New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Reader Test: Renault Megane RS

2008-03-13 10:30

Kevin Cadman

I purchased the Megane Renault Sport after experiencing endless woes with the clutch on the Golf 5 1.9TDI. I opted for the "car I've always wanted, but didn't have the guts to buy."

I've had the vehicle for 10 months and I seem to experience concomitant emotions of joy and frustration.

The car really is beautiful; it's wonderful to look at and equally wonderful to drive. Thrusting out 165kW and 300Nm of torque from a 2.0-litre petrol engine is remarkably impressive, even if the manufacturer figures are somewhat inflated.

The car rockets from 0-100 km/h in just under seven seconds (as opposed to the 6.5 claimed by Renault), although the impressive torque generated would lead you to believe it's closer to five seconds.

"Crazy car"

Drive quality is simply astounding. The suspension is exceptionally stiff; this is by no means a 'comfortable' ride.

The deep, bucket-like seats are both comfortable and supportive, leaving your backside firmly grounded even when the car is thrown into a sharp corner.

The interior is somewhat bland yet still appealing and shows that Renault has paid careful attention to the finer details. The red stitching holding the grey leather seats together, coupled with the red seatbelts make for a sporty look that no other hot hatch provides.

My favourite aspect of the car is that it is an absolute "crazy" car when you need it to be, but will handle nicely at lower revs and lower speeds. There's even some impressive torque around the 2000 r/min mark.

The good and the bad

Now, onto the annoyances:

The doors are far too big. The edges are fairly dinged because they simply swing open and need approximately 3M of clearance space. I estimate the doors to weigh about 150 kg a piece. This is most frustrating, especially for passengers entering into the rear compartment.

The FL indicator has stopped working for the second time. This is a common Renault problem.

The fuel consumption is astounding. Renault claims a combined average of only 8.8 l/100 km, but my experience would lead me to believe this is closer to the 13 l/100 km mark.

Even when I try driving conservatively, I simply can't get it below 11.5 l/100 km. This is seriously shocking as I really wouldn't have bought the car if I had known this.

Both rear tyre pressure sensors are faulty (and Renault didn't have stock at the last service).

Renault's implementation of traction control is appalling. I cannot turn it off and it really doesn't help when sliding in the wet.

Having lived with the sheer brilliance of the Golf 5's sound system, I find the Megane's to be decidedly average.

Some good, some bad

To sum it up, I would say I'm fairly happy.

I'm willing to "take the good with the bad", but I find the discrepancy with the claimed versus actual fuel consumption unacceptable.

The excellent drive experience somewhat mitigates this, but not enough to make it dismissible.

Oh, but it's always fun to leave those silly boy-racer types in the dust!


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