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  • Both models generously equipped; entry price for diesel auto; warranty; efficiency; cabin quality
  • Engine needs more refinement; vague steering; bouncy ride; tight back seat

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review

The Renault Megane is one of the newest entrants into Australia’s diesel-powered small-car market.

Launching locally in September 2011, the Renault Megane diesel joins the three-pronged petrol range, which arrived on our shores around one year earlier.

There are two diesel models to chose from: the entry-level Dynamique ($27,490 before on-road costs) and the more luxurious Privilege ($32,490).

That pricing puts the Megane diesel around the middle of its direct competitors (small diesels under $35,000), which spans from the $23,090 Hyundai i30 SX CRDi to the $34,490 Volkswagen Golf 103TDI Comfortline. Also available in that range is the Australian made Holden Cruze ($25,240) and the impressive Ford Focus ($30,500), and the Megane’s traditional French rivals, the Citroen C4 ($26,990) and the Peugeot 308 ($29,990).

Renault Australia’s current emphasis is on offering well-equipped, competitively priced cars, moving away from its premium European pricing of the past and resisting the temptation to offer cheap but sparsely appointed runabouts. Fortunately, the latest Megane diesel is a devoted disciple of the philosophy.

Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review

Crucially for some drivers, the Megane diesel comes standard with a self-shifting gearbox, making it one of the most inexpensive automatic-style diesels on the market. The six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) works much like the Golf’s DSG transmission and the Focus’s PowerShift unit. Renault Australia does not offer a manual option with its diesel engine.

The Dynamique dCi is tremendously equipped for the price. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels (with full-size steel spare), automatic headlights and wipers, fog lights, hands-free entry and push-button start, cruise control with speed limiter, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, height and reach adjustable leather steering wheel, and a four-speaker audio system with CD player, AUX/USB ports and Bluetooth with audio streaming. Metallic paint costs an extra $800 while satellite navigation will set you back $1490.

With all that kit, the Megane Dynamique dCi is a close competitor for the Golf 103TDI DSG, yet costs $7000 less.

Your other option is the Privilege dCi. For an additional $5000, you get larger, 17-inch alloys (again with a full-size steel spare), rear parking sensors, sunroof, leather upholstery, satellite navigation and an upgraded sound system. It’s another generous package that puts the Megane at the top of its class for standard features and value for money.

Additionally, the Megane scored the maximum five-star safety rating when crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2008, and all models sold in Australia are equipped with six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control.

Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review

And any fears of that infamous French unreliability should be put at ease by the five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and five-year 24-hour roadside assistance, which is a level of aftersales protection unsurpassed by any other manufacturer in Australia.

So the Renault Megane diesel is the perfect car? Well, no, not exactly.

Let’s begin with the engine. It’s a particularly rattly 1.5-litre turbocharged unit with 81kW of power (at 4000rpm) and 240Nm of torque (at 1750rpm). A clattery sound invades the cabin when the revs climb above 2000rpm, making the engine sound exasperated and slightly agricultural. There’s some lag when you step on the throttle, although you’re rewarded with a surprisingly throaty tone when you reach the higher realms of the rev range. In terms of refinement the Megane diesel is off the pace of segment leaders like the Golf and Focus, and rougher still than others like the 308 and C4. The cabin is otherwise quiet, with no disturbing road or wind noise.

The transmission is a smooth shifter and exhibits little of the low-speed uncertainty common among some other dual-clutch units. It has a peculiar tendency to hang onto gears longer than it needs to, however, almost as if a ‘sport mode’ has been selected, which is somewhat counterintuitive for a diesel targeting maximum fuel economy.

Regardless, the Megane diesel’s fuel consumption is officially rated at 4.5 litres per 100km, putting it among the most efficient cars in its class. We achieved 7.5L/100km over a week of almost exclusively city and suburban driving – a commendable result considering the lack of freeway kilometres.

Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review

The steering is generally light and has a lack of feedback and feel. There’s an inconsistency in the steering weight around corners – sometimes light, sometimes heavy – and this unpredictability is exacerbated on inclines and downhill sections. Positively, the electric power steering lightens up at low speeds, making parking and tight spots easy to negotiate.

The suspension doesn’t quite spring back quick enough, leading to a bouncy ride over imperfect surfaces. The C4 is also guilty of this, while cars like the Golf, Focus and Mazda3 are far better at absorbing the bumps and producing a sturdy ride.

The cabin has a high quality, refined feel. Soft-touch plastics are used across the dashboard and doorsills, while the hard plastics on the centre console have a nice smooth texture. The layout is clean and ergonomically sound, and the large digital speedo is good for quick glances. The TomTom sat-nav is among the more user-friendly integrated systems on the market.

The driver’s seat is comfortable and most should find their sweet spot easily. Visibility is good enough although the rear pillars are quite thick and the back windscreen is rather small.

The back seat is not as accommodating as some other small hatches. Those above 5’10’’ will struggle for head room, while knee room also becomes an issue with taller occupants in the front.

The boot floor is flat and wide, and its 360-litre capacity is about average for its class. The 60:40 split rear seats fold forwards to expand the boot but are quite limited in their movement and don’t come close to folding flat.

Renault Megane Review
Renault Megane Review

If you’re in the market for a small diesel hatch with strong driving dynamics, you will be better served looking beyond the Megane to the Golf and Focus. For those who place more emphasis on high equipment levels, fuel efficiency and a long warranty, however, the little Renault diesel makes a strong case.


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RENAULT M.G.NE BREAKDOWN

Renault Megane Review
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  • Nick

    We have a petrol Fluence, so I can’t speak for the diesel engine, but we couldn’t love it more. So nice.

    • Guest1

      The Fluence uses the Nissan 2.0L petrol engine and transmission/Jatco (Japanese Transmission Co) CVT, same as the drive train in the Nissan Dualis/Xtrail 2.0. Of course you couldn’t love it more. This diesel on the other hand is a Renault engine which I would stay far away. 

      • Zic69

        How do you know Guest1? Have you had a Renault diesel before??
        Probably not… Renault builds one of the best diesel engines in the world. I know that for a fact beacause a use to have a megane (sedan version) 1.5l engine.
        So stop saying stupid things and grow the f up.

        • Mariano

           Very true, very true my friend.
          After owning VW, Audi, BMW, 2 different generations Megane, and one Laguna (all of which diesels), let me confirm you quite steadily – there is no better diesel engine than renault (combined, noise, dynamics, economy, price, reliability).

      • Martin

        nothing wrong with Renault petrols or diesels, and the new ones coming soon in new Megane and Clio, will benchmark low fuel consumption.

    • Johnson

      I just had flatulence, so nice

    • Happy Fluence owner

      I recently traded in my mazda 3 and bought a fluence privilege and cannot be happier! love the new car, it is so technologically advanced and well equipped with everything that you can think of in a car. The Fluence is great value for money, the Mazda 3 was very basic and poor value compared to this. (Mazda has less equipment, less warranty, less road side assist, less fuel efficiency but more expensive.). A friend from the UK says Renaults are everywhere over there, not sure why in here it itsn’t. The reliability should not be a problem with Nissan parts.

  • Joe

    I sometimes wonder whether the reviewers actually drive the same cars as we mere mortals because my daughter shopped her new Megane against the Golf and it was particularly in dynamics that the Golf lost out……and also because of the Golf’s dire reliability record. Her petrol Megane is quieter, better riding, less understeer, cheaper, better warranty, MUCH better looking and finished in the cabin…..personal opinion of course, but the Golf is ridiculously over-rated

    • Ima_Hogg

      Hate to tell you but Renault’s reliabity record is a lot worse than VW. I think VW are trash too but Renault’s is a Lots worse.

      • OGU

        on what basis can you make this claim? it is unfounded. Do you have access to the manufacturers warranty data? Given that Nissan and other auto brands use Renault Diesel (GM & MB) engines. Not to mention that 30% of the F1 grid is powered by Renault engines, including constructors championship winning car!

        • Ima_Hogg

          I have had a Renault and Golf. My Golf was very unreliable but my Renault was a complete lemon. Most people would agree with me. Everybody knows French cars are complete junk. In the beginning they may be alright but as they reach the 6 year old mark is when they turn nasty.  As for the F1 comment, it has nothing to do with road cars. As for myself I would buy the megane but for reliability it would have to be the Lancer.

          • Johnson

            Lancer? Inspired choice, you must be the life of the party.

          • Ima_Hogg

            If you wanted a reliable car you would choose the Lancer. If you want to be the life of the party buy the Megane or Golf.

          • FanBoi

            Want reliability? get a Corolla mate!

          • Stevo

            Lancer FFS!  Shame on you! Take that Alfa symbol off your profile.

          • OGU

            Rubbish…. Head in the sand.
            So the second largest sales company in Europe, also number 1 in commercial vehicles 14 years straight and the 4th larger group in the world are junk because you had one! Maybe you should offer up the VIN so someone can verify the warranty history of your troubles car. Speaking of which Renault is the only Euro brand in Australia to offer a factory 5 year warranty. Without a price premium. Hardly the actions of a poor quality car company.
            Every auto brand has had models with more issues than others…. But your generalist statements are unfounded.
            As for F1 tech not making it to the road… Do some research. The list of innovations are long.

          • Ima_Hogg

            Looks like this site has way too many fan boys. Yes my golf and many other peoples Volkswagens have been very unreliable. So what if they are in the top 5 manufactures. Doesn’t mean they make reliable cars. Yeah f1 innovations go into the car not reliability. Yes vw probably make the most reliable European cars. How are my statements unfounded? And to @Stevo no I wonder take my Alfa badge off my profile because I would take a Mitsubishi for reliability.

          • Thrillhouse

            Sorry OGU, but he’s right. In the years I was running a workshop in the UK, no vehicles came in with more problems than modern Renaults. Audi were the next most common with catastrophic problems.

          • Phil

            Hogg, your talking about reliability records and say Mitsubishi is best?

            Geez, go look at the records, Mitsubishi constantly fall at the bottom of the reliability surveys – usually well below VW.
            Check out Alfa Romeo while your’re there too – you’ll find them at the bottom with Mitsubishi.

          • Ima_Hogg

            @parma&pot… Mitsubishi do make the most reliable cars. Look at the 380 and the magnas before it. I’m quoting what Renaults from 5 years ago were like.

          • Gpa660

            “Everybody knows French cars are complete junk”. – so why did you buy it???

          • Ima_Hogg

            Because I for one these days don’t keep a car very long for it to break. I used to but I don’t anymore. For me max years for a car is 4.

          • Theodora

            Just 6 years you say…. hmmm I wonder why my 13 years old diesel Megane still rolls w/o any serious issues!
            Keep your comments in your pocket please

          • Ima_Hogg

            :@

      • Parma&Pot….

        Renaults reliability is SO BAD they are the ONLY european car company to offer a 5 year warranty!!! But hang on you just said…..

    • Johnson

      Dire? Where is theis record you speak of? Written evidence please..

  • Jon

    VW Golf is the only one that sells a Diesel turbo 6 speed manual.

    • Phil

      Crude, Mazda3, Octavia, 1 series all offering with 6 speed manual turbo diesels.
      Peugeot and Citroen also offer Australians several comparable models with a 6 speed manual diesels.

    • filippo

      With the Golf though you need to buy the GTD as VW now only import automatic TDIs.

      • Phil

        They’re still offering the Bluemotion TDI which is manual only (5 speed).

  • Henry F

    Are these manufactured in France, or South Korea like the Koleos?

    • Golfschwein

      Turkey! And the Fluence sedans come from Korea. I think. Something like that, anyway.

      • Henry F

        Thanks Golfschwein! Was thinking about buying one of these as a 2nd car, but think I’d rather pay a bit more of a premium for a German-built car even it had a little fewer features..

        • Jerrycan

          Think you will find that some of the lower end golf variants are built in South Africa.
          A lot of the golf V were and they had lots of reliabilty issues.
          At least the Megane has a 5 year warranty.

      • Numanthepostman

        Megane sedan comes from turkey.

    • F1MotoGP

       Renault Fluence in Turkey. Koleos in Korea, Latitude Korea, Megane Dynamique III X32 Turkey but Megane Sport 250 in France

      • Tony

        You say “France” like it is a good thing.  Wasnt that long ago any car assembled in France was to be avoided…

        Got to love that Megane 265 sport though, almost supernatural on a track – no front wheel drive car should be able to grip and handle that well!

  • Tony

    CarAdvice, a correction required – 110bhp (81kW), not 110kW.

  • Kkupadman

    Yes. It should be 81kW and not 110kW. Big oversight by the author.

    I think we can thank Nissan’s engine and transmission for the Megane’s good reliability these days

    • Golfschwein

      Except….these are Renault’s own engines, aren’t they? It’s not as if they’re new to the game, after all.

      • Tony

         yes the 1.5L diesel is a very successful Renault engine, and is also used in
        the Dualis in Europe.  However in the last 12 months it has been superceded by a
        new generation 1.6L diesel, (also available in the Dualis) which is much more
        refined, produces 15% more power/torque and manages to return 5-10% better fuel
        economy.
         

        If the Dualis was sold here with that engine, Id seriously consider one.

  • Rover63

    Actually the diesels are generally Renault motors which are supplied to Nissan.  Renault engines have always been very reliable – it’s more trim falling off and poor fit which is the issue with the marque.   Much better now-a-days however…(That is probably Nissan’s influence).  The new Megane also has  much more “road presence” than the Golf or even the swish and brilliant Focus.  The Golf always rates poorly on the Australian reliability surveys with Air Conditioning and electricals being the main culprit.  The Megane did fairly well getting 3rd place in one survey.  However this may be badly weighted due to lowish sales numbers. Regardless, I will definitely replace my beloved (and extremely reliable) 2004 Megane with this new diesel offering.  I might wait for the 1.6 which, as mentioned above, is a cracker!

  • filippo

    I’ve driven a Kangoo with this engine, but matched to a 6 speed manual; a cracker of an engine and one of the easiest manuals I’ve ever driven. It’s disappointing then that Australia only gets a soggy automatic.

  • abc

    never buy a french car in automatic….  a french automatic is like a sloth – it back tracks over itself and takes a long time to get there…
    if you want reliability, don’t waste your time.
    you only buy a french car because you want the touch and feel of euro…

    Subaru / Mazda / Toyota = reliability

  • Jap Car

    French cars are exactly like there women.
    Look goodFeel goodGo goodbutHi Maintenance and never on time !!!!

  • Rover63

    Yep French Autos are a big worry however the Renault CVT and the dual clutch options are Nissan derived.  I had a Passat which the auto kept destroying itself and a Friend’s New BMW 5 series box tuckered out at just 5000 km.  The courtesy loan car which was also a 5 series also flaked out which made him wonder about his $110,000 investment.  So I seems to be a European problem in general.
    JapCar – I you description probably sums up French cars well – but something attracts me to high maintenance women :0

Renault M.G.ne Specs

PRIVILEGE 1.5dCi : 1.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 6 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTCH - 5D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
RENAULT
Model
MEGANE
Variant
PRIVILEGE 1.5dCi
Series
X32
Year
2012
Body Type
5D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
1.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
240Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
81kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
59.3W/kg
Bore & Stroke
76x80.5mm
Compression Ratio
15.5
Valve Gear
SINGLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTCH
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
4.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1366
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1471mm
Length
4295mm
Width
1808mm
Ground Clearance
140mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:680
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.1
Front Rim Size
7x17
Rear Rim Size
7x17
Front Tyres
205/55 R17
Rear Tyres
205/55 R17
Wheel Base
2641
Front Track
1546
Rear Track
1547
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint, Xenon Headlights
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-P-10
Country of Origin
FRANCE