The new Renault Megane will go on sale in the UK next summer, and is shown here in our exclusive studio pictures.
What is the Renault Megane?
The new Renault Mégane will go on sale in the summer of 2016 as a rival to the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf.
In addition, the more sporty Renault Mégane GT is being launched at the same time, and the firm hopes that its high-spec will tempt buyers away from base models of the Audi A1, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.
The car’s grown-up looks contrast with the cheeky character of the Renault Clio, Captur and Kadjar because the model is designed to appeal to more serious buyers.
"This segment is the most competitive in the world," Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s design chief, told What Car?. "We’re going up against the very best. We know we must up our game."
The new model is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing car and, as a result, has more interior space. This pays dividends for passengers. There’s an extra 2cm of rear knee space over the outgoing car, and shoulder room is also more generous. Boot space of 434 litres is a notable increase on that provided by the VW Golf and Ford Focus.
Renault says it has put extra effort into improving the fit, finish and quality of the Mégane’s cabin. Our early inspection suggests it has succeeded in significantly raising the car’s interior ambience.
"Renault can produce cars with a Latin skin and a German heart," says van den Acker.
What engines can I choose from for the new Megane?
Renault hasn’t confirmed the new Mégane’s engine line-up for the UK but it is expected to comprise five diesel and four petrol units, ranging in power from 89bhp to 202bhp.
Selected diesel engines will be sold with the option of a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while selected petrol engines will come with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
A diesel hybrid model with an official economy figure of more than 94mpg and CO2 emissions of 76g/km will be launched in 2017. Renault hasn’t said if it will be sold in the UK, however.
How much equipment does the Megane come with?
On mid-spec models, the Megane’s cockpit is greatly enhanced by the use of a full-colour head-up display, and a 7.0-inch digital instrument screen. As well as lending the cabin a modern feel, the head-up display has the advantage of allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road while reading speed, navigation and driving aid instructions.
Top-spec models get an 8.7-inch touchscreen in place of the 7.0-inch version. It replaces numerous cabin buttons and allows the control of the sat-nav, apps, radio and phone.
Additional technology destined for the new Mégane includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, speeding warning and blindspot monitoring. Automatic headlights, a reversing camera and parking sensors, and a hands-free parking function are also available
The driver can also select between five driving modes ranging from Eco to Sport (or RS Drive on Mégane GT models).
However, Renault UK is still deciding which of the above items of equipment will be optional and which is standard.
Renaultsport Mégane GT
The Mégane GT, which has been developed by the firm’s renowned Renaultsport offshoot, will be launched at the same time as the standard car. Initially, it will be sold with a 202bhp petrol engine. A 163bhp diesel option will follow. Both engines will be linked to dual-clutch gearboxes with steering-wheel mounted gearshifts.
The GT also gets four-wheel steering as standard. The system works in conjunction with bespoke damper, spring, brake and ESP settings to improve high-speed dynamics, as well as making the car easier to manoeuvre at slow speeds.
The exterior design is also sportier and includes extra grilles, twin exhausts and a diffuser. The interior of the car shares the hallmarks of more extreme Renaultsport models. They include wraparound seats, pedals finished in aluminium and enhanced stitching and materials.
How much will the Megane cost?
Prices for the new Mégane are expected to start from around £17,000, and be in line with those across the current range. However, Renault has yet to confirm exact pricing.
Traditionally, Renault has offered large discounts, especially on its larger cars. however, it has worked hard to bolster residual values in recent years, which has meant a tightening of initial offers available.
We’d still expect 5% savings early on, but much will depend on demand for the new model in this highly competitive sector.
How good are its rivals?
Buyers in this class are spoilt for choice, with a large number of high quality, competitively priced cars to choose from.
The Renault Megane has traditionally struggled to make an impression in this company, but with the firm’s recent form suggests its hould be a strong contender again.