Renault Megane’s mid-life GT-Line variants are for drivers who value on-road dynamics. It’s a smart formula
RENAULT has finally got a handle on what Australians want— and has launched a GT-Line variant of the Meganes to give it to us.
The hatch and newly introduced wagon join the lineup as part of a mid-life upgrade, prioritising driver involvement over vehicle acceleration. What they miss in a straight line they more than make up for when the roads twist and tighten.
Toss in a decent ride over broken surfaces and it’s easy to see why Renault Australia expects the GT-Line to give the Megane a decent kick in sales.
Entry starts at $26,490 for the 2.0-litre petrol hatch with a better-than-average continuously variable transmission. The 1.5-litre turbo diesel with a dual-clutch automatic adds $2500.
Step up to the leather-clad interior of the GT-Line Premium Pack versions and the petrol model is $29,990, diesel $32,490. Wagon versions of all models attract a $1500 premium. GT-Line versions are easily identified by the honeycomb front grille flanked by boomerang-shaped daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and a revised chassis and suspension tune. Beyond the heated leather seats, the Premium Pack adds a sunroof, reversing camera and driver assistance software.
The drivetrains carry over, making the Visio software the biggest innovation in the facelifted Meganes. The system uses windscreen-mounted cameras to scan the road ahead, automatically switching the headlights from high to low beam if it detects approaching lights, the tail-lights of a car ahead or street lights indicating the vehicle is in an urban area. There is a lane-departure warning chime if it detects the Megane crossing white lines.
The exterior styling still looks contemporary from any angle. Inside, the layout has some obvious shortcomings against the competition— including a marked absence of cupholders — the single drink stowage nestles at the front edge of the centre console so tall bottles or large cups of coffee, can block access to some of the controls for the audio. The overhauled sound system is operated with a logical joystick/button set-up between the seats.
Seats are wonderfully comfortable but the pedals are slightly offset to the right, not hugely, and drivers adjust swiftly. The wheel adjusts for reach and height but Carsguide suspects the inclined instrument panel may be prone to reflections with the sunroof open. A road test will tell.
Rear legroom is modest to the point not many adults will be prepared to spend much time there. That’s common in small cars so it’s more of a caution than a criticism.
Renault stacks up well on the safety front. ANCAP rates it a five-star and it earned a score of 35.83/37, with the local crash-tester noting of the offset test: The passenger compartment held its shape well . . . slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver.’’ Six airbags are standard and the fundamentals— steering, chassis and brakes— are good enough to avoid most problems in the first place.
The driving experience has been as sharply honed as the price on the GT-Line Meganes.