Renault Megane updated

CarsGuide ·

9 January 2012

But there are no travel documents for Australia yet. The local arm of the French brand has apparently made a New Year's resolution to focus on the current Megane range for 2012 and Renault Australia's Emily Ambrosy says the facelifted Megane is not likely to appear in Australia this year but wouldn't detail a 2013 timeframe.

"We only introduced Megane hatch and RS250 into Australia at the end of 2010, for us it's still a relatively new vehicle to our line-up - because of that it is too early to confirm anything on timing, pricing, specification, or engines for our phase 2. We'll be focussing on our current product for 2012," she says.

Renault head-office has introduced changes to the Megane range, the most comprehensive of which dwell beneath the bonnet. The French marque is introducing three new engines to the Megane on its home turf.

The three new Energy engines have Stop and Start and brake energy recovery systems; the new Megane will bring with it the first direct-injection turbo petrol engine -  the Energy TCe 115 1.2-litre replaces the 1.6-litre 16V, producing  86kW and 190Nm of torque (up 4kW and 40Nm over the 1.6-litre engine), with fuel consumption down as much as 25 per cent to 5.3 litres/100km.

Megane MY12 will get two diesel engines - the dCi 110 and 130. The diesel Energy dCi 110 1.5-litre engine is the top-selling powerplant according to Renault, with fuel use down by 12 per cent to 3.8l/100km, a 20Nm jump in torque to 260Nm, with around 82kW of power.

The Energy dCi 130 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 79kW and 320Nm of torque, with a combined-cycle thirst of 4 litres/100km, a 20 per cent reduction. Small styling changes have been wrought on the front end, with the addition of  LED daytime running lights, a gloss-black bumper with chrome touches, as well as new-look wheel designs.

The interior options have grown to include a two-tone leather/alcantara pack available in three variations, as well as a Bose version and GT models with LED lights, a sports steering wheel and red-stitched sports trim.

Megane will be offered (at least in its home market for now) with the "Visio System" which uses a windscreen-mounted camera to control the use of high-beam (above 45km/h) when the level of lighting drops or when no cars are detected.

The camera is also used by the lane departure warning system, which monitors the car's road position and indicator use and warns the driver if the systems decides the driver is drifting across lanes.

Also on the features list for the new car is a hill-start assistance system, Bluetooth phone and audio link, USB input, satnav a rear camera, dual-zone climate control with an air quality sensor with automatic recirculation.

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The RS versions of the Megane also get an upgrade, with 11kW and 20Nm on offer when Sport mode is called up, as well as a revised soundtrack and interior trim improvements.

The Renault Megane, manufactured in Palencia, Spain, is the brand's top-selling model in Australia as well as globally - sales exceed 235,000 units worldwide in 2011 and 730,000 units since its launch at the end of 2008.

Megane MY12 will go on sale from March in Europe and then other markets - not including Australia - through the course of the year. Ms Ambrosy says the 2012 sales result of 3622 vehicles was the French brand's best Australian effort since 2002.

"The brand was reintroduced it in 2001 and sold 1960, in 2002 they sold 4572, it tapered off after that - it's exciting for us as it shows the new direction and product, which is a very affordable proposition and great value," she says.

The company has had an inconsistent history when it comes to quality and reliability but the new-generation product is aiming to change that.

"We're showing people how reliable it is with the five-year warranty - we're happy with our warranty claims. Since the new Koleos was introduced in 2008, we've had a decrease of 57 per cent in warranty claims, it's a tremendous turnaround for the brand," she says.

"We've just appointed a new LCV manager to drive that business, Renault LCVs are number one in Europe and has been for the last 12 years, they are great vans and we see huge potential in that area."

The light-commercial side of the ledger also improved, with a 72 per cent increase to 615 light commercial vehicles sales increase with 615 Trafic vans, with more to come on that front from the new Renault Master this year.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar was thrilled with the sales result. "This result is proof that our strategy of de-positioning our vehicles and providing greater value to our customers was the right approach for Renault Australia," he says.

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Written by

Stuart Martin

Published 9 January 2012