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Renault Megane CC

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Renault Megane CC
5/10

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Road Test

Renault Megane CC reviewed

Driven July 2010

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This new Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet is the last in the model range to sport the nipped, tucked and botoxed new face and, to the delight of the self-tan crowd, comes with a folding glass roof.

The car's bug-eyed mug and junk-in-the-trunk rump is prettier than its dowdy predecessor, and trumps rivals like the Focus CC and 308 CC, both of which resemble trolls that live under the tin-top bridge.

This becomes highly important for one reason - it's not much fun to drive. To remedy the roof lobotomy and its additional 160kg, Renault has given the Megane CC's hatch a lot of scaffolding: the front and rear springs have been stiffened by 13 and 17 per cent, as have the dampers, anti-roll bar and rear axle beam. None of this changes its wallowy body control.

Top down, threading the CC through tight country lanes reveals, predictably, scuttle shake, and a whole dollop of understeer. Turn in and the front wheels bite slowly and gradually, but push them too hard and you'll run wide. It never gets wildly unruly, but it lacks finesse.

With the roof up the Megane CC has commendable grip levels and feels sturdy, quiet and stable, but is beset with a lack of precision. Again, understeer and a little body roll informs you of the limit.

Keep the revs minimal and it morphs into a pleasant cruiser with good ride comfort. The steering is vague on the dead ahead and lacks fluidity and progression on the bends which, coupled with the ride, makes for an alienating experience.

You get a choice of engines, including a 130bhp 1.4-litre petrol, a 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesel or - the pick of the bunch - a 2.0-litre diesel with 160bhp and enough torque to pootle around in one gear all day long.

Opt for the 2.0-litre 140bhp petrol and you'll get Renault's new EDC auto as standard - a dual-clutch box in the vein of Volkswagen's DSG, engineered to shift quickly. But this is a long way from the brilliant DSG. Shift up and down using the lever (no wheel-mounted paddles here) and it takes a moment to ponder before engaging - irritating if you're pushing on, but not an issue for the target market who prefer idle cruising.

It's in such a state-of-mind that you should approach the Megane CC. There's plenty of space inside, the seats are comfortable and there's a smidge of space in the back for sprogs. What's more, you get an integrated TomTom system as standard, and with the roof down, there's little wind buffeting at up to 60mph, making for a calm cabin.

So despite Renault's talk of stiffer springs and precise handling, what you get is a comforting, soft, and - crucially - very pretty drop-top.

Vijay Pattni

On your drive for: £637pcm
Performance: 0-60mph in 9.4secs, max speed 134mph, 42.1mpg
Tech: 1995cc, 4cyl FWD, 160bhp, 280lb ft, 1625kg, 175g/km CO2

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