All in d’ac­cord

Af­ter the bub­ble-bum Me­gane came this al­to­gether more deco­rous de­vice

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@carsguide.com.au

NEW

IT’S fair to say Re­nault hasn’t set the world on fire since it re­turned to the lo­cal mar­ket in the 1990s. Rather, its out-there looks and over-the-top pric­ing has meant it has strug­gled to get any trac­tion with buy­ers.

But in 2010 the French brand changed its ap­proach with a new, sim­pli­fied Me­gane range that was bet­ter look­ing, bet­ter equipped and sub­stan­tially more af­ford­able. The new model was clearly still Euro­pean but the styling wasn’t as chal­leng­ing as the pre­vi­ous model and fit­ted in bet­ter with the ex­ist­ing mo­tor­ing land­scape.

The range was whit­tled down to two main mod­els, the en­try Dy­namique and the fully equipped Priv­i­lege, both five­door hatches, sup­ple­mented by a Cabri­o­let for sun-lovers and the three-door Sport hatch for thrillseekers.

All were well equipped. The Priv­i­lege had the long­est list of fea­tures, in­clud­ing leather, sun­roof, sat­nav and rear park­ing sen­sors. The safety pic­ture was five-star im­pres­sive with six airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS, emer­gency brak­ing, rollover pro­tec­tion on the con­vert­ible and auto wipers and head­lights.

A 2.0-litre pre­mi­um­slurp­ing four pro­vided the mo­ti­va­tion for the most part, but there was also the op­tion of a 1.5-litre turbo diesel. Sports fans were sat­is­fied with a 2.0litre tur­bocharged four fit­ted to the three-door.

The au­to­matic op­tion was a six-step CVT, the man­ual a six- speeder. The cabrio came only with the for­mer. On the road, the reg­u­lar Me­gane mod­els were quiet and com­fort­able and with aplomb soaked up ev­ery­thing Aus­tralian roads could dish out.

NOW

We get few com­plaints about Re­naults in gen­eral, and the Me­gane in par­tic­u­lar, but that could be ex­plained by the rel­a­tively low sales of the brand rather than a pos­i­tive en­dorse­ment of the car. Still, it’s worth not­ing when you go shop­ping that Re­nault own­ers ap­pear to be a con­tented lot. Nev­er­the­less we have heard com­plaints from own­ers who have trou­ble re­solv­ing is­sues. With that in mind it's a good idea to visit a num­ber of Re­nault deal­ers and get an idea of the ser­vice and back-up you might ex­pect to get from them if you sign up to the brand.

At the same time you should consult in­de­pen­dent Re­nault spe­cial­ists to get an un­bi­ased opin­ion. Gen­er­ally an in­de­pen­dent garage is a good place to have your car ser­viced as it doesn’t charge as much as a deal­er­ship. The me­chan­ics know the brand and any quirks in the cars, and they usu­ally know where to buy the most af­ford­able re­place­ment parts when needed.

If you are like most of us, and pre­fer to drive an au­to­matic it’s worth spend­ing some time at the wheel of a Me­gane to see whether the CVT is to your lik­ing. The essence of the CVT is to main­tain the en­gine in a given speed range to max­imise its ef­fi­ciency so it can some­times be off-putting to drive. The en­gine can ap­pear to be scream­ing its head off when in re­al­ity its work­ing as it should be. Re­mem­ber also that Re­nault rec­om­mends you use pre­mium un­leaded.

SMITHY SAYS

Worth a look, and much bet­ter than pre­vi­ous mod­els, but there are bet­ter buys around.

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