Renault Megane 2017 review

Renault Megane GT-line wagon
Renault Megane GT-line wagon

The latest Megane wagon is a smart play by Renault Australia as it seeks out buyers who still want a traditional stationwagon rather than the bulky, high-riding SUVs most manufacturers now trot out as their only offerings in this field. 

This wagon is in the small/mid-size class and comes as part of an expansion of the Megane stable, which has also seen a sedan variant join the latest five-door hatchback which was released late last year. Along with these new variants, the hatches get a few extra features.

The wagon line-up has three models, all with turbo-petrol engines and a DSG transmission. The entry-level Zen grade (from $29,490 plus on-road costs) is relatively well equipped with six airbags, hill-start assist, rear-view camera plus front and rear parking sensors, a multimedia system with satellite navigation and a seven-inch touch-screen, eight-speaker audio, automatic headlights and rain- sensing wipers. It has a 97kW 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

The same engine is found in our test car, the GT-Line ($33,990 plus ORC) which has a slightly sporting flavour and some more upmarket touches. It also gets a better suite of safety features, including advanced emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, warning systems for lane departure, blind spot and distance plus side parking sensors and an Easy Park Assist system. There’s also a larger (8.7-inch) touch-screen, Alcantara imitation-suede upholstery, larger alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof.

The sporting choice of the Megane wagon line-up is the GT ($39,990 plus ORC), which is powered by a 151kW 1.6-litre petrol engine. It has a chassis and suspension from Renault Sport, an advanced gear-change system, R.S. drive mode, launch control and Renault’s 4CONTROL four-wheel-steering system.

Renault Megane GT-line wagon interior
Renault Megane GT-line wagon interior

Distinctively styled

Renault has come up with a very distinctive look for the Megane wagon, with a bold front featuring prominent LED daytime running lights and massive wrap-around tail lights, while the sharply sloping roof and upward sweeping waist create a tapering window line. As such it’s not the easiest vehicle to see out of, with thick pillars also creating a few blind spots, so the rear-view camera plus front, rear and side parking sensors and blind-spot monitor get a good workout. 

As a medium-size wagon, Megane’s cabin space is cosy, and apart from a couple of minor idiosyncrasies the controls and layout come together satisfactorily. Heavily bolstered sports-style front seats provide plenty of support and comfort but are fairly narrow and so won’t suit everyone. These high-sided seats and a modest door opening mean getting in and out isn’t all that easy. The rear seats are not as extreme but still have some shaping with a slightly raised centre section, meaning a third passenger in the middle won’t sit as comfortably as the other two. The width across the back seats will also be a limiting factor.

A usual consideration when buying a wagon is the luggage compartment, and Megane’s is useful at best. But what it does have is a handy variety of configurations and a clever flip-up divider. If the Premium Pack (with advanced audio and LED lighting) is optioned on the GT-Line, as it was on our car, the spare wheel is replaced by a tyre repair kit.

Pleasing performance

With the 1.2-litre turbo engine under the GT-Line’s bonnet, the 0-100km/h acceleration time (as quoted by Renault) is a leisurely 11.7 seconds. Yet with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission making good use of the strong mid-range torque – a peak of 205Nm is developed at 2000rpm – the performance in everyday driving is a pleasant surprise. It pulls well and feels far more responsive than might be expected from such a small engine. Renault’s MULTI-SENSE system provides five driving modes as well as the option to create your own customised driving profile, including lighting design and display combinations. An occasional slight hesitation on take-off, which is a characteristic of dual-clutch automatics as the turbo engine and transmission sort them­selves out, can be felt, but it’s not as severe as with most other similar set-ups.

Official fuel economy for the GT-Line is respectable 6.2L/100km but it does require premium-grade fuel. On test our car averaged 7.1L/100km. (Interestingly, the GT version with a larger and far more powerful engine boasts slightly better official fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km.)

The comfortably controlled ride is a little firm, while the handling is well mannered and secure but not as sporting as the GT-Line name suggests.

RENAULT MEGANE GT-LINE WAGON

Price

$33,990 + $2500 (est) ORC. Premium paint $600. Range $29,490-$39,990. 

Safety

6 airbags. Autonomous emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control. Lane-departure and blind-spot warnings. Reversing camera. Front/rear/side sensors. Auto lights/wipers. Daytime running lights. Tyre-pressure monitor. 

Connectivity 

8.7” touch-screen. Sat-nav. Bluetooth. AUX, 2 x USB inputs.

Vehicle features

Dual-zone climate control. Imitation-suede trim. Heated front seats. Panoramic sunroof. Roof rails. 

Driver features

Fully adjustable steering column. Keyless entry/start. Easy Park Assist. Electric folding/heated side mirrors.

Specifications

Drivetrain: 1198cc, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. Front-wheel drive. 7spd DSG. 97kW@ 5500rpm, 205Nm@2000rpm.

Performance: 0-100km/h, 11.7sec (Renault-supplied figure).

Fuel: 7.1L/100km (RACV test); 6.2L/100km (govt test). 50L tank. 95/98-RON petrol.

Wheels: 17” alloy, 205/50 R17 tyres. Temporary-use full-size spare.
Towing limits: 1300kg (braked trailer), 75kg towball load.

Environment: 139g/km CO2.

Service/repairs

12-month/15,000km services.
5yr/unlimited km warranty.

RACV Rating   

***1/2    

Written by Greg Hill
October 30, 2017

RACV can help

All your motoring needs are covered at racv.com.au, where you’ll find insurance, finance, road tests and great consumer aids such as running cost surveys and car-buying tips