically but equally doesn't fix some of the car's handling gripes
2 December 2020

What is it?

This is not one of those facelifts where all your neighbours will be able to tell you’ve bought the updated Renault Mégane. Not unless you’ve opted for one of the three new colours available, at any rate. (For info, these are Solar Copper, Baltic Grey and Highland Grey.) Other tweaks run to full-LED lighting as standard across both trim levels, a redesigned front bumper, dynamic air deflectors and indicators, and door handle lighting. The C-shaped headlights remain and help ensure you can definitely tell it’s a Renault. None of it's dramatic, but then the Mégane wasn’t an ugly thing to begin with.

There are a few more changes inside. We’re told quality has been upped (it all certainly feels well screwed down) and there’s a new 10.0in TFT dashboard screen on the top-spec RS Line. The Iconic trim gets a smaller, 7.0in one. As you’d expect, the TFT screen makes the dashboard display much more adaptable, so you can cycle through a myriad of options depending on your mood.

These are all determined by whichever MultiSense setting you’re in (more on that in a tick), but it won’t come as a surprise to learn that Sport gets a big rev counter, while Comfort majors on the sat-nav display. Both trims also get updated vertical touchscreens - 9.3in for the RS Line, 7.0in for the Iconic.

Crucially, though, Renault has added in some actual buttons so that it’s now easier to control the air conditioning. A welcome addition. The materials and look of it have also been sharpened up and any smartphone is easily connected as standard. It’s certainly a pleasant environment, with enough subtle highlights to make it feel different from rivals.

 

What's it like?

Open the door for the first time and you’re greeted with a set of bucket seats that wouldn’t feel out of place on the full fat RS version. They grip you well, but feel a bit incongruous on a standard family hatch. Still, the turbocharged petrol engine is quiet and responsive above 2000rpm (a PHEV will be coming to the hatch next year), while the suspension noiselessly gets on with isolating the cabin from the worst of the outside world.

The car is definitely tuned more for comfort than handling. Bumps are absorbed well, but grip levels aren’t top drawer and the chassis occasionally has a weird shimmy over mid-corner crests. It’s not dramatic, more a question of being a bit unsettling.

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It’s not helped by the steering, which lacks a smooth transition from dead-ahead to turn-in. It means you can’t drive with the confidence engendered by, say, a Ford Focus, because the Mégane isn’t as easy to place on the road.

In theory, MultiSense allows you to alter the steering weight, as well as a few other settings such as throttle response, exhaust note, TFT screen and interior lighting, but it all feels a bit marketing led. No amount of stabbing the touchscreen changes the steering enough to transform it.

 

Should I buy one?

The minor facelift doesn’t alter what was already a pretty tidy-looking car, but nor does it do enough to shift the Mégane to the top of the class. The chassis remains comfort focused - not necessarily a bad thing, but unlike with Ford and the Focus, it doesn’t have that duality of handling/comfort for when you do want to press on. It all feels like a missed opportunity - something to look at when it comes to the all-new car.

 

 

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xxxx 2 December 2020

9 point 4 seconds to 62, this is now the fatest megane manual. Whatever happened to choice.