Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy long-term test review
The latest Renault Megane RS is one of our favourite hot hatches, but how easy is it to live with?...
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 2484 Official economy 34.4mpg Test economy 26.8mpg
11 September – A cruiser not a bruiser
Perhaps the biggest test of a car is not how good it is at the things it’s meant to be good at, but how well it copes when it’s out of its comfort zone. And my Megane RS faced just such a test when I needed to get from London to Pembrokeshire for a friend’s 50th birthday celebrations – a round-trip of 472 miles, which involved many hours on the M4 motorway.
At a 70mph cruise in sixth gear, the engine is pulling 2500rpm, so you can always hear it beavering away, even if you switch it to its quieter Neutral setting. However, while my car has the more track-focused Cup suspension setup, meaning you’re bounced around a bit, my wife and I didn’t feel like we were being battered, and our two-year-old daughter was able to get on with some colouring without the ride undermining her efforts.
As a bonus, even after such a long stint behind the wheel, I didn’t feel any cramp or numbness; the heavily-bolstered front seats (part of the £1500 Recaro Sports Pack) may look like they’ve been lifted straight from a racing car, but they support you in all the right places, and the pedals and steering wheel are perfectly aligned.
It’s worth noting, though, that previous experience of a Megane RS fitted with the standard seats suggests these are a definite step down. Not only are they visually less appealing, but their bases are angled steeply upwards towards the front in a way that’s oddly reminiscent of a deck chair.
Now, anyone familiar with the M4 will know that as surely as night follows day, you can bank on it grinding to a halt at some point during a long journey. But in a Megane RS this isn’t wholly unwelcome, because when the sat-nav rerouted me off to avoid a clogged section, I was able to savour the agile handling for a few miles.
In short, the traffic may have made us later than we’d hoped, but as we swiftly changed into clothes that matched the party’s Western theme (your guess is as good as mine), I realised there’s little I would have changed about the car for the long drive. On the motorway, a taller sixth gear would have been welcome to lower the revs and lift the average fuel economy north of the mid-20s, but that’s about it.