Far nicer to live with than a mk1 Focus
Small scratch on tailgate on delivery (polished out)
Fabulous car overall.
Comfortable, good looking in Sport Tourer guise, refined on the motorway, generous standard kit, solid build quality and astonishingly economical.
The little 1.5 dCi engine is all, but inaudible inside the car under 3,000 RPM, and punches well above its size (offering similar power and torque to VW's current 1.9 litre TDI unit), and gives very lively performance. Although you hear the turbo whistle up under the merest brush of the throttle, response is a little laggy under 2,000 RPM, but the 6 speed gearbox has quite close ratios (for a diesel) which means it's easy to keep it on boost. As a bonus, an 85 mph cruise sees just over 2,600 RPM on the rev counter.
Economy is astonishing. Unless you mercilessly thrash it, it never returns less than 50 mpg with 57-59 more likely on a run. In contrast to my old TDdi Focus which was more like 40 average and 47 on a run, yet was slower and far noisier.
My complaints about the Megane really are limited to two things. One is the handling. Although it's not bad, the power steering lacks feel and the understeer sets in far earlier and more doggedly than it ever did in the Focus.
That said, Renault clearly did their homework because the Megane is a far nicer companion on a long journey. Where the Focus was brilliant in the lanes, it was coarse, noisy, and tiring off them, and had truly appalling seats. Loping along the motorway or a fast A-road in the Megane, the relative lack of dynamics doesn't matter. Instead its superior refinement, more supple ride, vastly better performance and lower noise levels count for far more. Shame about the odd pedal position which can cause cramp in my right ankle on a long motorway run (complaint number 2)
Reliability faultless so far, although the myriad of electronics on the car does allow for plenty to go wrong. The keyless ignition seems gimmicky and the start button clearly has no physical link with the starter. On pressing the button, the car "boots" itself up, cranks the starter and sorts itself out. Clever, but ultimately rather pointless, and if it still works perfectly in 5 years time I will be amazed.
Overall though, the Megane continues to be a superb all rounder. The design has real flair (particularly next to the dull Ford Focus 2 and Golf 5), and I chose the Sport Tourer purely because I think it's far more handsome than the hatch. As a day to day runaround and motorway cruiser, it is as quiet, smooth and refined as any comparable car to come out of Germany. It's safe, cheap to buy, incredibly frugal and, touch wood, very reliable. Perfect family car material in other words. I'm well pleased so far.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th November, 2005