Car Reviews Motoring

Renault Megane E-Tech Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The Renault Megane has been a popular family hatchback for years – and now the news is getting even better.

The Megane E-Tech is here, which means a fully-electric version of the car that originally darted into our lives “shaking that ass” on television is now available.

However, while the Megane retains its name, this isn’t a case of Renault ripping out the combustion engine and shoehorning in an electric motor as a replacement.

Instead, the vehicle has had a significant overhaul and is now based on an all-new platform used on the Nissan Ariya.

If you’re familiar with the Ariya, you may assume the Megane E-Tech is a bigger vehicle now, but although it looks like it is, it’s not all that large in the metal.

I tested the mid-range trim, Techno, which adds 20-inch alloys, and various Google services, including Google Maps. You also get grey fabric and black synthetic leather upholstery, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beam, dynamic indicators, dual-zone climate control, and automatic windscreen wipers.

On top of that, there’s wireless smartphone charging, height and electric lumbar adjustment in the front seats, adaptive cruise control/speed limiter and multi-sense. The latter feature provides customisable driving modes. There is also 48-colour ambient lighting, a shark-fin antenna, and several other safety systems.

Powering the car is a 220PS electric motor, fed by a 60kWh battery.

The Techno-trimmed test car starts from £38,495. Pricey, maybe – but the Megane has been given a fresh look, with more presence than before.

From the pictures, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a big SUV, although, as alluded to earlier, it’s smaller than that in practice. Indeed, its predecessor is slightly longer and broader, but the E-Tech is taller.

Inside, the cabin is well-designed, with lots of soft-to-the-touch, plush surfaces, while any hard, thin plastics are largely hidden from view. The seats are comfy, with lots of adjustment for them and the steering wheel.

Although there’s no SUV driving position in the Megane E-Tech, it’s still reasonably high compared with its direct rivals, thanks to the chunky stance of the car.

The front pillars aren’t the thinnest and are swept back, obstructing your view somewhat. Meanwhile, the rear posts are even more prominent, and the boot lid comes up quite far, meaning the rear window is shallow, further limiting visibility. Thankfully, my test car gets front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

Head and legroom are reasonable, accommodating even the tallest front seat occupants. The back has a bit less, partly because the floor is raised slightly to accommodate the batteries underneath.

Like many manufacturers today, the cabin layout has a sense of minimalism, with most controls buried within the infotainment screen. The screen is integrated within a single unit, forming an inverted L-shape that accommodates the digital instrument display. It can display digital versions of traditional dials, helpful information, and trip statistics, while navigation directions appear on a map.

The steering wheel is a somewhat unusual shape, sporting a flatter top and bottom compared with its more traditionally rounded sides.

With 0-62mph dealt with in 7.5 seconds, the Megane E-Tech feels sufficiently brisk, albeit not lightning quick.

Around town, it’s hushed, which almost seems at odds with the car’s ability to nip in and out of gaps on ring roads quickly.

Body roll in the bends is well controlled, and it feels agile, although you don’t have to push your luck too far to find the Megane’s limits.

You can adjust the ferocity of the regenerative braking by pulling paddles at the back of the steering wheel, helping to put some energy into the batteries.

The Megane E-Tech on test here has a claimed range of 280 miles. The maximum charging speed is 130kW, meaning a 10-80% top-up of the batteries takes about half an hour. Of course, a 7.4kW home wall box will take a good few hours to charge the Renault from 0-100%.

The Renault Megane E-Tech has been put through its paces by crash-testing experts at Euro NCAP and was awarded a five-star rating.

It scored 85% for adult occupants, 88% for children, 65% for vulnerable road users (for example, cyclists and pedestrians) and 79% for safety assists.

So, dads – if you’re after a small family electric car, or a second car for the school run, then the Megane E-Tech needs to be on your shopping list.

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