Renault Megane (2012) Coupe TCe 115 (petrol) and Hatch dCi 130 (diesel) review
The TotallyMotor Verdict
If you’re thinking about having one of Renault’s latest, 2012-spec Meganes on your driveway then we’ve got a couple of good, real-world test car specs for you to look at; tested back-to-back at TotallyMotor.
There’s the all-the-rage Megane Coupe, seen here in more affordable Dynamique TomTom (sat-nav included) trim with a brand new 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, and the more family-friendly 5-door Megane Hatch in higher-up GT Line TomTom trim with a recently optimised 1.6-litre dCi 130 turbodiesel engine.
Both engines feature the latest quick-fire Stop & Start technology and while the Megane Hatch range starts at £16,280, the Coupe carries a £500 premium with the range starting at £16,780.
Our petrol-powered Megane Coupe gets a quoted combined economy figure of 53.3mpg and CO2 at 119g/km, with the Megane Hatch diesel quoted at 70.6mpg on the combined economy cycle, with CO2 at 104g/km.
I sampled both of these latest Meganes back-to-back for a week each; covering hundreds of miles in each over varied road- and journey-types.
Renault Megane (2012) Coupe TCe 115 (petrol) and Hatch dCi 130 (diesel) road test review
Coupes are all the rage right now. That wider, more squat stance, trimmed roofline for a sleeker look; just the two entry doors, and generally a ‘pinch’ to the rear glasshouse area that further accentuates a more hunkered, chunky look. It’s what many punters want right now – practicality and style – and this is Renault’s addition to the trend.
Car style is, of course, a personal thing, but for me, Renault have pulled off the coupe proportions well with this bright white Megane Coupe Dynamique TomTom TCe Stop & Start (priced from £18,825) – it certainly looks sleeks enough with it slender glasshouse, wide stance and heavily tapered rear-end, but I’m not entirely sure that there’s enough boldness in the overall styling statement.
The black-based and chrome-highlighted front-end is striking enough, with LED driving lights and modern headlights, and you can have these here 17-inch turbine-style alloy wheels at no extra cost over the standard 16-inchers. The low roofline works a sleek-treat and the rear arch area is distinctly beefy; it’s the rear-end that’s a little bland for my liking.
And on to our 5-door Megane Hatch TotallyMotor tester that gets a colour head start with its optional Malta Blue metallic paint; a very pretty hue for £520 extra.
This 5-door car looses on the Coupe’s more purposeful look in favour of the practicality of five doors and a slighter higher and wider roofline that will in term bring some extra up-top space to the interior.
Again I’m feeling that the front-end is purposeful and memorable, and this GT Line trim – higher up the trim-tree than the white Dynamique Coupe – gets sportier bumpers, grey-finished 17-inch multi-spoke GT Line alloy wheels and more obviously-located LED running lights to show off the front-end. But, again, I think the styling pizzazz runs out at the rear. The bodyshell-style choice is yours, folks; purpose versus practicality…
Into the interior:
Again, we’ll deal with our white Coupe first, in the more affordable Dynamique trim.
The all-cloth seats looked and felt well made and featured enough directional adjustment – working with the leather-wrapped steering wheel – for me to find a good driving position, although the Hatch felt a little airier at the top of the cabin.
The Coupe’s mix of digital and analogue instrumentation was clean and crisp and very easy to read and the big-screen TomTom colour sat-nav followed the same modern and easy feel as the clocks.
Clutter is kept to a minimum but you do get most of the toys you need, like A/C, some steering wheel controls on the premium-feeling steering wheel and a decent stereo system with an MP3 input. The silver, metal-like trim strips across the dashboard worked nicely, too. In all, a well-executed interior space with enough style, little fuss and a good level of fit and finish. The large fixed sunroof here brings the light, but at an extra cost of £420.
The same goes for the more expensive GT Line interior found in our blue Megane Hatch; a general feeling of interior wellbeing, but with some extra GT Line goodies.
The most obvious GT Line upgrade is the seating; more bucket seat-like and featuring half-leather with ‘GT Line’ embroidery on the headrests.
Like the Coupe, I found a good driving position through adjustment inside the Megane Hatch, and while these sports seats offer more lateral support for faster cornering, on very long journeys found the seat base bolsters beginning to nip at my thigh comfort. So, while the buckets look the part, I’d take the Dynamique seats for the really long haul.
The latest TomTom sat-nav is again happily present in the Megane Hatch GT Line, but the clocks here are all-analogue and the air-con is dual-zone digital with very easy to operate rockers switches to up and down the temperature. The perforated black leather steering wheel trim – with red stitching – and black and red carbon-fibre-looking dashboard trim certainly looked the part.
So, the GT Line trim is for a sportier look and feel – with stiffer springs and dampers underneath – so if sharper style and cornering are your thing, then test drive a GT Line, too.
The Megane Coupe petrol drive:
This is one of Renault’s very latest engine designs and their first direct-injection petrol turbo, so well worth a look if you're not a fan of the diesel-feel, but still have a firm eye on the frugal.
This 1.2-litre TCe 115 Stop & Start gets a small and quick-spooling, exhaust manifold-housed turbocharger to back up its little 1200cc capacity, and it’s a good combo.
The engine is calm and quiet, but with 113bhp and 190Nm of torque all ready to go from just 2000rpm, the little motor makes for pretty big fun on the back lanes. It’ll hit 62mph in a respectable 10.9secs and its 115mpg top speed is surely ample for most of us, with an easy-going and very driveable nature helped along by a slick 6-speed manual gearbox.
Renault quote a combined economy figure of 53.3mpg whereas I saw around the low 40s on the in-dash economy read-out. Drive these small capacity engines hard and it will have a dramatic effect on fuel economy, but with this torquey little turbocharged motor it is very possible to drive in the high gears and work hard for better economy; perhaps into the late 40s.
The Megane Coupe 1.2 TCe 115 was a fun and refined car to drive. I found the brakes powerful and controlled and a chassis that was – for the most part – up for a bit of back lane fun, and it cruised the motorways well, too. Perhaps I was expecting Renault hot hatch levels of wild-eye’d fun, and while this Coupe didn’t disappoint – it’s no RenaultSport. They save the really good stuff for the RenaultSport models.
The Megane Hatch diesel drive:
Renault will want you to know that this is the most powerful, frugally-focused 1600cc turbodiesel engine you can get in the UK, and with 128bhp and 320Nm of torque, this little-emitter (104g/km of CO2) will still hit 62mph in 9.8secs and power on to 124mph. And like the petrol powertrain, I found the diesel easy to like, drive and enjoy.
A diesel-powered Megane will cost you more than the petrol equivalent, and while the quoted combined economy figure of 70.6mpg is an eye-opener; after a few hundred miles and a week of driving, I saw around 55 – 60mpg on the in-dash display. That’s not bad at all in the real world.
This more expensive GT Line trim we have here in the diesel Hatch is not just about the pleasant dress-up parts; the chassis also benefits from some sporting tweaks to stiffen the springs and dampers. As a fan of the firm when it comes to a chassis; this was right up my sporty street.
I did notice the extra stiffness – although I wouldn't call the standard-sprung Megane Coupe we tried soft – and this more acute chassis control did quicken turn-in and keep things flatter through the faster bends. It is a more hardcore, harder feel with the GT Line spec, and you’ll know before you test drive these different Meganes if harder and faster is your thing.
It comes down to miles-per-year travelled as to which of these quite equally-matched engines you’d go for, but it’s nice to know that there's a modern Stop & Start (a quick-witted, quick-firing system that worked very well in both cars, by the way) petrol or diesel choice – both frugally-minded – to choose from in your new Megane.
Personally, I’d be interested to try a base-spec Megane Coupe with the firmer GT Line suspension – but not necessarily all the GT Line interior bits – with the TCe 115 petrol engine. I think it’d look pretty cool, offer a nice bit of nippy on the back lanes, and still turn in around 40mpg, even with plenty of ‘spirited’ driving.
Ten second sum up:
The 2012 Renault Megane Coupe and Hatch models both feel refined and mature in design and build quality, but for me, perhaps lack a little of the French flair in some areas of the exterior design. However, key to many buyer's test drive decisions will be some good and frugal choices in the engine department, and Renault deliver on both petrol and diesel fronts in this respect.
Prices and availability:
The 2012 Renault Megane Hatch range starts at £16,280, the Coupe range at £16,780. Prices as tested, £18,825 for the Megane Coupe Dynamique TomTom TCe 115 Stop & Start (plus some options), and £21,800 for the Megane Hatch GT Line TomTom dCi 130 Start & Stop (plus some options). Available now.
Words & pics: Daniel Anslow
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