31 October 2014
Renault’s trusty Mégane has been around in various incarnations since the mid ‘90s, with the current New Mégane range, Coupé included, introduced to the world at the ’08 Paris Motor Show. There’s no doubt that this latest Coupé looks a whole lot slinkier than its immediate predecessor, but might it be a case of style over substance?
With engines ranging from the humble 86hp 1.5dCi to the mighty 250hp Renaultsport version, performance is a matter of what you’re prepared to spend. I drove the middle-to-upper ranking 130hp 1.9dCi which produces a handy 222lb/ft of torque at a lowly 1,750rpm. This recently revised turbodiesel is mated to a six-speed manual and offers more than adequate, though not blinding performance. Useful acceleration isn’t dependent on being in exactly the correct gear, and given enough throttle this Coupé feels brisk (0-62mph in 9.5secs) while its 130mph top speed is for German autobahns only.
According to Renault: ‘The New Mégane Coupé uses a more dynamic Sports chassis than the Hatch for an even more rewarding driving experience. The springs are stiffer, as are the front and rear dampers, while the car’s centre of gravity is 112mm lower. In contrast, my own notes state, ‘Tidy driver – not overtly sporty, but capable’, and that pretty much sums it up. It rides comfortably and it steers and corners safely and predictably, but this front-wheel drive Coupé can’t be described as a particularly sporty handler as it does roll a little in bends, its steering response isn’t electric and it’s grip isn’t limitless.
Build and reliability is very much dependent on the modernity of the factory where the car is built and the production methods used. New Méganes are built at Renault’s recently-modernised Palencia plant in Spain which, in addition to its 2,720 staff, also employs a many up-to-the-minute production techniques along with 450 robots in the bodyshop alone. However, neither the model nor its maker score highly in customer satisfaction surveys; the Mégane coming 72nd out of 100 with Renault 22nd out of 28 in the ’08 JD Power leagues. That said, I had a good poke about and could find nothing tacky or amiss.
Renault is rightly proud that its previous Mégane II hatch was the first car in its class to be awarded a 5-star rating in the Euro NCAP programme – a score that the latest Mégane upheld by achieving a maximum 37 points out of 37 in the crash tests. Equipment includes: ABS with EBD, ESP with ASR, Brake Assist, two-stage adaptive anti-submarining airbags, front lateral plus front and rear curtain airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, keyless entry with hands-free Renault Card, remote central locking, a Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser, ISOFIX rear seat mounts and an anti-intruder device.
Arguably this is where the sleek New Mégane Coupé either sinks or swims. It’s pretty much a given that space and comfort in the front are both good, but if it was a struggle to get into the back, or if once in the back there were uncomfy seats along with restricted head and legroom, then it would be a case of form triumphing over function. Happliy, this is not so. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my 6ft frame could sit comfortably in the rear, along with another similar-sized adult and even a small child if needs be. The 344-litre boot (extending to 991-litres) is a good size too, and there’s front underfloor storage.
The on-the-road price of the dCi 130 Coupé in Dynamique trim is £19,035. For that you get a 4x15w RDS radio/CD audio system with Bluetooth, auto headlights and wipers, aircon, leather steering wheel trim, front fog lights, cruise control, a trip computer, 16-in Sport alloys, extra-tinted windows and more. Fuel consumption is a very thrifty 55.4mpg (combined), and with CO2 at 134g/km that means VED band E (£120). With a 10E insurance grouping there’s a 3yr/60,000m warranty along with 2yr/18,000m oil change intervals. All in all, this New Mégane Coupé is a tempting proposition for those who want style with almost no sacrifice.
Submitted: 05/06/2009 14:00:33
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