* Our adventures with two French hot hatches * The Citroen DS3 and Renault Megane Renaulsport * Our verdicts revealed, here...
It was a shame that not everyone could get comfortable behind the steering wheel. The pedals werent in line with the seat and a couple of testers wished the wheel went lower. The Mgane wasnt without its problems from the drivers seat, either. Shorter drivers had to put up with the seatbelt cutting across the bottom of their neck, and while everyone said the seats were as comfortable as they were supportive, their high, hard sides made getting into and out of them tricky. When the red and black speedo needle wasnt illuminated, it was hard to see it against the black background, too.
That was nothing compared with the Renaults stereo. Even something as routine as changing from an AM to an FM radio station that wasnt pre-programmed involved pressing a button, twiddling and pressing a knob, then pressing another button. Our upgraded stereo didnt sound particularly good, either.
Its certainly something we would recommend you avoid.Things couldnt have been more different with the Citrons sat-nav system. It was simple to use and the big screen made the instructions easy to see. Its stereo also sounded impressive.
You certainly needed that on long journeys, because the DS3 wasnt the quietest long-distance car. Road noise was the biggest bugbear, which was a shame because the six-speed manual gearbox kept engine revs and therefore noise reasonably low.
It also helped keep fuel economy decent. Over 14,360 miles spent mainly in town, the DS3 averaged 32.9mpg; some way short of the official average of 42.2mpg, but still respectable. The economy figures didnt seem to change much, no matter where or how we drove the car.
Citroen DS3 stats
Again, things were different with the Renault. Driven with a suitably sympathetic right foot, it was capable of eye-opening economy; drive it hard and you could almost see the fuel needle dropping before your eyes.
The surprising thing, though, was how accomplished it was on long journeys. Yes, the wide tyres kicked up a din on coarse surfaces, but the Mgane was otherwise an accomplished motorway car. Considering it was blisteringly quick when you were in the mood, this Jekyll and Hyde side to its personality was deeply impressive.
Renault Megane Renaultsport 250 stats