What Car? Car of the Year awards 2010 - Hot hatch winner

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  • 16 categories of awards
  • All the winning models featured here
  • What Car? Car of the Year 2010 revealed
The winner
Renault Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup
List price £22,473
Target price £22,473

It's a hot hatch triple-whammy for Renault this year, and for good reason.

No manufacturer has done more to keep us smiling through the recent tough times, because no matter which Renaultsport model you choose, it instantly reacquaints you with the sheer joy of driving.

For us, the Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup is the pick of the bunch. Anyone expecting a typical thrash-metal Renaultsport hatch is in for a big shock, though. There are plenty of visual clues to suggest it’s not that sort of car. Yes, it comes on big alloys, has swollen wheelarches and plenty of spoilers, but it’s still an impossibly seductive-looking car, as elegant and desirable as many a stylish coupé.

However, with 247bhp on tap from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, it’s also an impossibly addictive driving machine.

Unlike some torque-steering front-wheel-drive hot hatches, the Mégane’s power arrives smoothly, and it’s so well controlled by a sophisticated suspension arrangement that nothing gets wasted. Even when you’re flogging the engine for all it’s worth, there’s little protest from the front wheels. Instead, those fat tyres simply dig in and fling the Cup up the road at a blurry rate of knots.

Blast down a favourite twisty road and the Cup manages to feel both dramatic yet totally composed, such is the depth of engineering that has gone into its chassis.

With short-travel, smooth-reacting springs and shock absorbers, and phenomenal levels of grip, the Cup is alive with feel and precision. Yet with excellent refinement, a reasonably comfortable ride and a classy interior, it’s also an absolute joy when you just want to drive, rather than drive the wheels off it.

What Car? Car of the Year awards 2010 - Coupe contenders


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