RE­NAULT ME­GANE GT-LINE

Re­nault and Peu­geot go toe-to-toe in a French hatch match. Richard Black­burn awards a win­ner.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

The new Me­gane GT-Line is $4500 more than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion — and $10,000 more than the cheap­est Me­gane — but comes with plenty of gear to jus­tify the hike. There are front, side and rear park­ing sen­sors, sat­nav, dual-zone air­con, a sun­roof and change­able am­bi­ent light­ing. War­ranty pe­riod is gen­er­ous at 5 years/un­lim­ited km. Capped ser­vic­ing is due every 12 months/30,000km and is good value at $897.

DESIGN-TECH

The cabin has a sporty feel, thanks to heav­ily bol­stered al­can­tara and leather seats with blue high­lights. Blue car­bon fi­bre high­lights on the dash and door in­serts add to the theatre, as does the dig­i­tal speedo read­out which can be con­fig­ured dif­fer­ently de­pend­ing on tastes. You can choose from five am­bi­ent colours and there are al­loy ped­als. Our car came with an op­tional tablet-style cen­tre con­sole that looked up­mar­ket but was a bit fid­dly to nav­i­gate.

EN­GINE

It’s small and the power out­put is mod­est but the lit­tle 1.2-litre turbo has enough grunt for a lively drive. Ini­tial re­sponse is good and a sport but­ton al­lows you to change the throt­tle sen­si­tiv­ity, gear change points and steer­ing set­tings. It also gives the en­gine note more growl.

SAFETY

Hasn’t been crashed lo­cally but has six airbags and scored five stars in Euro­pean tests. Misses out on au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing but has blind spot warn­ing and re­vers­ing cam­era.

DRIV­ING

Around town the dual-clutch auto can be jerky and the sus­pen­sion strug­gles to ab­sorb bumps. At speed, the ride is just as lumpy and there’s plenty of road noise. More dis­con­cert­ing, though, is the way the front sus­pen­sion gets floaty over big­ger bumps. The car never feels com­fort­able or bal­anced on back roads.

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