ALL GAIN FROM THE MEGANE

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Bill Buys

THE aero­dy­namic hatch looks like a 2.0litre and goes bet­ter than a lot of other 2.0litres but Re­nault’s lat­est Megane Gtline ac­tu­ally has just 1.2litres of en­gine un­der its swoopy bon­net.

How­ever, a tur­bocharger and some smart en­gi­neer­ing give the mighty mouse mo­tor some se­ri­ous roar, while at the same time con­sum­ing com­par­a­tively lit­tle fuel.

The sexy French­mo­bile seems to com­bine a fine bal­ance of pep and econ­omy, while also pro­vid­ing good space, com­fort and a great many fea­tures for its $32,490 ask­ing price.

The Megane range starts with the $22,490 Life, then Zen at $5000 more, next comes the Gt-line, as tested, and the top one is the GT, a 1.6-litre turbo with quite a lot more punch, at $6000 more.

The Gt-line looks like the lat­ter and also has a leather-rimmed sports steer­ing wheel and body-hug­ging sports seats, but uses the same 1.2 mo­tor and seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­box as the Zen.

Stan­dard fare in­cludes Al­can­tara seats with heat­ing, cruise con­trol, power mir­rors, key­less auto-en­try and start, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol air-con­di­tion­ing and a 7.0-inch touch­screen with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion. There’s also Blue­tooth phone and au­dio stream­ing, an eight-speaker dig­i­tal ra­dio, slots for aux and USB, au­to­matic-dim­ming rear-view mir­ror, front park­ing sen­sors with auto park as­sist and elec­tric panoramic sun­roof.

That adds up to a lot of car. Typ­i­cal French fi­nesse is in the colours­e­lectable in­te­rior mood light­ing that il­lu­mi­nates the front and rear seat trim strips.

We also liked the key­less en­try thingo, a neat off-white plas­tic card that looks like a small cell­phone, which apart from un­lock­ing the doors and swing­ing the auto-fold­ing mir­rors out, al­lows you to ac­ti­vate the start but­ton. Tres classy.

Our test car came with the worth­while op­tion of a big­ger touch­screen, Bose au­dio and LED head­lights, which added just on $2000.

What does it drive like? Well, we were most im­pressed.

The 97kw/205nm en­gine is a true David slay­ing Go­liath unit, with peppy per­for­mance – zero to 100km/h in about 10 sec­onds – and the seven-speed au­to­matic is a honey.

Han­dling is top-drawer, with the steer­ing, sus­pen­sion and fat tyres on the 17-inch al­loys. The ride is quiet, comfy and com­posed and a keen driver will be de­lighted with the car’s in­her­ent sporty char­ac­ter.

The Megane Gt-line has an of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 5.6litres/100km, but we were happy with the 7.1 we got.

The sole item we didn’t care for were the thick A-pil­lars, which are com­mon these days in the pur­suit of a 5-star safety rat­ing, at the ex­pense of im­peded vi­sion.

Ver­dict: A very well equipped good looker with panache, great road man­ners and econ­omy. A 4.9 star sweetie.

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