I have owned the car since the start of this year, and it's been fairly trouble free.
My car has the keyless entry system fitted, and the car would not lock using the little button located on the door handle, however it did still lock and unlock fine using the key card. However this was repaired very promptly by my local Renault dealer, and they even valeted the car when I came to collect it.
Also, there was one other minor problem, which was repaired at the same time as the central locking; the LCD display threw up a fault saying Electrical Fault (many of my friends joked about the usual french car electrics!), but it was merely a switch that had come loose on the clutch pedal, which is for the push button start (you either have to press the clutch or brake pedal to start the car). However the system still worked fine, and it was fixed without any fuss, and the fault was probably due to me catching the underside of the pedal whilst getting in/out with my foot.
Another minor problem was a small piece of plastic trim fell off in the foot well. Not major as it clipped back on with no fuss, but there is a die cast alloy component that it covers, and my friend burnt his leg on this, as it gets red hot!! This could be a problem if you had children for example riding in the front, but as I am a 20 year old single bloke, that's not too much of an issue!!
Despite the above faults, which in my opinion are quite minor, I love the car now more than when I first picked it up; it really is a joy to drive.
The self centring electric power steering does take a while to get used to, but after owning the car for a bit, it feels great, and it makes other cars feel like tanks!
The spec you get is OK as standard, but whoever ordered my car when it was new, must have been a bit bored when reading the options list. It has the glass roof (fantastic toy, passengers love it, and it looks cool when you are driving around in snow or rain at night!)
It has the electric climate control, which works very well with great ventilation in the passenger compartment.
Mine is also a red 3 door, and it comes with 10 air bags! It would be like a bouncy castle if I ever crashed!!
The car also has 17 inch wheels and the rear spoiler, which was fitted when new, so it really does look smart (trust me, you will get used to the ass if you're not a fan!).
I really love this car; even if I am stuck in a load of traffic in the clogged up Midlands, no journey is ever a chore.
However it's not a Bentley, so there are a few things which do annoy me. The seats do seem to get grubby quickly, so for family use, it could be a disadvantage with the 3 door. It is also a pain to reverse park, as you can't see anything!
If motorway and A road cruising is your thing, you would probably be better off with the dCi engine; far more refined on the motorway, as the petrol engined 1.6 does seem to rev quite high at 70-80mph, however I live in Shropshire, with lots of nice B roads!
That said, I think brand new the Megane probably would not be the best purchase, as they lose loads of money, and the new Astra/Focus/Golf/Civic are far better, however you have to look at the Megane as a previous generation car, as mine only cost £7,000 with 11,000 miles, and it's on an 04 plate from a main dealer, so 2 years warranty etc etc!
In my opinion, this car is more of a rival to the MK1 Focus, Mk 4 Astra, Mk4 Golf and Alfa 147 and Pug 307.
The Focus is probably a better drive, but it looks really dated now, and the inside of them is horrible! (reminds me of my dad's Escort van!)
The Mk 4 Astra is probably more reliable in the longer term, as Vauxhall engines seem to last forever (how many old Cavaliers do you still see being used as taxis, loads!) but no points for style or driving to the Astra (apart from the big engined versions, but hardly a fair comparison to a 1.6 Renault!)
The Mk4 Golf is probably the best made car for the £7K mark, but they all have higher miles, are very common, and look rather dull unless you have the V6 4Motion!
The 307 looks too weird. I know a couple of people which had 306 DTs and loved them, and then they had 307s, and wished they never made the swap!
And the Alfa, well I know someone who had one, and after 3 weeks the dashboard cracked! So I think that sums up the car!
Well back to the Renault. I do still love the Renault, it's pretty nippy, returns better MPG than my old 1.2 Punto I used to own, and it's nice to own something that doesn't look as boring as the standard euro boxes I mentioned earlier.
So to sum up the Big Arsed Renault, I think the car is a great package, not the best driver, but by no means poor, but that's why I own an '87 1.9 205 GTI as well! Build quality is very tight on the Renault, but electrical reliability is an issue, but if you're young and want a funky small hatch that will get noticed where a Focus would not, go for the Renault, and with group 5 insurance, you can't go wrong!