Renault has won a hard-earned group of fans thanks to a succession of top notch hot hatches over the past few years putting them firmly at the top of the performance hatch tree. However the mass market has been a bit harder to win over and as a result Renault UK has dropped about half of the model range. The new Megane has made it through the cull and as a result needs to do well.
The first key to success in this class is to have an efficient diesel option, and here the Megane delivers in spades. The 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine blends decent performance with excellent fuel economy. With 192 lb.ft of torque available at 1,750 rpm it encourages an economical driving style whilst efficiency is further boosted by engine stop/start.
The interior is a typically French affair with a light and airy ambience. However unlike French hatchbacks of old there are plenty of high quality materials on show which provide a reassuringly solid feel. The Megane’s interior is a match for anything in this class although passengers will want to sit in the front, as the rear can be a little tight for longer journeys.
Fast Renaults are brilliant to drive but that hasn’t always transferred to the more conventional models. The Megane is no exception; in this specification it is good to drive but doesn’t sparkle. There is fun to be had but it isn’t as sharp as the class leaders. It is however decently refined and provides a good balance of fun and refinement.
The Renault Megane Expression+ might not quite be class-leading in some areas but it is a good all-round package. With the addition of Stop & Start, fuel economy is excellent, providing low running costs and this combined with the plush interior means that we would recommend that you check out the Megane before buying anything else.