Advantages Economic, well equipped, good handling, spacious, comfortable, reliable, good value
Disadvantages Very sharp brakes, turbo lag
I have been driving my Megane since September 2003, and I find it a thoroughly enjoyable car to drive, as do most other people who have driven it.The Megane that I am doing a review on is the Megane 1.5DCi 80bhp Dynamique 5-door hatchback with climate control and MP3 player in addition. I have test driven a few different models and will give as much information about them as I can.
The Exterior at first glance:When people first look at this car, they either love it or hate it. The back is very different from conventional (and I use this word carefully) car shapes, and tends to take people by surprise in the first instance. I hated it at first, and then it slowly grew on me. The lights are well set out with the high-mounted brake light being very visible to other drivers. The rear window is vertical and rounded slightly. I believe this is to accomodate the very generous head-room for the rear seats. The front of the car is very smart with good lights which provide excellent visibility at night.
Slight disadvantage: The rear wiper is quite small and only cleans about 1/3rd of the rear window, you get used to it and its only a slight disadvantage.The Interior at first glance:
The car is easy to get into, even if you are freakishly tall like my 6'3". The cockpit like design focuses its attention on the driver, and makes you feel in control. The clean lines of the dashboard give an excellent field of vision to the front. The U-shaped aircraft throttle style handbrake is very different, and is quite tactile and easy to use. The instrument visor and even the instrument surrounds themselves are finished in Satin chrome. The steering wheel is adjustable and leather covered for an excellent grip. There are many storage places and the seat is very comfortable. When I first sat in the car and adjusted the steering wheel, seat and mirrors to my personal preferences, I realised that I was sitting very comfortably and everything was in reach. That made a change from other vehicles I have driven! Big Plus Point! The car is very spacious and everything seems designed around ease and comfort of passengers. The headrests are in just the right place, as are the arm rests. The middle rear passenger seat drops down into an arm rest which again opens up into a drinks holding tray, with pen and paper holders as well... very snazzy! The boot is very spacious and I could get my full set of golf clubs and the trolley into it, and leave space for another set as well, plus other small items. A real treat was starting the car. There is no key. Instead you have a card which inserts into a slot, and then you depress the clutch and press the start/stop button. After a 1 second gap which I believe was for the heater, the engine started smoothly. Very flash!Disadvantages: The seatbelts are a little difficult to get into their slots, which are quite low.
First Drive:I then took the car for its first drive, and was pleasantly surprised. The diesel engine was smooth and responsive, although there was a small amount of turbo lag. There was plenty of power there as well for getting out of tight spots, and hills and slopes were a breeze. I rarely had to drop a gear except for very steep and long slopes. The handling was very good and the steering was sharp and responsive. Good turning radius as well, I managed a three point in a very tight spot where I didnt expect to succeed. The brakes are extremely sharp, and if you are planning to drive one of these, my advice would be to test the brakes a few times till you get used to the extreme stopping power. The details of the brakes are set out in the specifications below. There was good view all round and the mirrors are electrically adjustable, which helps. Parking this car is very easy, and the power steering is very easy to turn whilst the car is stationary. I am told the steering has variable assistance power, which adjusts itself to your speed and helps with parking... I believe it! The car seems to be full of sensors and it does little things which you don't expect, but get used to very gratefully. The rear wiper wipes intermittently when reverse is engaged, the lights come on at dusk, or when the light diminishes enough during the day (useful when you drive into a dark under-cover car park) and go off again when the light returns, the front wipers are rain-sensitive and come on at the necessary speed when it starts raining, the climate control comes with sunlight and temperature sensors to maintain the required temperature in the passenger compartment, the glove box has a space behind it for a large bottle of water and is cooled by the climate control, I could go on and on.
Safety:The Megane claims to offer equal protection to everyone on board.
Security:The Megane comes with a Thatcham 2 immobiliser and a Thatcham 1 alarm as standard. It also has RAID, which stops someone from opening the doors from the outside once the car is in motion. The keyless card system also has security features built into it, and without it, any thief would find it very difficult to steal this car.
Running costs:I was told that the Megane should average 61.4mpg overall. It hasnt done so yet, but as I drive it more, it seems that the engine is getting better and is currently averaging 60.3mpg with careful driving, which is very impressive. This means I can get 750 miles to a tank which holds 60 litres. It will average higher on long distance non-motorway driving, but inner city driving takes its toll on the economy. However, it has never dropped below 48.9 mpg and that was after a lot of motorway and inner city driving. The usual average is about 55mpg and I have done 8000 miles on it so far. The computer will warn you with a light and buzzer when the tank drops to the reserve level, and you still have about 70 odd miles left in the tank when this first happens. The computer keeps you informed on the following: Average MPG, Mileage remaining in tank, trip 1, miles to next service interval, Average MPH, trip 2 and total mileage and Fuel used so far.
The service interval is 18,000 miles which is very good for any car, and the car computer will let you know when a service is due.
Electric Panoramic Glass Sunroof with Sunblind & Auto Closure Function (optional)
Heat Reflecting Windscreen (optional, but standard with climate control)
Electric/Heated Body Coloured Door Mirrors
Electrically Folding Door Mirrors (optional)
16" Alloy Wheels
Headlamp Washers (optional)
Body Coloured Bumpers
Fuel Flap With Integrated F1 Style Fuel Cap
Satin Chrome Door Handles
Smart Rear Wiper
Flint Grey Finish to Front and Side Rubbing Strips which note model, e.g. DCi
Metallic Paint (optional)
Seating & Trim:
Driver's Seat with Height and Lumbar Adjustment
60:40 Split/Folding Rear Seats
3 Height Adjustable Rear Headrests
Leather Steering Wheel and Gear Knob
Leather Upholstery (ilo Cloth Upholstery- Optional)
'Ruche' Charcoal Grey Cloth Upholstery with Grey Accent
Electric Front & Rear Windows (One Touch)
Fully Adjustable Front Headrests
Heated Front Seats (optional)
Climate Control (optional)
Glove Box (Cooled by Air Conditioning)
Insurance Approved (Categroy 1) Alarm
R.A.I.D (Renault Anti Intruder Device)
Remote Central Locking
Thatcham Approved Engine Immobiliser
Insurance Approved Engine Immobiliser
4 x 15W Single CD RDS Radio with 6 Speakers & Fingertip Remote Control
Dash Mounted 6 CD Multi-Changer (optional)
4 x 50W MP3/CD Player RDS Radio with 6 Speakers & Removable Front Panel (optional)
Accessories available include:
Profile Roof Bars
Executive Carpet Mats
Elios ISOFIX Child Seat (From Birth to 9 Months)
Parking Proximity sensor
Engine & Performance:Number of Forward Gears 5
Fuel Tank – 60 LitresFuel Consumption
Steering Turning Circle Between Kerbs/Walls 10.50 metresEngine
0-62mph (0-100kph) 13.9
Maximum Speed - mph 106
The Megane comes in several models now:Models:
3-door Sport Hatch
5-door Touring (Estate)
1.4 Petrol 98
1.6 VVT Petrol 115
2.0 Petrol VVT 136 6-Speed
1.5 Dci 80
1.5 Dci 100
1.9 Dci 120 6-speed
Final Summary:To summarise, the Renault Megane DCi Dynamique is very well equipped, economic, has good handling, good grip and road holding, powerful brakes, good space and comfort and equipment, and is overall a very pleasant car to drive and own.
I have had no problems with it, and have recommended it to everyone who asks as an extremely good, small/mid-range family car.Note: I have taken the specifications from my car's manual and added comments as appropriate.
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