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New Renault Megane - What Car? Reader Test Team review

The French car maker is aiming to gain a bigger slice of the family hatchback sector with its striking new Mégane. Our readers scrutinise it in sporty GT trim

Words ByJimi Beckwith

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The Mégane is Renault’s bread- and-butter model, but it hasn’t proved popular in recent years; even a facelift in 2013 couldn’t revitalise sales.

With bold new looks, as well as improved interior quality and practicality, the new Mégane aims to tackle class leaders, such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. By introducing a Renaultsport- derived GT model at the head of the launch line-up, Renault also hopes to steal sales from upmarket rivals, such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Will our readers opt for a Mégane over its fearsome hatchback foes?

Gatu Kaakunga
Age 36
Job Structural engineer
Drives Renault Mégane CC

‘There’s a huge step up in interior quality compared with my Mégane. My wife recently bought a Clio, and I’m relieved to see the new Mégane isn’t just a scaled-up version of that model either.

‘The exterior has a strong look, and the LED lights look better on the Mégane than they do on the other models that have Renault’s new front end design.

‘The GT is a sporty model, and the interior has a definite sporting look, but I found the front seats comfortable even though they’re almost bucket seats.

‘The mood lighting inside the doors brightens up the interior, which is all-black; it would be a bit gloomy without it. The digital display in front of the steering wheel is easy to read, and the optional head-up display that shows speed limits and other useful info really helps, too.

‘The latest Mégane is miles more interesting to look at than rivals, such as the Volkswagen Golf, and you get a lot more equipment as standard. This new model also looks and feels like a higher quality car than a Honda Civic. I’d definitely buy a new Mégane, although I’d consider the CC over the GT.’

Chris Luff
Age 39
Job Programmer
Drives Renault Mégane

‘I’m a real Renault fan; I’m on my fourth car from the brand. The new model feels like an evolution to me. In many ways it feels like the same car, which isn’t a bad thing, yet there are also big improvements.

‘The infotainment system has been thoroughly updated to the point where it’s a good deal better than the R-Link system in my car. I’m glad to hear it will be standard across the range, rather than exclusive to high spec models.

‘The footwell seems cramped; my foot catches the brake pedal when I press the accelerator. I hope that will change on right-hand drive models. Rear leg room is woeful for adults, and it looks like fitting a child seat in the back would be a squeeze.

‘However, I love the new styling; it’s far more aggressive and much more modern than the previous Mégane; in fact, it makes it look quite old.

‘Compared with its latest rivals the new Mégane has a lot of character: it’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into making it stand out. I can’t wait to find out the pricing and spec details.’

David Hunt
Age 48
Job IT manager
Drives Renault Captur

‘My wife and I bought a Renault Captur a few months ago. I was keen to see how the Mégane compared because we had considered waiting for it to come out before we took the plunge.

‘The new styling is fantastic, although there’s a kink in the rear wheel arches that irritates me; it ruins the lines of that part of the car.

‘Inside and out, it’s a step up from the previous Mégane, though. The quality of the cabin is better than our Captur’s, and way better than a comparable Nissan Qashqai or Ford Focus.

‘The controls and switches that the driver uses all the time are the bits that matter, and all of these have been improved. The soft-touch plastics on the dash add a premium feel, and the infotainment system responds quickly and is easy to use.

‘Renaults generally have good handling, so I’d love to have driven this GT model. Knowing Renault’s reputation, though, I trust that it won’t disappoint.

‘You’ll always get more for your money with a Renault, so I’m itching to know how it’ll be priced. If it’s pitched realistically, it’ll definitely be my next car.’

Derek Prouton
Age 71
Job Retired sales manager
Drives Mercedes-Benz SLK

‘It looks smart and sleek, and the new Renault front end design seems to work best on the Mégane. The 18in wheels fill the arches nicely, too, without looking too blingy or tacky.

‘However, the interior is aimed at younger buyers; I wouldn’t go for the bolstered seats, I’d go for something more comfortable. It does have a quality feel, though, and it feels properly put together, with all the upholstery and trim of a good quality. Up front, only the overly-cluttered steering wheel lets it down, especially with both the paddle shifters and other buttons mounted on it.

‘It’s not practical enough for me. Rear visibility is poor and leg room in the back is virtually non-existent. The high lip on the boot would make it a pain to lift heavy items into and out of it, too. The rear seats don’t fold either, although I understand that is only the case with the GT model and that the regular Me´gane hatchback would be more family-focused.

‘I’ve only driven Renaults as holiday rental cars, but the Twingo and Scénic I had did the job perfectly, so I’m keen to find out if the Mégane is as good to drive.’

Read all about the new Renault Mégane Read our first drive of the new Renault Mégane