REVIEW DATE: 23 Jul 2010
The price is right for the Megane Generation models. Steve Walker takes a look.
Inflation is a terrible thing. The process through which the money you've earned is worth less and the things you want to buy cost more is a constant source of annoyance but short of dismantling the global economic system, there isn't a lot we can do about it. At least solace can be taken in the few occasions when something we'd quite like to buy gets cheaper. They don't come around very often but it's great when a glance at the price tag results in a pleasant surprise instead of dejected sigh. Renault is hoping to provoke just such a positive response with the Generation versions of its Megane family hatchback.
The Megane is Renault's answer to the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and quite a few other modern cars that would fall under the family hatchback classification. It's available in a range of bodystyles from the three-door coupe to a convertible and an estate but the Generation special edition models are offered only in the five-door Hatch form. The Hatch is the most affordable Megane and the Generation is now the most affordable Hatch by quite some margin.
There's a choice of petrol or diesel with the Generation special edition but only one of each and they're the Megane's least powerful units. The 98bhp petrol engine has a 1.6-litre capacity and a modest 150Nm of torque. It takes 10.9s to reach 60mph from a standstill and has a 118mph top speed. The 1.5 dCi 90 diesel has 89bhp and is significantly slower over the 0-60mph increment with a time over 12s but torque over 200Nm gives it more muscle in normal driving conditions.
".the French marque's impressive hatchback has grown significantly cheaper"
There are few flaws in the Megane driving experience. It lacks the last few degrees of sharpness and feedback that separate the best handling cars in the class from the rest but it changes direction and responds to steering inputs neatly. It stays flat in corners and refinement is also very good, even if the diesel engine is a little gruffer than the petrol.
The Megane has short front and rear overhangs, a long 2.64m wheelbase, a steeply-raked roofline and a wide track, all helping it appear planted on the road. It certainly exudes a feeling of much higher quality than its predecessor, with thin shut lines between the different body panels. Great care has also gone into the quality and finish of the materials used and there are nice touches like the soft-touch finish on the dashboard cowling that's resistant to daily knocks and the ageing effects of sunlight. The way that the windscreen wipers are concealed beneath the bonnet line is another neat feature.
The first thing you notice from behind the wheel is the innovative dashboard which features an analogue rev-counter alongside a digital speedometer incorporating the cruise control/speed limiter display. When this function is activated, the speed selected by the driver is shown at the top of the speedometer which is itself ringed by a sequence of lights arcing around the central display. In speed limiter mode, the red segment lights up as the speed increases, while the selected speed begins to flash if it's exceeded. Space in the cabin is unexceptional but the boot volume of 372 litres figures amongst the best in the segment.
The real draw of the Generation models is that price. They undercut the Extreme models that they replaced by £860 but for a limited period, Renault is offering a £3,000 discount on top of that. It means that the Megane Hatch can be had for the kind of price at which you'd struggle to get a decently-specified supermini.
Equipment levels for the Generation models don't represent the last word in high tech but there is a CD stereo with controls on the steering wheel and an AUX input. Air-conditioning is also included along with cruise control, a speed limiter, electric front windows and electric mirrors. ESC stability control is also included as standard.
There's quite a difference between the two engine options in terms of economy and emissions, with the petrol managing 42mpg and 159g/km, while the diesel comes up with mpg economy that's well into the sixties. The price differential between the two models is a rather hefty £1,760 so buyers will need to do their sums to establish whether its worth paying. Higher mileage drivers will probably take the diesel which will be a more satisfying engine most of the time.
Anyone who finds themselves getting frustrated with the constantly rising price of buying a new car will appreciate what Renault has done with the Generation versions of its Megane. Basically, the French marque's impressive hatchback has grown significantly cheaper and this is no stripped-out bargain basement model, there's value for money here too.
An equipment list that includes all the essentials and a choice of economical engines should attract customers to the Megane Generation models but it's the price that will really do the trick. For their money, buyers also get a top class family hatch with a very high class cabin and a driving experience that won't thrill like some but is without serious drawbacks.
The results below show the top MEGANE deals on buyacar
|Renault Megane 1.6 16V 110 Dynamique TomTom 3dr coupe|
|Price £13,771||Save £4,274|
|Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique TomTom 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £14,843||Save £4,902|
|Renault Megane 1.6 16V 110 Dynamique TomTom 5dr hatchback|
|Price £13,265||Save £4,280|
|Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique TomTom 5dr EDC diesel hatchback|
|Price £15,617||Save £5,178|
|Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique TomTom 3dr diesel coupe|
|Price £15,300||Save £4,945|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT MEGANE DEALS|
|For MEGANE GENERATION|
|OVERALL||7.2 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
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