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Renault Megane overall verdict
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It's obvious Renault has tried very hard with this new Megane. Quality and driving experience has definitely improved, but as a genuine Golf rival, it's not quite there.
New model is much improved over the old one, and the interior is a nice place to sit, and the ride is compliant.
At the moment there is only one engine choice; a 2.0-litre petrol with a class-averaging 102kW. No diesels yet, which is odd for Renault.
There's something to be said for not owning a Golf or Corolla, and the Megane's radical styling still seems pretty striking on Australian roads choking Japanese and Korean boxes.
Renault is desperate for its cars to be seen as VW rivals and so has worked hard on the interior's quality. As a result the perceived quality is above average in the class, although the new Golf still has the edge. So as your fingers rove over the many buttons, you'll enjoy the satisfying damped switch actions and soft surfaces cladding a solidly built interior.
Biggest improvement over the old model is the steering, which is accurate, progressive and nicely weighted. It even has some road feel, which these electro-assistance systems rarely manage. The handling is amusingly pliable too, and there's a strong sense of the rear wheels helping you round the turn. However, we did find the tail drifting outward when we lifted off the accelerator in a tight downhill bend, with the ESP on too. Yet the comfort is still okay, the Megane dealing nicely with the sharp potholes of town driving. The only issue is a lot of side rocking on fast, straight roads.
Plenty of room up front but the back seats have limited headroom for adults due to the sloping roofline. However, the boot is large and is a practical shape.
It's economical enough and contrary to many people's beliefs, Renaults aren't blindingly expensive to service. Won't have the depreciation-resistance of a Golf, though.