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Striking new Megane driven

2009-09-25 13:28
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Renault
Model Megane
Engine 1.6 16-valve; 1.9 dCi; 1.4 TCe 130 (from Jan 2010)
Power 83 kW @ 6 000 r/min; 96 kW @ 3 750 r/min; 96 kW @ 5 500 r/min
Torque 151 Nm @ 4 250 r/min; 300 Nm @ 1 750 r/min; 190 Nm @ 2 250 r/min
Transmission six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 10.5 s; 9.5 s; 9.6 s
Top Speed 195 km/h; 210 km/h; 200 km/h
Fuel Tank 60 l
Fuel Consumption 6.9 l/100 km; 5.1 l/100 km; 6.6 l/100 km
Weight 1 215 kg; 1 310 kg; 1 310 kg
Boot Size 372 l ( hatch);
Steering electric power steering
ABS with EBD and EBA
Airbags six
Tyres 205/55/R16
Front Suspension MacPherson-type strut
Rear Suspension Flexible beam
Service Intervals 15 000 km
Service Plan 5 Year / 100 000 km
Warranty 3 Year / 100 000 km

Hailey Philander

Patrick Le Quément is an automotive design celebrity who may not get the same exposure as Chris Bangle or Walter de Silva, for instance, but he rarely gets it wrong. The new Mégane is proof; it is beautiful.

And while it may have lost "a bit of the arse", as Renault SA's product manager Xavier Diquet so sweetly put it, it has gained a whole lot more. Its Renault DNA is clear from the diamond emblem positioned atop the nose and this car's design has a sportiness that is expressed by its dynamic stance with short front and rear overhangs to a long wheelbase, wide tracks and a dramatically raked roofline.

The new design translates well through the oversized and stylised head- and tail light clusters and, even while less prominent, the rounded rump remains a neat touch.

Confused, perhaps?

Renault's Diquet told the assembled press that the cabin was "designed to make things easier." But while the soft-touch plastics are definitely welcome, having to stretch across the dash to punch the stop-start button (inconveniently placed alongside the front passenger's right knee) does not make things easier.

Having said that - apart from the incongruent details resulting from the shift from left- to right-hand drive - the Mégane's cabin remains comfortable and roomy. There’s only one specification level, but the features list is long and includes standard Bluetooth function, a 3D sound system by Arkamys and an integrated TomTom navigation system along with “regular” features such as light and rain sensors, and climate control.

The Coupé model, with is sporty roofline, is equally good to rear passengers, but the teeny-tiny windows (and seat positions of taller front occupants) may make those at the rear feel a little closed in. The car looks fantastic from the outside, though.

Some, like me, would expect the Mégane Coupé to be overtly sporty, but despite its revised suspension (with its horned subframe) having stiffer spring and damper settings and being 12-mm lower to the ground, its ride, similar to the hatchback, is skewed towards comfort.

Expect the Mégane RS, which arrives here towards the middle of 2010 with around 186 kW on tap, to provide the requisite thrills.


For now, the Mégane range comprises two engines: the naturally aspirated 16-valve 1.6-litre engine and the 1.9-litre dCi turbodiesel. The Coupé will have to do with the petrol engine until an exciting all-new TCe 1.4-litre turbo engine joins the Mégane and Mégane Coupé line-ups from January 2010.

All models come standard with six-speed manual transmissions. However, Renault assures that, when it arrives, the 1.4 TCe will have shorter gear ratios for “more spirited performance”.

The 1.6 has a useful output of 83 kW and 151 Nm, but the turbodiesel, which produces 96 kW and 300 Nm, is by far the pick on the Highveld with its easy torque delivery from the lower rev ranges (1 750 r/min). The naturally aspirated 1.6, by comparison, felt a bit breathless and is probably more at home at sea level. However, for regular A-to-B pursuits, it should be adequate for most drivers.  

The turbocharged 1.4-litre, when it arrives in dealerships in January 2010, will have a little more go (96 kW and 190 Nm) with lower fuel consumption and emissions to boot. Indicative pricing is R245 000 for both hatch and Coupé models, but those quick to baulk should consider the high level of standard specification...

Look beyond the pricing, though, to see that what lies beneath the metal is perhaps more telling. Safety remains paramount and new Mégane is the twelfth Renault model to be awarded five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.

In fact, the new car is the first to be awarded full marks in the revised test. New Mégane is fitted with six airbags (including two new twin-chamber thorax/groin airbags), twin side impact sensors and new generation head restraints. ABS with emergency brake assist is standard, but electronic stability control with understeer control is an option.

The new Renault Mégane hatch and Mégane Coupé ranges are sold with a three-year/100 000 km warranty and a five-year/100 000 km service plan. Service intervals are at 15 000 km intervals.

1.6 16v Dynamique Hatch - R215 000
1.9 dCi Dynamique Hatch - R257 000
1.6 16v Dynamique Coupé - R220 000

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