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Renault Megane Coupe 2009 Road Test

Sat, 08 Nov 2008

Renault has been very clever indeed. Instead of offering a nondescript 3-door version of its new Megane, it has given us a Megane Coupe.

Which, of course, means that instead of having to charge less, it can charge more. £400 more, actually.

But just look at it.

Whereas a 3-door Focus looks better than a 5-door Focus the car is still a Focus. Vauxhall has been a bit more successful with the Astra Sport Hatch. Citroen with its distinctive C4 flatback coupe. And KIA with its ProCee’d.

But Renault has transformed the Megane into a coupe every bit as stunning as the VW Scirocco. And that statement probably undersells it.

The Megane Coupe has a bit less headroom than the hatchback in the back. And a bit less luggage room in the boot. Though it still seats five, not four.

Renault engineers stiffened the springs quite a lot, by 19%. And lowered it by 10%. Though even on the 225/44 R17 tyres of our TCE 180 it didn’t rattle our teeth over the ridges that Spanish highway engineers lay in your path to slow you down for ‘obras’.

But the most sensational thing about it is the way it goes.

The engine is punchy and flexible, making 4th a very usable gear. It pulls about 27mph per 1,000rpm in 5th, so it’s a quiet cruiser. So you have the double benefit of a quick 7.5 second 0-60 and diesel-like flexibility without a horrible power vacuum at very low revs.

Show it a corner, or better still a series of fast bends, and it really comes alive.

Like the hatchback, the steering is very informative. And, though stiffer by 19%, the suspension is still soft enough to stop the car leaping across the road on white lines like a BMW 123i, or a Scirocco on 18” wheels. It grips so reassuringly I hardly ever strayed into the realms of understeer, despite some really serious cornering speeds.

So, it’s arguably better looking than a Scirocco, it goes as well, it handles better, and it costs a lot less.

And this is merely the ‘coupe’ version of a mainstream family hatchback.


Test of new Megane 5-door diesel hatchback at www.honestjohn.co.uk/road_tests/index.htm?id=356

For prices, availability, specifications, powertrain details, dimensions, and performance figures please click the tabs.

More at www.renault.co.uk


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