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Renault Megane GT-Line 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Tim Robson road tests the new Renault Megane GT-Line with full specs, fuel consumption and verdict following its local launch in October this year.

Tim Robson road tests the new Renault Megane GT-Line with full specs, fuel consumption and verdict following its local launch in October this year.

Renault has, by its own admission, a lot of faith in the new Megane. Built on the Renault-Nissan CMF (Common Module Family) platform that also underpins Nissan's Qashqai and X-Trail, as well as the Renault Talisman luxury sedan in Europe, it's inherited a raft of build and style updates that should give it a point of difference in a me-too market segment dominated by the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3.

Design

The fourth-generation Megane was sketched up under the leadership of Renault's chief penman Laurens van den Acker, and manages to be unusual, handsome, feline and non-confrontational, all at the same time.

the bold front end allows it to stand apart from the crowd without looking like a concept car that's escaped from a motor show turntable.

The GT-Line is designed to offer all the good looks of the range-topping GT, so it scores the same sporty face as its more powerful sibling, along with exhaust garnishes and extra badging.

Its distinctive rear LED daytime running lamp sweep gives the Megane a genuine point of difference out on the road, while the bold front end allows it to stand apart from the crowd without looking like a concept car that's escaped from a motor show turntable.

Inside, it's a similar story, with seats based on the Europe-only Talisman and an airy, roomy, feel that's let down somewhat by a swathe of hard, off-shade black plastic around the passenger-side lower dash.

Price and features

The GT-Line comes in just one drivetrain configuration; a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine backed by a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. It's priced at $32,490 before on-road costs.

It comes standard with electric sunroof, a drive mode select switch with five modes and customisable interior ambient lighting, electric adjustable folding door mirrors, black Alcantara upholstery on the front sports seats with integrated headrests, blind spot warning system, parking assistance system, rear privacy glass and 17 inch alloy wheels.

There is also an optional premium pack that adds a portrait-aligned 8.7-inch touchscreen, Bose audio system and LED headlights.

Engine and transmission

The 97kW/205Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is a surprisingly adept little unit, even given the fact it's being asked to push almost 1400kg of hatchback.

Even on steep grades, it's rarely found wanting, and in steady-state cruising mode it's quiet and refined, with plenty of torque on tap.

The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox plays its part here, offering up the correct ratio in good time and in good order.

The GT-Line offers the same level of trim as the range-topping GT, and it's excellent.

As with most dual-clutchers, it can be caught out in low-speed situations when a gearshift could go one way or the other, but it's certainly on par with other gearboxes in the sector.

There are no overriding paddles to fall back on, although you can use the shifter itself in manual mode.

Fuel consumption

Renault claims the GT-Line will return 5.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, and emit 125g of CO2 per kilometre.

Our 520km of mixed-terrain testing saw a dash-indicated figure of 7.9L/100km, which is obviously at odds with the claimed figure.

Practicality

One of the Megane's selling points on the interior is that large portrait-oriented screen measuring 8.7 inches across (optional on the GT-Line).

While it works well enough, it takes some brain retraining to access the controls in a logical way. There's no option but to go through the screen; there is no touchpad or back up buttons as such.

Renault has kept the media controller switches behind the steering wheel on the right side.

Storage for mobile phones is excellent, with large devices fitting in under the dash easily. There are two USB slots and a 12-volt port, so it's well set up for the daily charging juggle.

A bottle holder resides in each door, and there are two cup holders up front with a sliding divider. Technically, there's a three-cup holder in the rear centre armrest, but it's more suited to two.

The soft-touch dash is very sculpted and very stylish, while a digital speedo with analogue controls either side offers the best of both worlds.

The GT-Line offers the same level of trim as the range-topping GT, and it's excellent. Sport-spec bolstered front seats are trimmed with Alcantara inserts, and it looks and feels very cool.

The soft-touch dash is very sculpted and very stylish, while a digital speedo with analogue controls either side offers the best of both worlds.

The stitching on the steering wheel is a bit rough under your thumb. It's an odd point to criticise, but you're always touching the steering wheel, so you always feel it. The blue faux carbon trim? Not a fan.

The sunroof fitted to the GT-Line as standard is in itself fine, but it's only covered by an opaque fabric cover, so on really bright days the interior of the car heats up rapidly. A darker cover would solve the issue.

The biggest impracticality with the Megane is an absolute lack of rear seating space. Even though it competes with cars like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, it has almost no room for even tweeny-age children, with very limited knee and toe room at even moderate front seat settings. There is a pair of ISOFIX baby seat mounts for smaller kids, though.

Boot space is a little above average for the category at 384 litres with the seats up.

Auto-up windows at all four corners is a nice touch, along with adjustable head rests in the rear and LED lighting throughout. There are no automatic seat flippers, though.

Driving

It doesn't look all that good on the spec sheet, but the Megane GT-Line spec is more than a few lines in a catalogue.

Its powertrain makes the most of its relatively modest outputs, doling out its torque in a long, flat curve to keep the GT-Line on the boil.

Inside, the GT-Line is quiet and composed, especially at touring pace.

Extensive work on stiffening the bodyshell - and tweaking the way the suspension hangs off it - has paid dividends, with the GT-Line offering a comfortable yet supportive ride over most types of terrain, with minimal body roll and good bump absorption.

Its 17-inch rims and 225/45 R17 tyres ride more nicely on broken tarmac than the 18s on the GT, as well. The steering response is sedate but sufficient, and it's well behaved under braking.

Inside, the GT-Line is quiet and composed, especially at touring pace, thanks to NVH reduction work. It's more docile than daring when push to comes to shove – but push is not what the GT-Line is all about.

Safety

The Megane GT-Line comes with blind spot warning, front and rear parking sensors, a rear camera, six airbags and a tyre pressure monitor.

Unfortunately, internal wrangling means that the Megane misses out – at least initially – on key safety gear like automatic emergency braking and radar cruise control that are fitted to European-spec cars, but Renault assures us it's coming.

It scored five stars out of five on the Euro NCAP scale, but it hasn't been rated locally by ANCAP yet.

Ownership

Renault Australia is working hard to dispel the myth that European cars are expensive to maintain, offering a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, five years of roadside service and a fixed-price service program that costs $299 per visit for the first three scheduled services.

Renault suggests a service interval of 12 months or 30,000km.

Verdict

It's a not-insignificant $6000 cheaper than the more powerful and sophisticated GT, but looks count for more than performance for a lot of people.

It's not as outlandishly stylish (or quirky) as Meganes of old, but that's probably a good thing. It's more subtle but still distinct.

Having the looks of the top-spec GT with the performance and economy of the lesser car is a good compromise. It may only be a 1.2-litre engine but it really doesn't feel like it.

Its biggest drawback is that it really can't seat four adults in comfort, but it'll suit a young couple with baby seat-bound young ones just fine.

Would you prefer a Megane GT Line to a Golf R-Line? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$18,420
Based on 53 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,990
Highest Price
$32,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $22,440 – 27,720 2016 Renault Megane 2016 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
GT-Line 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $13,950 – 22,990 2016 Renault Megane 2016 GT-Line Pricing and Specs
Authentique 1.5L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $14,740 – 19,360 2016 Renault Megane 2016 Authentique Pricing and Specs
GT 205 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $22,880 – 32,888 2016 Renault Megane 2016 GT 205 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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