All eyes on the Mé­gane as Re­nault turns on the style

Best looker? Re­nault’s new coupé looks an­other win­ner, says Fred­eric Manby. The only rea­son I can think of to buy this coupé is be­cause of its ‘looks’.

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES -

I HAD been to see The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too. The film was just about per­fect if you can cope with some vivid vi­o­lence and vi­o­lent sex.

Stum­bling out, hum­ming with what I’d seen and heard, I made my way to where I thought I had left the Re­nault, out­side a city-cen­tre inn of char­ac­ter. It was a Sun­day night. Milling ear­ly­doors so­cialites were afoot. Three of them were in a semi-cir­cu­lar slow-mo trance.

At the fo­cus of their ra­dial stares was the Re­nault, white, speck­led with black sooty rain and one bird air­drop on the nose, looking ab­so­lutely gor­geous in the half-light.

Nor­mally, a click on the lock un­blip­per dis­en­tan­gles the gaze of strangers. I wish my ’97 Polo had it, if only to at­tract a bit of at­ten­tion. The three men on the beat were un­moved. They kept on ogling the Re­nault.

This Re­nault Mé­gane Coupé is ar­guably the best looking mass-mar­ket coupé of its time. The cu­ri­ous three­some were not alone. My sis­ter was smit­ten when I handed over trea­sured goods (our mother) in Wetherby.

She stepped from the er­mine white Mé­gane into my sis­ter’s ride, an early Clio in coal­field grey metal­lic with a leak­ing sun­roof rimmed in translu­cent gaffer tape.

This car, some 15 years old, gets thrashed on the 400 miles be­tween West Pen­with and the West Rid­ing, laden with or­ganic food and clob­ber.

Some Re­naults do not get good re­ports for reli­a­bil­ity. De­spite be­ing treated like a coolie, and unloved by its harsh mis­tress, the dull Clio has been okay, fol­low­ing one over­heat­ing cri­sis which I think was caused by a lack of reg­u­lar liq­uids.

Any­way, they went off to Stoke by Nay­land in the Clio and I turned the Mé­gane north-west, for Spof­forth. This road to­wards Har­ro­gate must have been tramped by some of the most ex­pen­sive tyres in the world. I mean, they are not ex­actly beg­ging on the pave­ments in this so­called Golden Tri­an­gle of prop­erty and land. The as­phalt had been tor­mented by thou­sands of op­u­lent 4x4s and it aroused a drone from the Con­ti­nen­tal tyres on the Re­nault.

Mostly, though, the car ran qui­etly and with suf­fi­cient speed to be al­most en­joy­able. Th­ese three-door coupés are not my thing. Most of them are only spa­cious enough for the rid­ers in the front.

You get as comfy as you can in the back, af­ter strug­gling through the di­min­ished door en­trance. In do­ing so, you must swivel around to sit down. That is un­less you can do the equiv­a­lent of the Fos­bury Flop, by go­ing in back­wards. Be warned, this is tricky and it is more than likely you can not pull it off, so to speak, or will trip and tear your nails as you clutch at straws.

The only rea­son I can think of to buy this coupé is be­cause of its “looks”. Its car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity is lim­ited by its shape, and the al­lo­ca­tion in the cabin for od­dments stor­age is poor.

Its ri­vals in­clude the Volvo C30, the Seat Leon Cupra and the Volk­swa­gen Sirocco. This lat­ter cer­tainly has good space in the rear seats but I have gone off it in a big way. Some hot wind blew over me a year ago when I tried it. I even dis­missed Audi’s TT in the process.

I feel I could keep lik­ing the Mé­gane. It is bet­ter looking than the Sirocco. It has a deep face that owes some­thing to Audi de­sign. I ad­mire its large dig­i­tal dis­play on a white dial, and the tachome­ter, which is red­lined in yel­low, which is Re­nault’s motorsport colour.

The TomTom nav­i­ga­tor was ac­cu­rate and blipped when speed cam­eras were lurk­ing, and gave the des­ig­nate max­i­mum speed for whichever road you were on.

The trip­me­ter showed that the pre­vi­ous 800 miles in var­i­ous hands had av­er­aged 33 miles a gal­lon. I re­set, and, without try­ing hard, got 36mpg in gen­eral motoring, most of it out of town.

This is a car for male and fe­male sin­gles or cou­ples. I’ve been through the three­doors-with-child phase and it is a po­ten­tial disc-slip­ping process, or you’ll tear a shoul­der lig­a­ment. Or lose your tem­per at least.

Pic­tures: Fred­eric Manby.

HEY, GOOD LOOKING: Re­nault Mé­gane Coupé.

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