Hats off to a cool cabrio

Good looks get Re­nault’s con­vert­ible over the fin­ish­ing line, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

CABRIOS are about look­ing cool, not feel­ing it, and on that ba­sis Re­nault’s top­less Me­gane is a win­ner.

As a coupe it’s a smart Euro-styled car with a huge glass roof, but it comes into its own when the hard­top is stowed for open-air mo­tor­ing.

Value

THE plea­sure of roof-down mo­tor­ing is a $16,000 pre­mium over the top­spec Me­gane hatch and adds 160kg to the weight. That puts it right in the run­ning for com­pact cabrio buy­ers.

The com­pe­ti­tion is fierce with the Ford Fo­cus, Holden As­tra and VW Eos all within $1000.

Beauty is in the eye of the be­holder, though, which is why Re­nault Aus­tralia ex­pects this car to grab a solid slice of the mar­ket.

Technology

THE Kar­mann-de­signed fold­ing hard­top isn’t the quick­est op­er­at­ing sys­tem on sale, but it does a good job of in­su­lat­ing the oc­cu­pants from ex­te­rior noise.

Re­nault also worked to qui­eten the car when sta­tion­ary and it gen­er­ally works — there isn’t a lot of noise if you’re stopped at the lights by your­self. The high waist­line helps block sound and make the oc­cu­pants feel se­cure.

Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes a sat­nav, aux­il­iary and USB in­puts, heated driver’s seat and heated ex­te­rior mir­rors, a glass wind de­flec­tor and an eight-speaker sound sys­tem.

Styling

THE coupe-cabri­o­let car­ries the Me­gane fam­ily’s front-end de­sign DNA and will earn fans for its clean lines. It looks good with the roof up and is hard to pick as a con­vert­ible.

The in­te­rior is smart and func­tional and the front seats au­to­mat­i­cally roll for­ward to in­crease ac­cess room for rear pas­sen­gers. Lift the lid and lines still flow, but boot space is then limited to a cou­ple of overnight bags.

Safety

CON­VERT­IBLES com­pro­mise safety — it’s hard to en­gi­neer as much struc­tural pro­tec­tion into a ve­hi­cle that doesn’t have a roof — but the Me­gane feels like a solid chunk of metal.

The B-pil­lar has been re­in­forced for more pro­tec­tion from a side-on hit and a pair of pop-up roof arches de­ploy in mil­lisec­onds if the sys­tem de­tects a rollover.

Day­time run­ning lights make the car more vis­i­ble and a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem will de­tect any loss of pres­sure if it be­comes a ma­jor drama.

Soft­ware runs from ABS with brake ass­sist and brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion to elec­tronic sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol.

Driv­ing

WATCH­ING the wind­screen flex by a cou­ple of mil­lime­tres as the roof re­leases doesn’t in­spire con­fi­dence, but the chas­sis is more than a match

A pretty filly: Re­nault’s Me­gane cabrio will turn heads in the spa re­sort carpark.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.