Review: Renault Megane (2016)
Excellent cabin quality, a superb (and massive) touchscreen infotainment setup, very well priced and equipped, surprisingly quiet diesel engines.
Lower specification models have a dull cabin, four-wheel steer can feel odd, GT model isn't very exciting.
Renault Megane (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £17,715, brokers can source from £14,461
- Contract hire deals from £187.24 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 14–27
- On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure
This fourth generation Renault Megane is the most evolutionary update Renault has ever given its family hatchback. The company plays things safer these days, aiming to avoid controversy and instead give buyers the sort of conservative solidity that makes the Volkswagen Golf so consistently popular. There's no backside-based advertising tomfoolery this time around.
The body is quite stunning - far better in real life than it photographs - but the interior doesn't quite follow suit. It does get better depending on how much you pay, though. A Megane in Dynamique+ spec or above is furnished with a delightful (and massive) 8.7-inch touchscreen in portrait orientation, similar to the one you’ll find in a Volvo XC90 or a Tesla. And unlike so many infotainment screens, this one is both pretty and easy to use.
Lower level Megane models make do with a smaller touchscreen, and the most basic get plain old-fashioned buttons. Imagine that. Thankfully the Megane gets the basics right. It has a highly adjustable seat and wheel, clear switchgear and low running costs. There’s a sense of solidity and quality inherent in the Megane that’s easily a match for the SEAT Leon – a family hatch that the Megane surpasses on the tech front too.
Options like a full colour head-up display, the aforementioned giant touchscreen, and four-wheel steering are things that a SEAT owner could only dream about, if he or she were so inclined. And even without that stuff, the entire driving experience is as refined and generally serene as you’d expect in a car the class above.
The range of engines is a demonstration of the gains being made generally in fuel efficiency - even the 205PS turbo engine of the GT model, which gets the car to 62mph in 7.1 seconds, emits just 134g/km of CO2. The 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre dCi units both put out just 96g/km CO2, returning averages of 76.4mpg and 68.9mpg respectively.
And so, equipped with one of the diesels and with a specification that includes the fancy media system, the Megane makes for a very reasonably priced hatchback with a modern look and feel. A solid car and a solid investment - very much like a Golf, but without being a Volkswagen. You’ve changed, Renault.
What does a Renault Megane (2016) cost?
Renault Megane (2016): What's It Like Inside?
The most basic Megane’s cabin is a bland affair, with too many dark plastics and a cluster of buttons that makes the dash look less iPhone and more Nokia 6210. Thankfully from secondary Expression specification upwards there’s a touchscreen but, of course, the pièce de résistance of the Megane is optional – it being the 8.7-inch portrait orientation touchscreen multimedia setup.
Standard on Dynamique S Nav models and above, the screen really does feel like it’s been filtered down from a much larger model. Vibrant, pretty, customisable and - most importantly - intuitive to use, it’s a world away from the dreadful touchscreen mightmares of recent Renaults past. See the Renault Captur for details.
It’s not the only thing that’s neat about the Megane’s cabin. While it might not be the last word in design pizazz, it’s just about the most robust that a Renault cabin has ever been. The top-level plastics are Volkswagen-esque in their solidity, while flourishes like thin strip lighting on the inner edges add at least a little charm.
However, the Megane simply doesn’t feel that spacious. Renault might boast improved interior and load space compared to its predecessor, but it still feels slightly compact. Dark headlining doesn’t help.
For example, the Megane’s 434-litre boot is significantly larger than the SEAT Leon’s 380-litre space, yet a quite small opening and a high loading lip almost seem to shrink it back down. In addition, cabin cubby holes are limited, including shallow door pockets, a quite small space betwen the centre arm rest and, most annoyingly, a miniscule glove box. That's a trait common in French hatchbacks, but one that there's really no excuse for. But hey, the Megane gets 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, which is something.
In fact, it gets plenty as standard, including air conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows all round, cruise control, Isofix, LED daytime running lights and – get this – an ‘F1 style’ fuel filler cap, which over the life of the car could mean up to five seconds less time spent standing on an Esso forecourt. More prosaically, it gets a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating too.
It’s only really the drab dashboard of the basic Expression+ model that should put you off getting one, so Dynamique Nav spec, with its touchscreen (albeit the smaller one), DAB radio, bigger wheels, dual-zone climate control and selectable driving modes (albeit superfluous) is probably where you should land.
Having said that, you also get Renault’s ‘key card’ with that specification and above, which Renault persists with even though, in trying to make its hands-free key as convenient as a credit card, it’s basically not far off carrying an extra mobile phone about.
Standard equipment from launch:
Expression+ includes an automatic electronic parking brake, LED daytime running lamps, tinted windows, 7-inch TFT instrument panel with digital speedometer, all-round electric windows, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, 4 x 20W DAB radio with fingertip controls and an AUX input.
Dynamique Nav adds automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, Visio active safety system providing lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/low beam headlamps; electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors, hands free keycard, automatic dual zone climate control, Multisense system providing selective driving modes and ambient lighting, Arkamys 3D Sound 4x35W DAB Radio, and seven-inch touchscreen R-Link multimedia system including satellite navigation with live traffic updates and Western European mapping.
Dynamique S Nav includes 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, rear parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, extra tinted windows to the rear and tailgate and the unique-in-class 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen R-Link multimedia system.
Signature Nav features 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, full-LED headlights, black leather upholstery with Nappa leather steering wheel and an electrochrome rearview mirror.
GT-Line Nav includes a wider lower air intake with a honeycomb-pattern mesh is flanked by lateral scoops, ark metal 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, door mirror housings that match the finish on the front air scoops and rear diffuser, Acantara sports front seats, blue top-stitching and a chequered logo and an exclusive Iron Blue paint option.
Child seats that fit a Renault Megane (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Renault Megane (2016) like to drive?
The overarching quality of this Megane is solidity, largely because of the confidence with which it glides across the road, the robustness of the cabin and the distinct lack of noise.
That latter quality is especially notable in the 1.5-litre diesel, which owing to its small capacity and output you’d expect to be a clattery stinker. Instead it feels like it puts most four-cylinder diesels to shame on the noise suppression front, including one or two found in premium cars.
Renault has aimed for comfort with the ride, and mostly found it. Only the most knobbly of surfaces troubles the Megane’s composure. There’s no adaptive damping option, even on sportier models, but Dynamique Nav cars get selectable driving modes which alter the throttle, steering and - with an automatic - the gear change timings.
4Control is standard on the 205PS GT and works by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front. Not by much but enough to make a difference, at speeds up to 50mph. Above that it turns them in the same direction.
However, it tends to be that the cleverer the Megane tries to be, the worse it becomes. So, while a standard Megane in its so-called ‘Neutral’ mode is a light steering, smooth riding, predictable sort of driving experience, stick the car into Sport mode with 4Control in the mix and it becomes a little messy.
The problem is that the steering is over-light - another nod to day-to-day comfort - and so while 4Control is genuinely mesmerising at first, at higher speeds it can result in a twitchy sort of feel. Too sharp, almost.
Spend any time with a basic diesel Megane and the party tricks seem a tad unnecessary, because the car’s fundamentals are excellent.
Comfort is not only a trick of the suspension, but of the low-set driving position, comfortable chairs, and intuitive cabin ergonomics including a notably high-set gear lever. The gearshift itself is nice and positive, too. Every Megane comes with a six-speed manual as standard, while a six-speed dual-clutch EDC automatic is optional.
Renault has widened the track of this Megane compared to the last one. This gives it more stability and composure during cornering. Problem is, while it’s true that the Megane is grippy, it’s never that exciting or memorable. It’s just very, very competent. Like a BBC News 24 anchor.
The other problem is that the firmer suspension of the GT and GT Line models results in a car that’s simply less comfortable, rather than being any more entertaining. It’s exacerbated by sports seats set up like a Labour Party budget – to provide stability by squeezing the middle.
The 1.6-litre turbo GT engine feels laboured too – or certainly more laboured than its 7.1-second 0-62mph sprint should feel. It’s not unpleasant, just not as free flowing as you’d want a warmed up hatch to feel – a statement that could apply to the driving experience in general, in fact.
Again, that’s why it’s easier to recommend something from the lower reaches of the Megane range. The diesels may not be remotely quick on paper, but they’re strong enough to haul the car to motorway speeds in fuss-free fashion. And do so with minimal financial impact.
|1.2 TCe||51–52 mpg||-||120–124 g/km|
|1.2 TCe Automatic||50–52 mpg||-||122–125 g/km|
|1.3 TCe||51–52 mpg||-||130 g/km|
|1.3 TCe Automatic||50–52 mpg||-||138 g/km|
|1.5 dCi||72–76 mpg||-||95–100 g/km|
|1.5 dCi 115||72–76 mpg||-||111 g/km|
|1.5 dCi 115 Automatic||74 mpg||-||119 g/km|
|1.5 dCi Automatic||74 mpg||-||95–98 g/km|
|1.6 dCi 130||69–71 mpg||-||104–106 g/km|
|1.6 dCi 165 Automatic||61 mpg||8.8 s||120 g/km|
|1.6 TCe Automatic||47 mpg||-||134 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Renault Megane (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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