Which used Renault Megane hatchback should I buy?
The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol is fine for town driving and shorter journeys, but you need to work it quite hard for motorway trips, making it rather a noisy unit. The diesel engines better suit more robust use.
The 1.5-litre diesel unit has similar power to its rivals, but it feels slower in real-world driving compared with a Seat Leon 1.6 TDI 110 or Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi, because the Mégane weighs more. It sounds quiet, even when worked hard, but you do feel the engine’s vibrations buzzing through the pedals.
The 1.6 130 diesel is a good fit, offering flexible performance (without being quick) and relative refinement, plus it’s a smooth runner on motorway journeys. It isn’t the most refined diesel engine in this class, and you will still get a harsh engine note if you push it hard, but it has decent claimed fuel economy of 70.6mpg and low CO2 emissions of 104g/km, all for only a small premium over the 1.5-litre diesel.
The more powerful version of the 1.6-litre diesel is quick but less economical and not very refined, so we wouldn't recommend it.
The range-topping 1.6-litre petrol comes in the GT Nav trim only and is matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It’s a warm hatch model designed to compete with cars such as the Ford Focus ST and Peugeot 308 GTi. However, on the road it feels a little flat and is quite thrashy when revved hard. That auto 'box changes slickly, but is occasionally hesitant when changing gear manually with the steering wheel paddles.
Where the Mégane excels is the amount of equipment you get compared with rivals. Even the entry-level Expression+ trim has cruise control, air-con, a DAB radio and Bluetooth. You also get driver’s seat height and lumbar adjustment.
However, we’d suggest upgrading to Dynamique Nav. This has swish night-time ambient interior lighting, power-folding door mirrors and dual-zone climate control. You also get keyless entry, a configurable 7.0in digital display in place of analogue instruments and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system equipped with sat-nav. There are also important safety features such as a system to warn you if you drift out of your lane, auto-sensing lights and wipers, automatic headlight dipping, rear parking sensors and speed limit display.
Dynamique S Nav adds an 8.7in infotainment screen, front parking sensors and a rear-view camera, while Signature Nav augments that with 18in alloy wheels, LED headlights and leather seat trim.
GT Line Nav adds a sportier theme to Dynamique Nav, with dark-chrome door mirror casings and more aggressive bumpers outside, plus sports seats inside.
The range-topping GT Nav is available only with the sportier 1.6 petrol engine. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as well as more macho-looking exterior styling and sports seats inside.
Our favourite Renault Megane 1.6 dCi 130 Dynamique Nav