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  • quiet and responsive diesel, great ride and handling, interior fit and finish, styling, fuel economy and emissions, smooth shifts
  • dual clutch is smooth but could be quicker, no rear parking sensor option on Dynamique variant

6 / 10

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel 1.5-litre dCi 110 DPF diesel engine 81kW/240Nm, six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual-Clutch) transmission:

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Dynamique: $27,490
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Privilege: $32,490 (Manufacturer’s List Price)

It might only have a displacement of 1.5-litres of diesel power under the bonnet, but rest assured, it goes better than anything in the same class and does corners like most other Renault hatches – very, very, well.

Renault has just launched one of its most efficient small cars on the Australian market in the Renault Megane Hatch Diesel. It looks good, is competitively priced, is chock full of goodies, goes exceptionally well and offers outstanding fuel economy. What’s not to like?

It also represents a further push by Renault to create a strong value proposition for the brand in Australia. Earlier this year the French car company moved the new car warranties from 3 years unlimited to 5 years unlimited on passenger cars with further warranty extensions on the Renault Sport and light commercial vehicle ranges.

Renault Australia CEO, Justin Horcevar, has only been in the job for twelve months, but you get the impression that he’ll do whatever it takes to attract buyers to the Renault brand.

Already this year Renault sales are up by 100 per cent although, clearly that’s off a low base volume. That said sales year-to-date are 2,200 units with company ambitions at more like 3,500 units for the full year. Renault is still to launch the new Koleos SUV and new Master commercial van in 2011. In 2012, they will launch their first Electric Vehicle, which will be known as the ZE (Zero Emissions) Fluence in Australia.

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

For those of you who are largely unfamiliar with the Renault badge in this country, you can read on with the knowledge that Renault does what are considered to be some of the best handling hot hatches in the world.

We drove the Renault Megane RS 250 on track earlier this year and the entire motoring press corps in this country were unanimous in their praise for the car’s superglue grip and dynamics along with its ability to dissect a racetrack more capably than sports cars costing many thousands more.

On the road the Megane RS 250 is pure eye candy and comes loaded with a full suite of creature comforts and safety gear.

It’s the same story with the smaller Renault Clio R.S. 200 Cup or any of the other three R.S. editions available. They are so far ahead of the game in the handling department it’s just not funny. Put that down to some serious racing know-how and one of the most successful Formula One constructors and engine builder’s of all time. 2012 will see Renault supply engines to no less than four F1 teams. In fact, Renault is currently the largest manufacturer of race engines in the world. No small feat.

The real benefit to their efforts on track is Renault’s ability to engineer a superb chassis for their standard, daily driver road cars. That’s abundantly evident in the Megane and Clio model ranges.

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

Renault also excels when it comes to diesel engines and the new Megane Hatch Diesel will be another welcomed addition to the Megane line up here. Renault Australia have gone for one of the smaller diesel engines in the 1.5-litre powertrain, no doubt looking for the best possible compromise between fuel economy, emissions and performance.

While engine outputs of 81 kW/240Nm are nothing to write home about, the actual driving experience is anything but dull.

All 240 Newton-metres comes on-song from just 1750 rpm so there’s a plenty of pulling power to get this car moving along quite briskly on the open road. Throttle response is also good, so there’s little if any turbo lag during initial acceleration from a standing start.

Most impressive is just how well the Megane Hatch Diesel punches along a fast twisty section of country Victorian road. There would be few 1.5-litre diesel hatches of this size that could keep pace with it and the power delivery is very smooth.

It’s not just the engine either, the ride and handling is as good or better than anything in the small car segment, and that includes some very stiff competition from the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus, and the Peugeot 308.

The Megane Diesel weighs in at 1366 kilos, but quick paced changes in direction are precise, responsive and very predictable. There’s a lot of grip too. Put that down to a well-balanced chassis, which displays minimal roll angle even when pushed. Renault engineers have re-tuned the springs and dampers for better weight distribution of the heavier diesel powertrain and dual clutch system.

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

Stopping power has bee well catered for too with good pedal feel and surefooted braking even under constant load.

Renault has clearly worked hard on the NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) management of their diesel cars, as this would have to be close to the segment leader when it comes to quietness inside the cabin. It’s not that you can’t tell it’s a diesel, because that’s evident at idle and under initial acceleration, but at highway speeds the diesel clatter is entirely muffled. So much so, that my driving partner (from another media entity) was unanimous in our praise for how quiet the cabin is under load.

The Renault Megane hatch Diesel is also marks the debut of Renault’s dual-clutch system in Australia and is partly the reason why this diminutive diesel hatch is as much fun to drive as it is despite it’s ‘green’ ambitions.

The fact that Renault calls it an ‘Efficient Dual Clutch’ is indication alone that the emphasis is on efficiency and smoothness rather than trying for an F1 style shift pattern.

In fact, this is a dual clutch that feels more like a super-smooth automatic transmission, at least on the up-shifts. With gear changes occurring in 290 milliseconds it’s slower than the traditional dual clutch units used by the German manufacturers, but the benefits are silky smooth shifts and none of the low speed jerkiness that has been characteristic of those used by Volkswagen. Of course, the Renault system doesn’t shift anywhere near as quick, but that’s clearly not Renault’s focus with the Megane Diesel with it’s optimised ‘creep’ control, which means a smooth get away in stop/start traffic conditions.

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

It might not drive or handle like typical ‘green’ car but fuel consumption of 4.5L/100km (combined) for a car that hold four adults in relative comfort is commendable. That level of consumption translates into a paltry 117g/km of CO2 emissions using diesel fuel and naturally, the engine is Euro 5 compliant.

Also standard on the entry level Dynamique Megane Diesel is Hill Start Assist. It’s a brilliant feature that prevents the car from rolling back if you’re stopped on an incline. It’s almost essential kit these days with dual clutch systems, given the manual-like behaviour in such traffic conditions.

The third generation Megane is a stylish bit of kit even in non-Renault Sport guise, and the interior is just as nice. It’s not just the suite of standard features that makes this car a mandatory addition on many shopping lists, it’s also the superior quality of the various materials used throughout the trim that impresses us. Everything is soft touch but it’s more the high-end feel and touch of the dash material and metal highlights that we like.

Particularly attractive as well as useful given the proliferation of speed cameras these days, is the oversize digital speedometer and yellow tachometer needle. So to is the clearly designed centre stack with intuitive HVAC and audio controls.

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

The Sat Nav unit, which is part of the standard kit package on the Megane Diesel Privilege is reset into the dash and easily seen in all light conditions.

The seats themselves have a high level of bolster and even the fabric on the entry level Dynamique is superior to what you would find in same segment vehicles.

The standard features inventory on the entry level Megane Diesel Hatch including safety gear is extensive and includes the following:
The Dynamique specification includes:

• Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
• Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
• 6 airbags – dual front, side and front/rear curtain airbags
• Cruise control and speed limiter
• Automatic lights and windscreen wipers
• Fog lights
• Engine immobiliser
• “See me home” function headlights
• Renault Smart Key Card (hands-free entry and ignition start)
• Dark charcoal cloth upholstery
• Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob
• Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
• Variable power steering
• Height adjustable driver and passenger’s seats with driver lumbar support
• Adjustable front headrests
• Centre console with 12V power outlet at the rear
• Illuminated glove box
• Sunglasses case for driver
• Dual-zone climate control air conditioning with rear air vents
• Bluetooth with audio streaming
• 4×15 W AM/FM stereo (4 speakers /2 tweeters) with single CD/MP3 player and fingertip satellite controls
• Multimedia connection box with AUX input and USB support
• 60:40 split opening rear seats
• Body coloured, electric, heated, foldable door mirrors
• Satin chrome door handles
• 16-inch alloy wheels
• Full-size spare with steel rim

Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review

The range-topping Privilege adds:

• Rear parking sensors
• Black leather upholstery
• 4×30 W AM/FM 3D sound by Arkamys® (4 speakers /4 tweeters) with single CD/MP3 player and fingertip satellite controls
• Integrated satellite navigation
• Electric glass sunroof
• 17-inch alloy wheels
• Full-size spare with steel rim

In addition the new Mégane hatch diesel comes with 5-years/unlimited kilometres warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance.

The servicing interval is 15,000 km/one year.

Renault is serious about kick starting sales of the new Megane Hatch Diesel and is offering 2.9% financing along with 3 years free scheduled servicing for cars purchased until the end of October.

There’s a lot to like about the Megane Hatch Diesel and little if anything to whinge about. My guess is that it should be a big seller for Renault as long as they can get folks to take it for a test drive.

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Renault Megane Hatch Diesel Review
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  • PROJET – L

    Looks like they have hit a sweet spot with this car.
    Would like to see a diesel with a bit more grunt though.
    4 door RS diesel with the 127kw dci please.

  • Roadtard

    I like it.

  • nickdl

    Hugely underrated car in the segment and much nicer than its Fluence sedan sibling. Looks good and it seems as though the diesel is perfectly adequate for a car of this size. Interesting to note as well that it’s about 150kg lighter than a Focus diesel. Fuel economy is great and it’s great value for money. Very little to fault in the Megane overall.

  • Able

    Renault Aus it took you a few more centuries to add diesel power to the Megane range and you added the 81kW (not 118kW) diesel! Where’s the wagon, the coupe, the manual diesel/Privilege, the GT, the more powerful petrol (1.6T if I’m not mistaken) and a whole other amount of things. Not good enough!

    • me-all-day

      1.6 T is totally under-rated in this segment. Fuel efficient, plenty of torque and plenty of acceleration.
      Ford should sell it here in the Focus.
      VW have the 1.4L TSI but with the new engine to replace the 118TSI still having only 1.4L but only turbo charging, they should offer a 1.6T to compensate for the loss of the supercharger.
      Holden Cruze 1.4T likewise would do well with a moderate increase in CCs.
      A 1.6T (petrol) in the I30 would be a hoot too.
      The BMW 1.6L turbo (found in the Mini) shared with Citroen/Peugeot is a cracker.

    • Bangel

      This car is much like the golf blue tdi 1.6l 77kw , my bro changed his polo tdi 1.9, the grunt machine , for the blue motion golf, now he is disappointed in the performance should have spent the extra 2k and got the 103kw 2.0l, might be okay in europe but here underpowered , still the economy will be very good .

    • Mad Max

      I´ve been driving a 118 diesel wagon here in Germany the past couple of days and I´ve got to say its a great car. Plenty of room, very fuel efficient, handles well and on the Autobahn´s it goes very very well. I would have thought the wagon would sell well in Australia but Renualt Aus must not agree.

      • Bangel

        Lucky bugger max wish i was there , spent a great week in bavaria last year , gods country , missing the beer too .

  • o

    Finallly renault, you have realised if you sell you car at real prices it will sell.

    • F1MotoGP

      The price is OK because this could be made in Turkey just like the petrol version. I prefer made in Japan or Germany.

      • Viv R

        The old sedan was made in Turkey, this model is made in korea by Samsung.

        • Thomas

          It is made in Turkey numb nuts. The only models made by Renault Samsung is Fluence, Latitude and Koleos.

          The Tuurkish product is great, this is where Renaults Global model Meaganes, Trafic, Master and Kangoo come from.

  • Baddass

    “no auto-dimming rear vision mirror” seems like a pretty harsh call against a small car, especially since it isn’t elaborated upon in the rest of the piece.

    • Peter Stone

      Not when its this damn expensive!

      • Henry

        Even The Abarth 695 doesn’t come with one Peter….and thats $70k

        • Thomas

          Auto-dimming rear vision mirror is standard on the Privelege model.

  • Simon

    Looks like a great package, love the exterior and interior styling, and the 5 year unlimited km warranty puts (most) others to shame! Sound like the CEO knows how to sell cars, I hope it takes off.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

      This model is also made in Turkey NOT Korea

  • gti

    Are you people crazy? euro cars are for badge snobs and posers. Everyone knows that reliability and high resale are the sole domain of Japanese and Korean cars. just ask bugle. sorry, I meant bungal.

    • Bangel

      SO your driving a GTI daewoo/kia/hundi , there is such a thing as taste ,style, performance, available to those who aspire to more that white goods with suspect longevity .

      • R-Series

        haha.. you must be a Volvo drive Bangel.

  • Sam123

    (Formerly Sam 300TD. I now have a 240D as well so thought I should change the name!)

    It seems like a good car, great perhaps. On paper this car has everything that should have a guy like me excited but for some reason I find it hard to stay interested in it at all, even to read the the article. I’m not sure if its the styling that maybe I don’t warm to or if it is just to darned sensible for me.

  • 123321

    How’s the Reliability of Renaults like in 2011? I can live with the poor resale for exclusivity (coz no one else dares to buy 1). But I don’t want to be left stranded or constantly without a car.

    • steve

      Mate its French…

      • Sniper

        Mate its French… Renault is dispelling all the hearsay about reliability(by giving 5yr warranty/roadside assistance), Servicing costs (offering 3 yrs free servicing) and overall cost (reduced prices and increased features).

        Come in, test drive one then lets sit down and talk about what worries you about a Renault.

        • alan

          There is nothing wrong with the reliability of French cars. They have been around forever in the much bigger European market. I don’t know about the cost of spare parts though…that would be an issue to look at.

  • steve

    Wish they could list it with some decent alloys to make it look less mainstream and humdrum than it does now.

    • PROJET – L

      Accessories list on the website.
      You can dress one up pretty nice.

      • steve


  • Jerrycan

    Test drove the previous model sedan diesel and nearly bought it as it had the best ride/performance/price/features/economy mix, and the wife liked it.

    So why didn’t I? Well an internet search brought up a heap of complaints about unreliable electrics.

    The five year warranty will offset that but only time will tell if they have really knocked that on the head.
    The full size spare (steel does not matter) is a definite plus for Australia.

    I drive a 77kw/250 Nm diesel and have found the performance more than adequate with 2000 revs at speed limit and easy acceleration for overtaking.
    Even my daughter’s 1.3 litre Echo has more than enough performance to overtake.

    Maybe the need for more power has nothing to do with driving, just ego?

  • save it for the track

    80kW, 240Nm is more than adequate for most. Nothing wrong with those figures at all, quite likely much more driveable and flexible than a garden variety 4 speed auto Corolla…
    All of these small capacity diesels and turbo petrols are good enough for Europe, so why not Australia? Not everyone needs to tow a horse float or a boat, or carry more than two passengers frequently.

    • Yonny

      I agree. I see the 1.5 litre diesel as being more than adequate. Don’t really need a 2.2 litre diesel producing 110 Kw and 360 Nm (as per Mazda 3 diesel) in a small passenger car.

  • alan

    How ugly is the back.
    The French must have a licence to make ugly cars. Has always been like that.

  • 2ndeffort

    best car I’ve ever owned was a RS Clio 182. Worst hit on depreciation at the end of the lease as well. If these guys are serious about selling cars they need to address the ‘user chooser’ segment of the market, folks like me that lease a new car every 3 years in our salary package. I am in the market right now and would love to buy the Megane RS but I dont want the drama of trying to sell it in 3 years time. I’ll probably have to stick to a VW GTI or another WRX for retained value reasons. Do something to protect retained value and you’ll get a bigger share of the market.

  • N Horton

    I bought a new 1.5 DCI 110 auto a month ago, seems a great car, agree lumbar support

  • N Horton

    Only missing is seat warmers, but this Australia, its my 3rd Renault. Had 2 Scenics and no problems apart from the dash going Renault paid half, they should have paid the lot as it was a known Electrical problem, but I think they have got over these issues with the newer cars. It is a great car and the Sat nav works well. I took it up to Midura a 6 hour run.

  • N Horton

    Just an update I am now into my 5 month and no issues and I am getting about 850 klm around town you cannot complain at that, what petrol car can do that and at the moment diesel is cheaper, as it should be, than unleaded not premium unleaded.

  • N Horton

    Update. Had the car now over 13 months and no issues. Renault Australia is great for customer service if needed. Car is very good on diesel fuel very cost effective.

  • Robert

    I’ve had mine for 7 months. It is a beautiful car. I hopped into my friends new Carolla and thought his auto gearbox had gone because it was so jerky compared to the gearbox of the Megane. Another bonus, I’m at 12000kms and I still don’t have to worry about servicing it unlike my friend’s Carolla which is coming up to its second service at 10 months.

Renault Megane Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$12,320 - $14,000
Dealer Retail
$13,880 - $16,500
Dealer Trade
$9,800 - $11,200
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
195Nm @  3750rpm
Max. Power
103kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:680
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/60 R16
Rear Tyres
205/60 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Lower control arm, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Torsion bar, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Satellite Navigation
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Lower Scuttle
Country of Origin