Despite the increase in size, the new Megane is about 8kg lighter than the one it replaces.
It's said to maintain Renault's excellent record for passive safety, especially with a tougher Euro NCAP test regime on the way.
There are now smart airbags that deploy to match the severity and speed of crashes, while anti-whiplash front headrests are fitted.
Quality is the other drum that Renault has been beating recently.
The new Megane follows on from last year's Laguna in having tighter-fitting panels and more squishy plastics, which make it seem more expensive.
There's an analogue revcounter alongside a digital speedo in a restyled dashboard that has been designed to be simple to use and free up as much space as possible.
An optional electronic handbrake, keyless ignition and central control system operated with a joystick all help to reduce clutter around the driver.