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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Small, stylish and chic with good equipment levels

Against A bit small in the back and unsatisfying to drive

Verdict A competent coupe for decent money

Go for… 1.6 Monaco

Avoid…

Renault Megane Coupe
  • 1. The sloping roofline makes getting into the back seats difficult and restricts headroom
  • 2. There have been complaints about poor-quality paintwork, and the body-coloured bumpers are prone to marks
  • 3. Head gasket failures have been reported, so check the inside of the oil filler cap for the sludge that can warn of problems
  • 4. Make sure the clutch works properly, because replacing it is a complicated - and expensive - job
  • 5. Some cars are plagued by starting and ignition problems
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Renault Megane Coupe full review with expert trade views

Spawned from the same model family that had a saloon, hatchback and even an MPV in the range, the Megane Coupe isn’t quite as attractive as the Cabriolet version, but it’s still no ugly duckling.

In terms of space, the Coupe certainly lives up to its name - it's little more than a 2+2 because the shape of the sloping roofline makes getting into the rear difficult and restricts headroom once you’re in.

By today’s standards the quality and finish of the interior trim is dated and the design of the seat fabric isn’t to all tastes.

Perhaps more of a disappointment is that it's not as sporty as you might expect of something called a coupe. Its handling could be more precise and it's a bit vague through bends, although, on the plus side, the Megane has a pliant ride.

However, there was a major range revision in 2000, which addressed some of the problems and turned the Coupe into more of a driver’s car. These revisions, however, had a negative effect on the ride, making it ride much too firmly over bumps.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Black or yellow are best resale colours. 1.4 16v and 1.6 16v best engines

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

Megane buyers had a wide choice of engines, and these were revised in 2000 as part of general improvments across the range. Try to find one of the later cars because these engines have better fuel economy and more performance.

That said, avoid the 1.4-litre 16v unit - it feels slow and breathless - in favour of the 1.6, which is noticeably faster. The 2.0-litre is fastest, but a little noisy when you work it hard.

There was an automatic gearbox option on some models, but this is jerky and unsatisfying to live with, so it’s best avoided.

The higher-specced models are a good bet; originally the Coupes only came in standard or Sport trim, but were both well equipped. From 2000 these were replaced by Sport, Alize and Monaco trims, with the last including a CD multichanger and heated door mirrors. The build quality in later cars is also noticeably improved.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Now very cheap and 1.6e Sport can be sold on low running costs

James Ruppert
Used car guru

If you’re concerned with running costs, the later cars are the better bet. After the revisions in 2000, the service intervals changed from 12,000 miles to 18,000. This could save you a reasonable amount in garage bills and, if you opt for an independent garage you should expect to save an additional 17% in labour charges.

Fuel economy is also good, and, again, going for the post-2000 cars is advisable because they have more powerful and efficient engines. Fuel economy ranges from 43.5mpg on the 1.4 engine through to 37.2mpg for the 2.0-litre. Insurance is reasonable, too, with cars sitting between groups 8 and 13.

What's not so good is that independent warranty provider Warranty Direct reckons that about 42% of cars need repairs, so you may well have to budget for some unscheduled bills, which cost an average of £240.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Black or yellow are best resale colours. 1.4 16v and 1.6 16v best engines

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

Lots of imports were available when the car was new, so you need to check the specification carefully. Renault should be able to tell you from the VIN if the car is a grey import or a car sourced through a dealer. However, don't necessarily be put off - buying imports isn’t a problem as long as the price reflects that.

On the other hand, if you suspect the clutch is on its way out, you might want to reconsider - it’s a complicated job to replace and won’t be cheap. Some cars are plagued by starting and ignition problems, and on others the heater can fail.

The jerky automatic gearbox is known for its faults, so if you really want one, make sure you’re completely happy with its operation.

Some owners have complained about poor-quality paintwork, so check panels carefully, as well as body-coloured bumpers, which are prone to marks.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Now very cheap and 1.6e Sport can be sold on low running costs

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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