Renault Megane 1.3 TCE Play 5dr Auto
Driving the hybrid in the Megane’s electric mode isn't quite the same as a full EV. It still changes gear, but so smoothly you won't notice unless you're looking for it. In suburban driving you can do about 25 miles like that, and the e-motor's 64bhp is enough for that sort of driving.
Dig deeper into the pedal and the engine wakes, giving 158bhp total. The most efficient way to drive is to use the save function if you're doing a fast section first, which prioritises the combustion engine and saves your electricity for later. This way you can revert to EV mode once you get to town.
Once the battery's depleted and you're in hybrid mode, the engine remains very quiet, and shifts gears smoothly. It's slightly odd at first because you can't predict when it will shut down altogether. Also, sometimes it chooses a lower gear than you were expecting (increasing the proportion of power from the engine), sometimes a higher one (when it's emphasising the e-motor). All depends on the battery's state of charge.
The system's aim is always to be using the engine fairly hard – to accelerate the car or charge the battery or a combination – or else shut it down altogether. All you need to know is that at a given speed, a given pressure of the throttle will get a corresponding degree of acceleration. And that, with 160bhp total, it's never a fireball. You also get a Sport mode, which keeps the engine lit and marginally quickens response, but it can sound thrashy and doesn’t really suit the car.
The latest version of the Megane maintains its recent family tradition of being fairly lethargic and roly poly at first, but following through reasonably keenly once you’re into the corner or the roundabout. There is of course the R.S. if you want driving thrills, but the standard car is more laidback about its business. A relaxed, composed, supple machine that'll lower your cortisol, not stimulate your adrenaline.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Look out for your regular round-up of news, reviews and offers in your inbox.
Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.