ME­GANE MAGIC

Fourth gen­er­a­tion re­vamp boosts Re­nault’s leg­endary hatch

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY PAUL CON­NOLLY

WHAT’S NEW? Re­nault’s new Me­gane hatch­back has been ef­fec­tively re­designed from the ground up for this, its fourth-gen­er­a­tion model.

It comes with a four-year war­ranty, six trim lev­els, a beau­ti­ful touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and some lively, yet ef­fi­cient, new en­gines.

The new Me­gane com­ple­ments ex­ist­ing sis­ter mod­els in an in­creas­ingly strong prod­uct range that shows Re­nault re­ally has re­dis­cov­ered its mojo.

Cars like the Ka­jar, Cap­tur, Twingo and the Re­nault­sport range are amongst the strong­est of­fer­ings in their seg­ments.

There’s more to come in the next 12 months, in­clud­ing a new Scenic, a re­vamped Clio and a com­pletely re­designed Koleos 4x4 which will over­write the mem­ory of its rather unloved pre­de­ces­sor.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE This fourth-gen­er­a­tion car ban­ishes any doubts about Re­nault’s abil­ity to re­vive the Me­gane: it’s a thor­oughly mod­ern, ef­fi­cient hi-tech car. And it’s a looker, too.

My test model, pro­vided by Charles Hurst Re­nault in Belfast, was a black Dy­namic S ver­sion with a dci 130 en­gine.

In truth, it’s a se­ri­ously good car, one that’s dif­fi­cult to crit­i­cise in any depth. Stylish, jammed with tech­nol­ogy and as good to drive as it is to look at.

Re­nault’s de­sign­ers have sculpted a fine-looking beast. It’s well-de­fined body creases, a sharp-looking front and hand­some rear end all com­bine into a lovely whole.

It’s 25mm lower than the pre­vi­ous model, 28mm longer and up to 47mm wider — lend­ing it a much more sporting look than be­fore.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL It’s sharp to drive as well as to look at: the steer­ing is light and re­spon­sive, the gear­ing nicely bal­anced and the ride taut with­out be­ing tight.

The 130 en­gine de­liv­ers enough punch for pretty much all oc­ca­sions and on the mo­tor­way it cruises beau­ti­fully.

Ef­fi­ciency lev­els have been greatly im­proved, with the most ef­fi­cient Me­gane de­liv­er­ing 76mpg (of­fi­cial fig­ure) and 96g/km of CO2. KIT AND TECH­NOL­OGY Inside the cabin you’ll im­me­di­ately no­tice the up­grade: not just the fancy new qual­ity ma­te­ri­als or the in­creased space. The Re­nault R Link 2 in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem trans­forms the dash into the hub of the car.

Re­nault has in­vested a lot of time, money and brain­power in the R Link sys­tem and it shows. Ba­si­cally, it’s like hav­ing an ipad em­bed­ded on your dash­board.

The touch-based op­er­a­tion is smooth and clear, the sat-nav is one of the best I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced, phone con­nec­tiv­ity is first class and the sound sys­tem par­tic­u­larly good.

The rest of the tech­nol­ogy is flaw­less. I’d par­tic­u­larly rec­om­mend the Blind Spot As­sist, which alerts you by way of an or­ange light in ei­ther wing mir­ror when a neigh­bour­ing ve­hi­cle en­ters your blind spot. Sim­ple but ef­fec­tive — and po­ten­tially a life-saver.

Re­gard­ing those trim lev­els, even en­try level mod­els are very well equipped. The roll call of stan­dard kit is ad­mirably long and in­cludes ABS brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, hill start as­sist and six airbags.

Ex­pres­sion+ trim adds fur­ther good­ies such as the 7-inch TFT in­stru­ment panel and a 4 x 20 watt DAB ra­dio. Trade up to Dynamique Nav trim for the R-link mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem in­clud­ing satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion with live traf­fic up­dates.

Dynamique S Nav will bring 17inch di­a­mond-cut al­loys and a rear park­ing cam­era to the party, plus an 8.7-inch ver­sion of that in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. Sig­na­ture Nav adds 18-inch di­a­mond-cut al­loys and black leather up­hol­stery. There’s also a sporty GTLine spec.

The new car adds some ex­tra load space over the old model, al­though there’s quite a large lip to the boot.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

Over­all, this is an ad­mirable re­launch. Ex­pect a Sport Tourer es­tate to fol­low soon and that Re­nault­sport ver­sion next year. This is a flex­i­ble car that will suit a range of users, from in­di­vid­u­als to fam­i­lies and busi­ness users.

Prices range from £16,600 for an Ex­pres­sion+ TCE 130 model to £25,500 for a GT Nav 205 Auto EDC. The Re­nault Me­gane range is also avail­able from £194.95 plus vat per month on Re­nault Busi­ness Finance Con­tract Hire. • THE all-new Re­nault Me­gane is avail­able from Charles Hurst (www. charleshurst­group.com) and other Re­nault deal­ers.

The new look to the Re­nault Me­gane makes it as aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing as it is to drive

The Re­nault Me­gane’s new dash­board has plenty of use­ful gad­gets for the driver, as well as lots to keep passengers en­ter­tained

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