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Renault Megane 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
7
Paul Gover road tests and reviews the Renault Megane GT-Line hatch and wagon with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

The letters in the Renault alphabet that follow RS are GT. That's the way things are going as the French maker looks to capitalise on the success of its hard-edge Renault Sport models by putting extra driving enjoyment into other models.

Its latest work is the GT-Line, now available on both the Megane and Clio and finding plenty of support in Australia.

The five-door GT-Line hatch is the most popular model in the Megane line-up, even if buyers are really dreaming about an RS coupe when they drive their family car out of the showroom. 

There is also a wagon with the GT-Line upgrade, and buyers can choose between petrol and diesel engines to go with the double-clutch, six-speed automatic gearbox that turns the front wheels. Hatchback prices start from $26,990 for the petrol version and $28,490 for the wagon. So the walk-up on the Megane runs from standard to GT-Line, GT220 with an RS engine, and full-on Renault Sport.

To drive, the GT-Line is taut and enjoyable without making life too tough. The suspension is still compliant and controlled, but it's a car you can enjoy driving without worrying about torching your licence with the turbo-fuelled performance that comes in the RS.

My time with the latest French models covers all the bases, with a petrol hatch and diesel wagon. But, ironically, I can't sample the car I really want — a wagon with the eager 1.2-litre petrol engine.

The changes to the GT-Line bring a little visual bling and the tauter suspension, as well as 17-inch alloys, seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment package, leather wrapped wheel and gear lever, and tinted glass in the back.

So, apart from the performance, it's about value in a class where cars such as the Hyundai i30 — now available as an SR hatch from $27,990 and also as a Tourer wagon from $24,990 — take some beating.

"It's a stepping stone to the RS. The idea is that it's not a Renault Sport, and no-one ever says it will be, but it's got the sort of equipment that people enjoy," says Emily Fadeyev of Renault Australia. "We're giving people a choice with our Megane line-up. They can decide which car suits them."

I start off my back-to-back test in the diesel wagon, and I'm disappointed. The suspension gives great grip with back end, but the engine is dozy and it's not helped by a gearbox that seems set up for cruising. A pair of flappy paddles would make it easier to rouse the engine but there are none in this car.

Then I jump into the hatch and, voila, I have the performance I want. It is much more eager, both away from the lights and in corners, even without paddle changes for the auto. It's no surprise to me that the petrol engine is the preferred choice for about 70 per cent of GT-Line buyers.

So it's a little like the story of the Three Bears, except the "just right" car is missing. I know what it is, and where it is, but I can't drive it. It's also disappointing that Renault does not like Samsung phones.

At least, the Megane and Clio sold in Australia will not make a Bluetooth connection with the latest Galaxy S5, despite a troublefree hook-up to an Apple iPhone. I have tried in three cars now, a Clio and a pair of Meganes, without success. Renault Australia says it is trying to find the source of the problem but, for now, has no solution. 

Pricing guides

$14,694
Based on 46 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,799
Highest Price
$26,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $13,200 – 19,140 2014 Renault Megane 2014 (base) Pricing and Specs
CC Floride LE 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $16,000 – 22,220 2014 Renault Megane 2014 CC Floride LE Pricing and Specs
Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $14,400 – 20,240 2014 Renault Megane 2014 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Dynamique Summer Edition 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $13,600 – 19,690 2014 Renault Megane 2014 Dynamique Summer Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$7,799

Lowest price, based on 32 car listings in the last 6 months

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