Peugeot 308 hatchback 2014 review
The all new Peugeot 308 has taken a step in the right direction by being more practical, more economical and arguably more desirable than the model in replaces.
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Renault has revised its Megane range, with a major facelift, an all-new turbo-petrol engine with more performance and significantly lower consumption and emissions than the outgoing unit, and has significantly increased the range of sporty models.
Renault is increasingly regarded as a sporting marque in Australia. The success of our own Daniel Ricciardo, in his Renault-powered Formula One car is certainly lifting the French marque's image.
Renault's design chief, Laurens van den Acker, is rapidly becoming a celebrity in the car styling field and the Megane range is the latest to benefit. The front has a large, upright Renault diamond badge on a black background, with the bonnet being cut out in the centre to make additional space for it.
The Renault Megane range uses the company's R-Link entertainment system based around a seven-inch touchscreen with voice commands and a home page that can be personalised by the user to minimise the amount of time the driver takes their eyes off the road.
During our initial test drives in northern NSW we found the new Renault front really stands out even when you're hundreds of metres from it. In this age of apparent conformity anything that gets away from the masses is a good thing.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The turbo-petrol TCe 130 horsepower engine can now be coupled with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, previously it has only been available with a six-speed manual. Given Australians continuing love affair with self-changing gearboxes this is sure to significantly increase sales.
This willing little 1.2-litre unit produces 97 kW of power and an impressive 205 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.6 litres per hundred kilometres, which is 28 per cent lower than from the old petrol engine. The 2.0-litre non-turbo petrol engine has been discontinued.
In 2012 Renault Australia introduced a diesel engine to the Megane hatch. The range has now been expanded to include the Megane GT-Line specifications, not only in the Megane hatch, but also in the station wagon. The 1.5-litre dCi 110 horsepower (93 kW) turbo-diesel has a fuel consumption figure of just 4.5 litres per hundred on the combined cycle. Its top torque of 240 Nm comes in from a usefully low 1750 rpm.
A year ago Renault Australia introduced the limited edition Megane GT220 station wagon, now the Megane GT220 hatch is also offered while the Megane GT220 wagon is now a standard model in the line-up.
The GT's 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine has a power output of 220 hp (162 kW) and torque is 340 Nm. The Megane GT220 has been timed at a zero to 100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds.
All Megane models are covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and five years roadside assist. Previously the GT and RS Renault Megane sports models had their warranty cut out at three years. In a welcome change of policy all that are sold new from July 1, 2014 have the same warranty and assist as the rest of the range.
Owners of the GT and RS ranges who bought their cars before July 1 this year are stuck with the shorter warranty period. Which seems likely to upset them. Not a smart move by the importers in our opinion as owners of any sports model tend to be the most enthusiastic and the greatest promoters of their marques…
All models have a five-star safety rating, which hardly comes as a surprise when you remember the French giant was the first ever to gain the maximum score.
There's something about French suspension design that appeals to those who enjoy both sportiness and comfort. Everyone else seems to lean in one direction or the other, but Renault manages to give excellent road grip and good feedback with minimal loss of comfort.
Even the GT220 in which we managed quite a few kilometres during the launch event wasn't overly upset by the rough and ready backroads we encountered in the hills at the top end of NSW. Handling is fluid and provides the sort of driving pleasure that makes owners keep coming back to Renault.
The GT220 engine is particularly strong and has plenty of midrange grunt with the manual gearbox significantly better than average for a front-wheel drive, with a good change feel and a nice selection of ratios.
Engine performance from the new 1.2-litre turbo-petrol unit is delightful. This little powerplant is more than willing to rev, yet is happy to trundle along at the bottom of the tacho if you ask it to do so.
|(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|