Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy long-term test review: report 2

The latest Renault Megane RS is one of our favourite hot hatches, but how easy is it to live with?...

LT Renault Megane RS on race track - front

The car Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if this thrilling hot hatch continues to impress when you live with it every day

Needs to Combine the pace and agility we’ve come to expect from Renault Sport cars with the practicality we haven’t

List price £31,835 Target Price £30,775 Price as tested £35,435 Miles 1228 Official economy 34.4mpg Test economy 26.4mpg

9 August – On track

Forget about MPVs living up to their name and being the ultimate multi-purpose vehicles; I reckon it’s hot hatches that really have to do it all. They’ve got to be comfortable enough for the commute, practical enough for the family and racy enough for... well, the race track. Fortunately, the Megane RS absolutely delivers.

As I mentioned in my first report, this latest-generation car isn’t as hard riding as its predecessor, so you can use it for mundane journeys without feeling frazzled by the time you climb out. Plus, I’m thankful that Renault has switched from a three to a five-door body because this makes it much easier to get my young daughter in and out of the back.

LT Renault Megane RS interior in pitlane

And having recently driven the Megane on track, I can assure you that any fears it has gone soft are misplaced. In fact, if there’s a lairier hot hatch on sale today, I haven’t driven it.

You get three driving modes: Natural, Sport and Race. While I tend to find the latter a little too aggressive on public roads, away from those you can really enjoy the way Race lets the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the fronts at speeds of up to 62mph (in the other modes the limit is 37mph).

This helps the car change direction so sharply that you almost feel like you’re entering corners sideways, and I can’t think of another front-wheel-drive car that resists sliding wide at the front quite so well.

LT Renault Megane RS side - on track

True, the way the back end swings round takes a little getting used to, but you soon learn that the Megane is on your side and isn’t going to spit you off the road into a ditch. It allows you to get back on the power early, letting the limited-slip diff haul you out of corners with such ferocity that you need to keep a tight grip on the steering wheel.

Don’t think that the Megane is only thrilling in the way that wrestling a lion is, either. When you’re tackling a very fast, sweeping bend, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the fronts, making the handling super-planted and stable right when you need it to be.

Even when back on public roads and in Sport mode, this car ranks towards the upper end of the hot hatch agility scale, and I like the fact you can delve into the dashboard-mounted touchscreen to independently put the engine back in its fruitiest-sounding Race setting. However, if you buy a Megane RS, I'd definitely recommend you take it on track at least once.

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