Re­nault puts Me­gane on a higher plane

Albany Advertiser - - MOTORING - Derek Og­den

Re­nault has cre­ated a mod­ern dy­nasty of hot hatches on the back of a for­mi­da­ble For­mula One mo­tor rac­ing record: think Me­gane and Clio.

Now the French au­to­mo­tive gi­ant has added to the Me­gane fam­ily here with a wagon and sedan.

In com­par­i­son to the per­for­mance-based Me­gane hatch, with which it was born and bred, the new sedan is a stylish, pre­mium pack­aged, prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle, which is, once the steep­ish ini­tial out­lay is over­come, eco­nom­i­cal to live with.

It comes to Aus­tralia in two mod­els — Zen and In­tens — priced from $27,490 and $31,990 re­spec­tively, plus on road costs. Both fea­ture Re­nault’s seven-speed Ef­fi­cient Dual Clutch trans­mis­sion. Power comes from a 2.0-litre En­ergy TCe 130 tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, the “130” re­fer­ring to the horse­power (97kW) it puts out.

The Zen sedan can have an Ad­vanced Driver As­sis­tance Sys­tem Pack as an op­tion, which con­sists of ad­vanced emer­gency brak­ing in­ter-ur­ban and lane de­par­ture warn­ing, as well as a Sun­roof Pack with elec­tric sun­roof, au­to­matic dim­ming rear view mir­ror and sun vi­sor with il­lu­mi­nated mir­ror.

Front and cen­tre is a bold chrome grille wear­ing the Re­nault badge and link­ing head­lamp units wrapped in C-shaped LED day­time run­ning lights.

The em­pha­sised hor­i­zon­tal rear light treat­ment al­most meets in the mid­dle, giv­ing the sedan breadth to its looks from be­hind.

In pro­file the Me­gane sedan takes on the sleek form usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with a two-door sports coupe, its flared wheel arches adding to the ef­fect, wrap­ping around the lat­est de­sign 16-inch Sil­ver­line al­loy wheels.

While the Zen model misses out on mood LED light­ing and a stan­dard mul­tidrive ex­pe­ri­ence, there are plenty of de­sign fea­tures to put oc­cu­pants at ease. The dash­board is sleek with a non-scratch soft­touch fin­ish, while the steer­ing wheel can be op­tioned with a rich Nappa full-grain leather wrap.

Re­nault’s own R-Link 2 mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem con­trols mul­ti­ple func­tions via a seven-inch land­scape touch­screen (a larger 8.7inch tablet-style screen in the In­tens model).

R-Link 2 al­lows the choice of per­sonal home screens, vary­ing the size and po­si­tion of maps, ra­dio, con­tacts, nav­i­ga­tion and other func­tions. As with a smart­phone or com­puter, the Me­gane Sedan’s home screen can be ad­justed to pri­ori­tise in­for­ma­tion. Up to six user pro­files are avail­able, so mul­ti­ple driv­ers can have the sys­tem pre-set to their pref­er­ences.

Tur­bocharg­ing and fuel in­jec­tion give the en­gine the ca­pa­bil­ity of 97kW (130hp) at 5500 rpm and 205Nm from 2000 rpm, the same per­for­mance, says the maker, as a two-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated mo­tor.

The seven-speed Ef­fi­cient Dual

Clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion com­bines the com­fort of an au­to­matic and re­spon­sive­ness of a man­ual gear­box.

Zen driver and front pas­sen­ger en­joy the ben­e­fit of adap­tive and lat­eral pelvis and chest-level airbags, while front and rear cur­tain airbags are also in­cluded.

Ac­tive safety fea­tures in­clude elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS anti-lock brak­ing, emer­gency brake as­sist, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion and hill start as­sist.

The higher-spec In­tens model of- fers stan­dard Multi-Sense per­son­alised driver modes and in­te­rior am­bi­ence LED light­ing with five set­tings to match the mood.

The first thing to be said about the Me­gane sedan is how quiet the en­gine is at idle — si­lent al­most, re­quir­ing a quick look at the tacho to see if it’s even run­ning. Even un­der hard driv­ing the en­gine man­ages to keep the noise down.

That’s not the only pleas­ant sur­prise. A hands-free card has the doors unlocking and lock­ing au­to­mat­i­cally, while the boot lid opens via a kick mo­tion un­der the rear bumper or by a but­ton on the card.

This opens up an ex­pan­sive 503 litres of boot space, which with the 60:40 split rear bench seat folded frees up to 987 litres of load­ing space over al­most 2m in length.

The seat­ing is said to suit five adults, but four would be more com­fort­able on a longer jour­ney. Leg room in the rear is good, while head room is sur­pris­ingly sat­is­fac­tory con­sid­er­ing the roof’s slope.

As men­tioned, the tur­bocharged tech­nol­ogy of the en­gine errs on the side of econ­omy rather than out-and-out per­for­mance, the Me­gane mov­ing off the mark at a some­what steady pace.

We are told the best time to 100km/h comes up in 10.9 sec­onds.

Our test car recorded fuel con­sump­tion of 6.5 litres per 100km on a mix of ur­ban and high­way driv­ing.

While the word Zen im­plies a spir­i­tual na­ture to the new Re­nault Me­gane sedan, prac­ti­cal­ity and fuel econ­omy are the main­stays of the epony­mous model. Price-wise, this base vari­ant is in the up­per reaches of a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket, which could hold it back.

With sleek and sporty looks, the new Re­nault sedan plays down the per­for­mance side of its hot-hatch sib­lings.

The dash­board is sleek with a non-scratch soft-touch fin­ish.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The em­pha­sised hor­i­zon­tal rear light treat­ment al­most meets in the mid­dle.

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