Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - MOTORING -

PRICE The pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion started at $41,990 in 2010 and crept up to $43,990 by the end of 2016. The range starts at $44,990 plus on-roads for man­ual. Twin-clutch auto is avail­able for the first time, from $47,490.

TECH A large tablet-style touch­screen and fancy dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play give the cabin a lift. Su­per-bright LED head­lights make it easy to spot cor­ners at night. Front, rear and side sen­sors and rear-view cam­era mean you’re less likely to scratch the rims.

PER­FOR­MANCE De­spite the smaller 1.8litre turbo (pre­vi­ously 2.0) — and a heav­ier body — Re­nault says the new Me­gane is slightly quicker. Claimed 0-100km/h time for the auto is 5.8 sec­onds, quick for a front­drive car. We clocked 6.2 sec­onds in the auto and 6.0 in the man­ual.

DRIV­ING There is rear-wheel steer­ing (up to 2.7 de­grees) in cer­tain modes. Trick new sus­pen­sion is de­scribed as “a shock ab­sorber within a shock ab­sorber” to iron out the worst bumps. Auto gets launch con­trol and pad­dle-shifters. Me­chan­i­cal lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial was pre­vi­ously stan­dard, now it’s part of a $1490 op­tion pack.

DE­SIGN It’s longer, wider and lower than the pre­vi­ous model — and the Me­gane hatch on which it’s based. Purists will lament the loss of the three-door body but the five-door will broaden ap­peal. Front and rear fend­ers are wider than the donor hatch, hence the mus­cu­lar stance and big­ger foot­print.

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