Mar­vel at the Me­gane

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

ITH more than six mil­lion sold since 1995, it might be rea­son­able to as­sume the Re­nault Me­gane is a known quan­tity – well think again.

The re­cently-launched fourth gen­er­a­tion model is packed full of sur­prises that in turn de­light and in­trigue.

With the likes of the Ford Fo­cus, Vaux­hall As­tra and Peu­geot 308 in op­po­si­tion, Re­nault had to en­sure the lat­est Me­gane made a bold state­ment.

And it does, both in­side and out, with the ex­te­rior a quan­tum leap from its pre­de­ces­sor thanks to eye-catch­ing front and rear LED light de­signs, sculpted shoul­ders, tight curves and an im­pos­ing front grille fea­tur­ing the French car man­u­fac­turer’s di­a­mond-shaped badge.

Step in­side the fam­ily hatch­back and the tech­nol­ogy-rich cabin is at first a lit­tle over­whelm­ing with the huge 8.7-inch ver­ti­cally-mounted por­trait touch­screen dom­i­nat­ing pro­ceed­ings.

There is a lot of trial and er­ror if you are like me and fail to use the in­struc­tion man­ual pro­vided – but it is pretty log­i­cal, even to this old brain, so nav­i­gat­ing your way around its many graph­ics, apps and op­tions doesn’t take that long to mas­ter.

The lat­est Me­gane is the first Re­nault to be fit­ted with the com­pany’s Multi-Sense sys­tem which gives ac­cess to al­most all the car’s func­tions – in­clud­ing cli­mate con­trol, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and the ex­cel­lent mu­sic sys­tem – from the touch­screen.

If you want a car that makes you feel at home then the Me­gane is it, as there are seem­ingly lim­it­less choices to con­fig­ure it to your heart’s de­sire with sus­pen­sion stiff­ness, steer­ing and even the colour of the am­bi­ent light­ing all pos­si­ble to al­ter.

A daz­zling light show in the cabin mir­rors the LED dis­play out­side as chang­ing driv­ing modes al­ters the colours on the screen and the in­stru­ment panel de­pend­ing on the op­tion cho­sen with green, blue and red back­grounds for the eco, com­fort and sports set­tings.

There is a qual­ity feel to the in­te­rior with com­fort­able seats and plush ma­te­ri­als high­light­ing a de­cent fit and fin­ish.

A dizzy­ing ar­ray of en­gines are avail­able to pick from in­clud­ing a 202bhp GT hot hatch. The 110bhp diesel un­der the bon­net of the car I tested is a bit more se­date but of­fers ex­cel­lent fuel econ­omy and tax-bust­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

The 0-62mph time is of­fi­cially listed as 11.3 sec­onds, but the Me­gane feels a good bit faster than this away from the lights and is peace­ful and re­fined when cruis­ing on a mo­tor­way.

A smooth ride is guar­an­teed with the Me­gane more com­posed than Beethoven’s 5th Sym­phony so it hits the right note when ab­sorb­ing the many humps and hol­lows lit­ter­ing our roads th­ese days.

There is plenty of grip avail­able and the car is beau­ti­fully bal­anced mak­ing it an ag­ile per­former.

A host of safety sys­tems are in­cluded with the TFT in­stru­ment panel boast­ing a dis­tance warn­ing to dis­play how many sec­onds you are from the car in front – chang­ing from green to red as soon as you break the two sec­ond rule. Also in­cluded are lane de­par­ture warn­ing –which rum­bles omi­nously if you start to drift out of your lane – blind spot alerts and adap­tive cruise con­trol.

The lat­est Me­gane is tak­ing on some top-notch com­peti­tors, but its smart looks and tech­nol­ogy-stuffed in­te­rior should en­sure it adds sig­nif­i­cantly to the mil­lions of sales pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions have al­ready gar­nered.

TEST DRIVE RE­NAULT ME­GANE DYNAMIQUE S NAV DCI 110

MODEL: Re­nault Me­gane Dynamique S Nav dCi 110 PRICE: £20,400 ME­CHAN­I­CAL: 110bhp, 1461cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing front wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box MAX SPEED: 116mph 0-62MPH: 11.3 sec­onds COM­BINED MPG: 76.4 IN­SUR­ANCE GROUP: 21 CO2 EMIS­SIONS: 96g/km BIK RAT­ING: 19% WAR­RANTY: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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