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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's stylish and cheap - enjoy the sun on a budget

Against Not that great to drive; no room in the back

Verdict A cost-effective way into convertible ownership

Go for… 2.0-litre

Avoid… 1.6-litre

Renault Megane Cabriolet
  • 1. Check the hood raises and lowers properly, has no leaks and is in good condition
  • 2. Cabriolet can take only two in the rear, but boot space is adequate
  • 3. There have been complaints about poor-quality paintwork, and the body-coloured bumpers are prone to marks
  • 4. Head gasket failures have been reported, so check the inside of the oil filler cap for the sludge that can warn of problems
  • 5. Make sure the clutch works properly, because replacing it is a complicated - and expensive - job
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Renault Megane Cabriolet full review with expert trade views

Based on the Megane Coupe, the Cabriolet lost its top and gained some weight. In truth, however, this is a car that’s designed to look good rather than deliver sheer driving thrills.

The range was revised in 2000 and, before then, the ride was supple, but a little vague, with too much bounce. After the changes, the Megane had better body control, but at the expense of an overly firm ride, which passengers can find uncomfortable. Wind and road noise are both obvious, too, and you can expect some buffeting at speed when the roof's down.

In most other respects, though, it's not too bad, and passengers in the front should find it easy to get comfortable. The design of the dashboard and the quality of materials might not appeal to all, but the revisions introduced better quality materials.

Perhaps surprisingly, even practicality is quite decent. The Megane Cabriolet can take only two in the rear, but boot space is adequate for this kind of car.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Still a sound buy. 1.6 16v best engine. Avoid base non-power hood models

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

If you’re more concerned about comfortable cruising than outright performance, the 1.6-litre is the way to go. However, the Cabriolet is heavier than the Coupe (because of the extra stiffening Renault added to compensate for the loss of the roof), and the 2.0-litre does a far better job of shifting it.

When the range was revised in 2000, a series of new engines was introduced. These had more power, yet drank less fuel, making them the better second-hand option

There is an automatic option with both engine sizes, but it’s jerky, unsatisfying to drive and prone to failure, so avoid it.

Generally, the Cabriolet comes well equipped, but the high-spec models are the most desirable. Again, the post-2000 models have a higher level of trim, and are worth seeking out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Looks better in bright colours 2.0 16v best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Meganes were big sellers and, although the Cabriolet wasn’t as popular as the hatchback and saloon models, there are plenty out there to choose from.

Most are generally good value for money, and if you’ve got a reliable one it won’t cost a fortune to run. But, again, it makes more sense to go for a post-2000 model, as the service intervals changed from 12,000 miles to 18,000, so your running costs will fall accordingly.

The Cabriolet is the most expensive Megane to insure, but with ratings from groups 10 to 13, you’re still not looking at a large premium.

Likewise, fuel economy shouldn’t put you off. The 1.6 delivers a solid 40mpg, while the 2.0-litre’s figure falls to 37mpg, reasonable considering the performance on offer.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Still a sound buy. 1.6 16v best engine. Avoid base non-power hood models

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Cabriolet suffers the same reliability problems as the rest of the Megane family, and independent warranty provider Warranty Direct reckons that about 42% of cars suffer problems, with an average repair bill of £240.

Make sure the clutch works properly because replacing it is a complicated job and won’t be cheap. The jerky automatic gearbox can break, too, some cars are plagued by starting and ignition problems, while heaters (which are expensive to replace) pack up on others.

Head gasket failure has also been reported as a weakness, so always inspect the inside of the oil filler cap for suspicious sludge that will give away potential problems.

Some owners have complained about poor-quality paintwork, so pay close attention. The body-coloured bumpers are also prone to marks.

Lastly, as you would on any cabriolet, check the hood works well, has no leaks and is in good general condition.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Looks better in bright colours 2.0 16v best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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