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Renault Megane diesel 2011 review

Parlez-vous ee-con-o-mee? French car maker Renault now does with the launch of a super economical version of the Megane hatch. Powered by a small 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine it’s good for an impressive 4.5 litres/100km and 117g/km of C02 which is right up there with the best of them.

The launch of the Megane diesel also marks the debut of Renault’s first twin clutch robotised transmission in this country which it has labelled EDC for Efficient Dual Clutch.

Renault claims it offers a 17 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and engine emissions compared with conventional automatics. Apart from this, no other modifications have been made to achieve the outstanding result.

VALUE

Priced from $27,490 the entry Dynamique model represents excellent value. It’s roomy, has a large boot and comes with a full size spare. Rear legroom is also generous.

Standard kit includes alloys, twin zone climate, auto lights and wipers, cruise control (plus speed limiter), AUX and USB audio inputs, fingertip audio controls and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

For $5000 more, top of the range Privilege adds leather, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, larger 17 inch alloys, satellite navigation and a more powerful audio system. Apart from the additional equipment, the more expensive model is worth consideration if only for the way it drives.

DESIGN

The previous Megane was noted for its outrageous styling, with a rounded, bulbous rear end dubbed by many as a bustle. The look this time around is more mainstream and likely to appeal to more people which has got to be good for sales.

The inside is a bit drab, especially in the entry model with the use of some very plain black plastic in some areas - though we like the large digital speedo. For some reason the cruise control/speed limiter selector is hidden between the front seats.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s 4.3 metre long, weighs 1366kg and has a 2640mm wheelbase. The 1.5-litre dCi 110 turbo diesel is the same engine that can be found in Renault’s small Kangoo delivery van that we tested recently. It produces 81kW of power at 4000 revs and 240Nm of torque from a low 1750 revs.

The Getrag EDC six-speed, dry twin clutch transmission that works basically the same as other twin clutch setups, boasting fast changes with no loss of power between gears, delivering the efficiency of a manual and convenience of an auto.

Front suspension is Mac strut while the rear is a torsion beam setup. Being a diesel the car is inherently economical, but being smaller than the norm lends it a slight edge.

SAFETY

Safety has always been one of Renault’s strong suites and the Megane is no exception. Scores a full five stars for safety in crash tests, with six airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist as standard.

DRIVING

Goes a lot better than the engine’s small capacity might suggest. Good low to mid-range torque delivers a strong throttle response, but the transmission tends to move into high gear quickly to achieve better economy.

Flicking the gear selector across to manual mode really brings the car alive, allowing the driver to access full torque at all times for a much livelier driving experience - although pressed hard the transmission will eventually change up manual mode or no manual mode.

We were getting 6.7 litres/100km from the 60-litre tank after some hard driving but this dropped to 5.2 litres/100km after an easy run home.

The seats offer little support in the entry model and the car exhibits tyre squirm under load, while the Privilege with its taller wheels and lower profile tyres felt more planted, stable and comfortable to drive. Drive both before making a decision, or at least option the larger wheels.

VERDICT

A good choice for those in the market for comfortable, safe long distance commuter, but on the lookout for something with a bit more cache. The styling is a bit ordinary and the interior finish not as good as a Japanese car, but it ticks all the boxes. A five-year warranty, 2.9 per cent finance and, for the month of October, free three-year servicing - make this particular Renault a very safe bet. Competitors include Peugot’s 308, the VW Golf and the Mazda3 diesel.

Pricing guides

$9,999
Based on 13 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,990
Highest Price
$16,985

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $9,900 – 14,850 2011 Renault Megane 2011 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $5,000 – 7,700 2011 Renault Megane 2011 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Dynamique 1.5DCi 1.5L, Diesel, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $5,800 – 9,020 2011 Renault Megane 2011 Dynamique 1.5DCi Pricing and Specs
Privilege 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $6,000 – 9,240 2011 Renault Megane 2011 Privilege Pricing and Specs