Renault Megane Coupe

The Essentials

  • Price from £16,780
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 80.7mpg
  • What is it? Calling the three-door version of the Megane a Coupe might seem optimistic, but it does just enough to be thought of as a rival to cars such as the Vauxhall Astra GTC and VW Scirocco. The Renaultsport version is thoroughly re-worked, and is the best hot hatch bar none.

Great

  • Competitively priced for a stylish coupe
  • Strong, quiet engines and jack-be-nimble handling
  • Excellent safety and security equipment

Gripes

  • Cramped rear space means tall passengers will fight for the front seat
  • Firm ride will shake your foundations
  • Pricier rivals drive better and have stronger resale values
  • Drive

    Good, if not great. Strong, quiet engines and agile handling are plus points, but the ride is firm

  • Inside

    Lots of adjustment to help you get comfortable; sports seats offer the firm grasp

  • Safety

    Top marks to the Megane, thanks to a five-star crash test result, stability control as standard plus deadlocks and an alarm.

  • Reliability

    Everything feels classy and well screwed together but Renault has a poor record in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys

  • Space

    The payoff for those sleek lines comes in the limited rear space where six footers will feel cramped. Boot is big, though.

  • Standard and extras

    Alloys, air-con and electric windows are standard; upgrade for cruise control, an iPod connection and Bluetooth

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Megane Coupe shares most of its oily bits with the more humdrum five-door model, but it has stiffer, lower suspension, for sportier handling. It works, because it turns neatly in to corners and is decent fun to drive. The ride is firm, but not bone-shakingly so.
    Of the wide range of engines, the 1.4 turbo is the pick of the petrols and the brilliant 1.6 dCi the best of a pretty good bunch of diesels. All the engines are quiet, but the Megane isn't as refined as the class leaders at speed and the manual gearshift is annoyingly wishy-washy.
    The Renaultsport model has a 2.0 turbo petrol engine that gives sportscar-beating pace, and a host of other upgrades that transform it into the best hot hatch around. It's a riot of sensation, with razor-sharp handling, staggering grip and perfectly weighted controls. The Cup version is the one to go for  the ride is stiffer, but it's even more fun.

  • What's it like inside?

    Inside, there's little to distinguish the Megane Coupe from the workaday five-door model. That's not such a bad thing, because the materials are mostly smart, but it does mean there's the same fussy dashboard, with a fiddly entertainment system that could drive you to distraction. At least the seats and driving postion are pretty comfortable.
    You won't want for space in the front seats, but it's a different story in the back. Leg and headroom are in short supply, and there's a distinctly claustrophobic feel due to the tiny rear windows. Rear visibility is poor as a result, too. The boot, on the other hand, is roomy, and a practical shape.

  • How reliable is it?

    Look beyond the plush dashboard top and the Megane's cabin doesn't quite have the sophistication of a VW Golf or Audi A3 Megane, but it feels sturdy enough. Renault hasn't performed particularly well in our reliability and customer satisfaction surveys over the years, but in the most recent JD Power study, owners rated the Megane as above average for reliability. There's the reassurance of Renault's four-year warranty and servicing package, too.
    Safety is a Renault strong point and the Megane five-door achieved the maximum five-star rating in the older-style Euro NCAP crash tests. All models come with front, side and curtain airbags, and stability control. Deadlocks and an alarm help to deter thieves.

  • Should I buy one?

    Most Megane Coupe models are keenly priced compared with its rivals and Renault dealers are happy to knock a useful amount off the list price, without too much prompting. It's just as well, because you'll take a hefty hit in depreciation.
    Running costs for most models are affordable and the diesel engines are among the most efficient around. The Renaultsport model calls for deeper pockets, but it's worth paying for, because no hot hatch can touch it.