Renault Megane E-Tech long-term test: report 1

Renault's latest Megane has gone electric and adopted trendy SUV styling, but what it's like to live with? We're finding out...

Renault Megane E-Tech side-on driving

The car Renault Megane E-Tech EV60 220HP Techno Run by Jim Holder, Editorial director

Why it’s here Its name may be well known, but little else about this car is familiar; for the first time the Megane is an all-electric car, sitting on an-all new platform that will underpin a family of new Renaults. Is it any good?

Needs to offer The ease of use and practicality of family car rivals while proving efficient in its use of electricity and fast to charge

Mileage 972 Price £39,495 Target Price £39,011 Price as tested £40,445 Official range 280 miles Test range 179 miles Options fitted Shadow grey paint with black diamond roof (£950)

11 February 2023 – New Megane: loving it?

Regular or large? It’s rare that pictures fail to convey the true size of a car as much as they do with the Renault Megane E-Tech, with its squat but tall dimensions. Think of it as a rival to the Volkswagen ID 3 (itself the electric equivalent of a VW Golf) and you’re on track.

Think of it, too, as a hatchback. Again, the styling – which I think is fantastic, and broader consensus seems to heartily approve of too – gives it a bit of an air of a high-rider. That image is boosted by the cost option of having a separate roof colour, but you sit far lower down in the Megane than in an SUV.

Renault Megane E-Tech charges at McDonalds on an Instavolt charger

Regular, then? Well, maybe, but it’s worth noting that the rear passenger space often leaves you wanting more.

Anyone sat in the front enjoys a lavish sense of airiness, thanks to the cut-away dash and open central storage area, but in the back, the feeling of freedom swiftly evaporates. Rear leg and head room are quite cramped, so the back seats are best reserved for short trips for adults or carrying little ones confined to car seats (or not long out of them).

There is some compensation, because the boot is generously sized. It includes a recess below the floor that can swallow the charging cable even if you hurl it in, or take an enormous amounts of odds and ends if you take the time to furl it carefully.

So, in truth, it looks supersized, is large in parts, but is mostly a regular portion. And if you’re an older child or young adult upwards and end up in the back, it leaves you feeling like someone stole a few of your fries before handing over the packet.

I took the Megane to a drive-through restaurant to illustrate this report, and you probably think you've guessed why already – but there's more to the location than a tortuous analogy. The burger emporium I picked is also home to some high-speed chargers, which brings me on to some more crucial observations about how life with this car is going to run.

Renault Megane E-Tech poor range

Like many electric car owners, I intend to do most of my charging at home. I’m fortunate to have a driveway just big enough for a car, and a charging point installed (still going strong after I PCP-ed a Renault Zoe way back in 2015).

On longer journeys, though, I'll use the public charging network, which often uses locations occupied by fast-food outlets – presumably because bored drivers waiting for their cars to charge are open to temptation. It goes against the wider media narrative, and sets me up for a fall no doubt, but I have to say that in seven years of driving electric cars, I’ve yet to encounter a significant issue using public chargers.

Will the Megane help me maintain my streak of charging success? On paper it should do, because using the (usually very optimistic) WLTP official test cycle, it promises 280 miles of range, presumably helped by its sleeker-than-SUV shape.

However, alarm bells are ringing: in the recent cold snap, around 140-180 miles has appeared to be its limit, although it's hard to be sure because my three miles each way commute seems to throw its trip calculator into despair.

Renault Megane E-Tech behind the wheel

After one full overnight charge on a freezing night, I woke to find it predicting a mere 138 miles of range from a full charge. Thankfully that proved to be misguided (it was more like 180), but bad information does nothing for your confidence, especially if you're driving long distances with the family on board.

Sure, the kids would be happy enough to stop for the occasional extra burger, but neither my waist nor my bank manager would thank me – and that’s to say nothing of the shredded nerves that would come with having to stop for half an hour every two hours.

For all its evident qualities, this is one area the Megane needs to nail. When it comes to range in an electric car, regular keeps you in contention and extra large brings you huge acclaim, but anything less is likely to cause a serious bout of indigestion.

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