Renault Megane review

Category: Electric car

Comfy, quiet and has a competitive range between charges, but rivals are better value

Renault Megane E-Tech front right tracking
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front right tracking
  • Renault Megane E-Tech rear cornering
  • Renault Megane E-Tech dashboard
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior back seats
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior infotainment
  • Renault Megane E-Tech right tracking
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front cornering
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front left static
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech alloy wheel detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior front seats
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech boot open
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front right tracking
  • Renault Megane E-Tech rear cornering
  • Renault Megane E-Tech dashboard
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior back seats
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior infotainment
  • Renault Megane E-Tech right tracking
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front cornering
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front left static
  • Renault Megane E-Tech front detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech alloy wheel detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior front seats
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech interior detail
  • Renault Megane E-Tech boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

As electric cars continue to grow in popularity, the Renault Megane is big news – both for Renault and for anyone looking for a new family car

Why is it so significant? Well, while the Megane name has denoted a combustion-engined rival to the Ford FocusVauxhall Astra and VW Golf for more than 20 years, this latest version – technically called the E-Tech – is powered solely by batteries. What’s more, it sits on a new electric vehicle structure that will form the basis of numerous Renault models in the years to come.

It's tricky to judge how big the Megane is from photos alone because of its chunky, SUV-like styling, but it's roughly the same size as the VW ID 3.

That places it in an extremely competitive sector of the electric car market, where rivals also include the Cupra Born, MG4 and Nissan Leaf.

So, how does the Renault Megane stack up in important areas, such as charging, performance and practicality? We'll be answering that in this review, plus we'll tell you which version we think makes the most sense.

If, at the end, you decide it's right for you, you can get a great deal without any haggling by using our free New Car Buying service.

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Regardless of trim, every Renault Megane has a 215bhp electric motor driving its front wheels, and it's fairly nippy. In our tests, it managed 0-60mph in 6.9sec, making it fractionally quicker than the equivalent Cupra Born or MG4

All versions have front-wheel drive, so you have to be a bit delicate with the accelerator pedal when the road is wet. If you put your foot down hard, the front wheels can spin before the traction control kicks in to cut the power temporarily.

The entry-level Equilibre trim, which comes with 18in wheels, has the most agreeable ride, but the Megane is still comfortable on the 20in wheels you get with higher trims. The suspension has a firmer edge than the MG4's, giving the car tight body control, and potholes and expansion joints are dealt with quickly, with no pronounced aftershocks. 

Disappointingly, the firm suspension doesn’t translate into enjoyable handling. It’s agile enough compared with the Nissan Leaf but the steering is very light and the speed of it changes after you wind on the first few degrees of lock. That means placing the car accurately can be trickier along faster winding roads than in the Born or VW ID 3.

Renault MEGANE E-TECH image
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Techno trim and above come with a Sport mode that allows you to make the steering heavier. It doesn’t really transform the driving experience, so we wouldn’t pay extra for it.

The regenerative braking system (which tops up the battery by recovering energy as you brake) has four strength settings, and you can switch between them using small paddles behind the steering wheel.

In the most extreme setting, it greatly reduces your need to use the actual brake pedal, especially around town. Unfortunately, when you do use the pedal, you'll find it very hard to judge: it sinks towards the floor with very little pressure applied, then the brakes grab suddenly.

Renault is very proud of the extra sound insulation packaged into the floor to reduce road noise, a method it calls ‘cocoon effect’. It works well: the Megane is certainly a quieter cruiser than the Born and the MG4, and there's only a little wind fluttering around the front windscreen pillars. The suspension is hushed too, with only the sharpest of ruts causing a pronounced 'thunk'.

So, what about range? Well, in our winter range test the Megane managed 189 miles on a cold day, which is quite a way off the official 280 mile range. On the same day, the Born managed 182 miles and the MG4 Long Range 196 miles. You'll get quite a lot further in all three models in warmer weather.

Renault Megane E-Tech rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

With plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, the Renault Megane has a great driving position – much better than the MG4, which has its steering wheel offset to your left. Better still, all the adjustability makes it easy to get comfortable on long journeys, while the adjustable lumbar support you get on higher trim versions is a welcome addition. 

The front window pillars are fairly chunky, though, and can get in the way when you're navigating sweeping bends or exiting a junction. Rearward visibility isn’t great, either, due to the large rear pillars and tiny rear windows (this is less of a problem in the Cupra Born and the MG4).

Thankfully, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera come as standard on all models, with front sensors fitted on all but the entry-level version. To make life even easier, the top two trims swap the standard reversing camera for one with a 360-degree view. 

Inside, the Megane is smartly finished and filled with lots of soft-touch materials, many of which are recycled. There are some hard plastics but they’re hidden low down and don’t detract from the overall impression. 

All UK models feature a 9.0in touchscreen infotainment system. It's tilted slightly towards the driver, making it easy to see and reach, and is more intuitive to operate than the touchscreens in the Born and MG4. There's plenty of tech included, too: all trim levels have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, while Techno trim and above add Google services, including Google Maps, and two extra speakers (so you get six rather than four). 

Renault Megane E-Tech dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

There's plenty of head and leg room in the front of the Renault Megane. You also get plenty of storage, including door bins that can take a large bottle of water, a fair-sized glovebox, a small tray under the infotainment system for your phone (with wireless phone-charging on Techno trim) and large cubbies in the central armrest and in front of it.

There's only one cupholder, mind, and the long lower cubby has two movable dividers, which are a bit fiddly. 

Things could be better in the back. Two six-footers will find their heads grazing the roof lining and knee room is disappointing by class standards, too. There’s also little space for feet beneath the front seats. In short, the Megane’s main electric car rivals – including the Cupra Born, the MG4 and the VW ID 3 – are much more accommodating in the rear.

The boot is short but really deep. We managed to fit in an impressive seven carry-on suitcases below the tonneau cover compared with six in the Born and five in the MG4. The downside is that there's a very high load lip, so heaving in larger items isn’t all that easy. You do at least get a handy cubby under the boot floor that's large enough to store the charging cables. 

The rear seats can be folded down in a 60/40 configuration, which is par for the course in this class. With the seat backs down, there’s a large step in the floor of the extended load bay, so sliding in long items won’t be the easiest. There’s no ski hatch, either, which you can get in the Born and ID 3.

Renault Megane E-Tech interior back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

If you're paying cash, the Renault Megane will cost more to buy than even top-spec versions of the MG4 and Nissan Leaf while falling roughly in line with the Cupra Born and VW ID 3

Disappointingly, the Megane is predicted to suffer heavier depreciation than all those rivals except the Leaf. That can have an effect on the amount you’ll pay each month if you decide to buy on PCP finance. You can check the latest prices by searching our New Car Deals pages

If you’re a company car driver, you’ll find that because it’s an electric car the Megane attracts very low benefit-in-kind tax. 

Entry-level Equilibre trim is our pick. Standard equipment includes 18in alloys, full LED headlights, climate control, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and a 9.0in touchscreen infotainment system.

Techno trim adds 20in alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, rear privacy glass, adaptive cruise control and an upgraded six-speaker sound system. 

Launch Edition adds an even better nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and an upgraded reversing camera.

Top-spec Iconic trim gets you everything from all the other trims and adds a heat pump – a helpful device that allows you to warm the car without using as much energy from the battery. 

Charging tops out at a rate of 130kW, which means a 10-80% battery top-up will take around 30 minutes if you plug into a powerful enough rapid charger. A full charge from a 7kW home wall box will take around 10 hours. That’s roughly comparable with the 58kWh Born and the MG4.

The Megane is too new to have featured in our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey but Renault as a brand finished in 18th place (out of the 32 car makers) above VW (22nd) and Nissan (25th), but below Kia (seventh) and MG (ninth).

Renault provides a three-year warranty, with unlimited mileage for the first 24 months and a cap of 100,000 miles after that. Three years is fairly par for the course – matching Cupra and VW – and doesn’t match Kia’s seven-year warranty. The Megane’s main battery is covered for eight years. 

Euro NCAP awarded the model the full five stars for safety, although the Born did a slightly better job of protecting adults and child occupants in a collision. It has plenty of safety tech as standard, including lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking (AEB). Techno trim and above adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.  

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Renault Megane E-Tech interior infotainment

FAQs

  • The Megane E-Tech is too new to have featured in our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey but Renault claimed 18th place out of 32 manufacturers. All Renaults come with a five-year warranty as standard.

  • No – the Megane E-Tech comes exclusively as an electric car with a 60kWh (usable capacity) battery.

  • Of the three Megane E-Tech trim levels available, we reckon Equilibre represents the best value for money. It comes with plenty of standard equipment.

  • Euro NCAP awarded the Megane E-Tech five stars out of five for safety.

  • Renault hasn't stopped making the Megane, but it no longer sells any petrol or diesel versions – only the E-Tech electric car version is offered new now.

  • Yes – the Megane E-Tech is a class above the Renault Zoe and is bigger in every direction.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £4,748
Target Price from £29,758
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Nearly new deals
From £23,723
RRP price range £33,995 - £38,495
Number of trims (see all)5
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 100000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £68 / £77
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £136 / £154
Available colours