IN ADULTHOOD, the new Renault Megane has effected a slingshot manoeuvre to outdo itself.
Since it debut in 1995, the Megane has gone through changes that have thus far been unspectacular. But the fourth-generation of the French brand, made in its plant in Turkey, takes a different approach.
The 1.5T Privilege dCi Megane diesel sedan, tested here, is stylish, with design elements that will place it favourably against competitors in this space.
Leading With Looks
In terms of looks and features, it’s hard to fault the Megane’s philosophy. From the black-tinted full-glazed roof which tops the car to the C-shaped LED daytime running lights, there is a refinement that flows through the car. Remote access to the car — including popping the boot open by a kicking action — brings it up to speed with what many car brands already offer.
Once you’ve entered the car, you’ll feel a sense of space, especially in the backseats, and in the spacious boot. But it’s the front that dazzles.
A Dazzling Dash
The highlight of the car must be its centre display, an imposing 8.7″ vertical touchscreen multimedia and navigation system that requires involved engagement to fully master. Some may say its proportions are over compensating for any inadequacies, but it does provide a focal point for the car.
It has click-and drag movements and two-finger pinch-and-zoom features, and handles driving aids, air-conditioning, a slick multimedia system connected to a 3D sound system incorporating eight speakers, customised displays, driving modes, and if given half a chance, may make a pot of Turkish coffee.
There are positive and negative skin settings for this screen. The latter being more comfortable. When you switch over to positive skin, it’s like you’re staring at the sun.
In tandem with the multifunction steering you have good control of the cars features.
Engine Of Discontent
While small engines have been making a comeback with turbocharging, and diesel engines have been pulling things along, this is where the Megane doesn’t live up to the packaging.
Here, the Megane could have moved up several notches is in its drive and handling. Despite having five drive settings, the differentiation is vague. Normally, I’d leave things in Sport mode, but here, it doesn’t deliver the kick required.
In any case the Megane takes its time about going from 0-100kmh. It takes a leisurely 12 plus seconds, which seems to point towards a car that prefers things at boulevard pace. I found the drive in Eco and Comfort modes more pleasant; the ride was accommodating since the expectations of performance are relatively low.
But on the flip side, it also slows down on the fuel consumption, sipping just 3.7L for every 100km. That’s great for the wallet, until Singapore’s new emissions rulings kick in and the car industry is put into recovery mode again.
But for its price and looks, the Megane sedan has stolen a march on its competitors.
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Engine: Direct injection with Common Rail
Max Power: 82kW@4,000rpm
Max Torque: 250Nm@1,750rpm
Top Speed: 190kmh
Retail price: *$123,999
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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