2012 Renault Megane 1.5 dCi review
* Updated 1.5 diesel Megane driven in UK * 80.7mpg and 90g/km of CO2 * More equipment for your cash...
The Renault Megane has always been one of the better-looking small family hatches, and now Renault has give it a nip and tuck to keep it in the eyeline of those who seek something with a little extra visual delicacy.
Tweaks include the provision of LED daytime running lights (on Dynamique TomTom trim and above), revised bumpers and different alloy wheels.
So far, so ho-hum. The bigger news lies underneath the 2012 Renault Megane's skin, because the 1.5-litre diesel engine has been given tweaks including an engine stop-start system.
The numbers speak volumes; the Megane 1.5 dCi will do an official average of 80.7mpg, and will emit just 90g/km of carbon dioxide. This puts it in the lowest, 13%, band for company car tax. All of which means the Megane will be pretty cheap to run, whether you're a private buyer or a company user.
New economical 1.5 diesel engine is big news for the facelifted Megane
That said, private buyers are likely to baulk at the price, which starts at 21,300 for the car we tested.
What's the 2012 Renault Megane like to drive?
Pretty good. The 1.5 diesel engine revs quite freely for a diesel, and you can pick up pace at a reasonable lick as long as you keep the revs above 1800rpm. Drop below this and the Megane shows little desire to get where you want it to go.
The gearbox is light and positive, but occasionally feels like it doesn't want to be rushed, while the pedals are all reasonably weighted. The brakes feel a touch spongy, though.
Renault has done a good job with the Megane's steering, which is well weighted, positive and consistent in its responses. The car responds quickly and faithfully to higher-speed changes of direction, while low-speed parking manoeuvres are simple.
If there's a downside to the sharpness of the GT Line model, it's that the ride is on the firm side of comfortable, and bumps that you'd expect to be dealt with can come crashing through to your backside.
What's the 2012 Renault Megane like inside?
The interior is a genuinely pleasant place in which to spend time. The plastics used are of a pretty high grade, and they've been screwed together with a reasonable amount of care and attention.
There's decent space for the driver and front passenger, and getting comfortable is made easy by seats with simple adjusters. The steering wheel has a good range of adjustment, too.
The boot is bigger than that in a Volkswagen Golf when the rear seats are raised, but slightly smaller than the Golf's when the rear seats are folded down. That's where the good news ends.
The Renault Megane's infotainment system has always been indecipherable to operate, and so Renault has redesigned it for the latest Megane. Unfortunately, it's still worthy of inclusion as a test on The Krypton Factor, so complicated is it to use. It's a real distraction on the move.
Things aren't great farther back, either, because rear passengers will find themselves seriously short of leg- and headroom.
Should I buy one?
The 2012 Renault Megane comes complete with Renault's new 4+ scheme, which includes a four-year/100,000-mile warranty, free servicing for four years or 48,000 miles, and four years' roadside cover.
However, we wouldn't recommend this version because it's simply too expensive to buy, and the ride is too uncompromising.
The facts that the rear-seat area is too cramped, and that a Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf do virtually everything better, means the Megane can be rated as no more than an also-ran.
What Car? says