The new Mégane is less rounded than we expected, although it has evidently come a long way on material cabin sophistication, with the technological appeal of its infotainment, and is plainly more desirable than any of its predecessors.

Renault may argue that, between its sports-suspended, higher-powered GT models and its more laid-back lower-rung variants, it has all tastes covered with the new Mégane. But it’s not enough for only the sporty models to be engaging to drive.

Classier and more refined than before but still far from complete

We expect stronger and more flexible performance and broader-batted handling than this from a mature European hatchback.

We expect handling panache as well as typically Gallic ride suppleness. And we don’t expect packaging compromises.

Having at least addressed the prevailing standards on interior quality, richness and equipment level (and done a good job on styling), Renault has in too many ways neglected to add engineering substance to this car, which drives more like an old Mégane in new clothes than a car truly fit for the next decade.

That means it misses a top five ranking – falling behind the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Seat Leon, Vauxhall Astra and Mazda 3.

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