Used Renault Megane Hatchback 1996 - 2003 review

Category: Family car

The Renault Megane is a safe, cheap and spacious small family car

Renault Megane Hatchback (96 - 03)
  • Renault Megane Hatchback (96 - 03)
  • Renault Megane Hatchback (96 - 03)
Used Renault Megane Hatchback 1996 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Renault Megane hatchback like?

The Renault Megane is an anonymous hatchback that looked very dated by the time Renault stopped making it.

The bold lines of later versions make this one appear old-fashioned, but it beats most rivals for safety kit - you get front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes and a full three-point belt for the centre-rear seat on even the cheapest models.


The Renault Megane is a safe, cheap and spacious small family car

  • It's inexpensive and the later models are well equipped
  • It has a frumpy image, it's dull to drive
  • unreliable and the interior is cheap-looking

Come to that, the car is generously equipped all round - all have remote central locking, most have air-con and CD players.

It scores well for practicality, too, with a roomy cabin, a fair-sized boot and a big hatch opening. However, the dash plastic looks dull and some of the switchgear feels brittle and cheap. There's not enough space for phones, sunglasses and other bits and bobs, either.

On the road, too, it's basically pretty decent. The Megane rides well and keeps out most road noise, and the bigger engines make it feel quite spirited. All that counts against it is that the steering lacks feel and discourages you from making full use of the power.

Ownership cost

What used Renault Megane hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Renault Megane hatchback?

A Megane won't be expensive to buy, and it won't lose much value while you have it, so it won't cost much in that sense. However, they aren't the most reliable of cars, so we'd budget for repairs as yours gets older. Routine spares are low-priced, but some expensive items may also be needed.

Servicing is easy, simple and, on later models, determined by the car's onboard electronics. So drive carefully, and you can add miles between scheduled garage visits. Keep away from main dealers, and you won't pay much.

Fuel economy is also good. The 1.4 promises up to 30mpg in town and 42mpg overall, the 105bhp diesel gives 41mpg and 54mpg. The 1.8 is thirstiest, but still posts a respectable maximum of 28mpg in town and 37mpg overall.

Our recommendations

Which used Renault Megane hatchback should I buy?

It's not a car you'll want to zip about in, so we'd go for the smallest petrol engine, the 1.4. This gives out 95bhp, which is good for its size. There are also a 1.6 and 1.8, should you want something a little stronger. They're also the only engines to be available with auto 'boxes, although these are very rare.

Of the diesels, the 105bhp 1.9 is much smoother than the 80bhp version, and uses less fuel, too.

In 2001 and 2002, Renault loaded more kit as standard on to the cars to keep them competitive, so even the entry-level model, the Authentique, had electric everything.

We'd move one up to the Expression, though, which had standard air-con, or the Expression Plus, which also had a CD player and electric sunroof. Dynamique, Sport and Privilege are the top trims, but they're rare and not worth the extra cash. Buy from used dealers for the best value.

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