Renault Mégane: old vs new

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Renault has always tried to make the Megane offer something different from the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Honda Civic. The first model was sleek and coupe-like (and came with coupe and convertible options), and it also allowed Renault to jump on the MPV bandwagon of the past by making it easier to create the original Renault Scenic. The mk2 Megane is distinguished by an unusual design at the rear and sharp lines.

Admittedly, the third-generation car didn’t make too much of a mark, but the about to be replaced fourth-generation Renault Mégane hatchback brought styling back and provided a striking alternative to the usual family hatches.

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Unfortunately for Renault, most buyers have stuck with the old favorites and this time around Renault is changing the formula more drastically than ever. The new Renault Mégane became a crossover, and gasoline and diesel engines were swapped for a fully electric powertrain. Instead of the Golf and the Peugeot 308, the Mégane E-Tech Electric faces the Volkswagen ID.3 and Peugeot e-2008.

But has the Megane improved by changing both its power source and body style? We compared the two to find out.

Motors and electric motors

The outgoing Renault Megane’s engine lineup was rather uninspiring for most of its selling time. The gasoline options were a 1.2-liter with 128 hp, or a 1.3-liter with 138 hp, depending on the age of the car. There is also a slightly better performing version in the form of the 202 hp GT but this is very rare. The one that appeals to enthusiasts is the Renault Megane RS with 276 hp or 296 hp, again depending on age and specifications. Besides the RS, the Mégane isn’t really a car for those interested in driving, thanks in part to the light, numb steering.

Diesel buyers are happy with the 113bhp 1.5-liter dCi, and this engine was the most efficient until the plug-in hybrid joined the lineup. It is capable of nearly 63 mpg, compared to 47 mpg for the 1.3 TCe gasoline. Gasoline has a more respectable 0-62 mph time, however, taking 9.4 seconds; diesel takes more than 11 seconds. At the time of writing, only the plug-in hybrid is available for purchase new; it combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor for an electric range of 30 miles and an official figure of 234 mpg.

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The new Renault Megane E-Tech Electric offers battery options of 40 kWh and 60 kWh, with respective ranges of 186 and 292 miles. The new Mégane is fun to drive, with quick acceleration, quick steering and very little body roll. Zero to 62 mph now takes 7.5 seconds, almost fast enough to support Renault’s claim that the car is a “hot electric sedan.”

Styling

C-shaped LED daytime running lights and a bold nose mean the Mégane still stands out, although it has been on sale since 2016. The side profile is rather more conventional, but the rear looks distinctive thanks to the lights that extend almost the entire width of the tailgate. . The RS Line models take part of the sporting intent of the full-powered Megane RS.

The electric Renault Mégane continues the tradition of daring style. Z-shaped light bars fall under the slim all-LED headlights, while the car has flowing-looking side panels and a rising window line. This high waist meets a sloping roof, some rear visibility is sacrificed for beauty. The Mégane also has glossy black wheel arches and gold detailing at each end, which is rare and may not be to everyone’s liking.

Interior

Renault has given the latest Mégane an impressive interior, the highlight of the top-of-the-range models being a large portrait touchscreen. Facelifted cars have physical climate dials, which are easier than using the screen, and there’s a neat digital instrument cluster. Material quality is good pretty much throughout the cabin, and even the Iconic trim comes with alloy wheels, satellite navigation, automatic headlights and wipers, and full parking sensors.

The outgoing Mégane doesn’t look as modern as the new Renault Clio and Renault Captur, but the E-Tech Electric version restores the balance, with a state-of-the-art look befitting the electric powertrain of the car. There are two large screens that are part of a large unit, which even includes the air vents. The touchscreen is still in portrait mode but is now tilted towards the driver. Recycled materials are used in some parts of the car and overall the materials used are more tactile than in the Volkswagen ID.3.

Practicality

The outgoing Mégane is surprisingly practical, with good amounts of head and leg room and a large trunk. On the rear shelf there are 384 liters to fill, which just beats the 380-liter Volkswagen Golf, although there is almost 100 liters of additional storage under the trunk floor. A Renault Mégane Sport Tourer station wagon is also available for buyers needing additional space, with up to 563 liters of space. It’s worth noting that the Megane E-Tech hybrid sedan only gets 304 liters, which means it has a smaller trunk than the Clio.

Renault has made it clear that the Mégane E-Tech Electric is being compared to the ID.3. But while the Mégane wins on interior quality, the ID.3 wins on passenger space. The rear-seat space is probably quite similar to that of the older car, so a little more legroom would be welcome, especially if the front seats are low. A 440-liter trunk is larger than that of the ID.3s and a false floor will be optional to facilitate the loading of bulky items.

Verdict

If you can charge the car at home, the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric wins this comparison. It’s cooler inside than outside, and the new powertrain elevates the car from just a mode of transportation to something you’ll enjoy driving. Prices are not yet confirmed; Expect it to cost more than the outgoing car, but higher upfront prices will be offset to some extent by lower running costs. The fact that the older Mégane is now only available as a plug-in hybrid doesn’t help its case as PHEV is expensive.

A used Renault Mégane is a good option if you are looking for a used sedan, not least because the prices are much lower than those of an equivalent Golf.

Discover used examples of the Renault Mégane for sale on BuyaCar.


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