Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 80%

Motorists looking for a hatchback have never had it so good.

The choice of quality vehicles is incredible and the Renault Megane is definitely one to consider.

It might have grabbed our attention with its “shakin’ that ass” rear but we reckon some of the car’s other attributes are even more impressive.

1. Looks 9/10

The Renault Megane is one of the most easily-recognised cars on the road thanks to the French manufacturer’s “Shakin’ That Ass” advertising campaign. And of course the first thing you notice about a Megane is its rear end. Whether you like it or not is down to individual taste, but its won enough fans to make it a best-seller. We like our cars with a dollop of personality and the Megane certainly has that.

2. Looks inside 7/10

The interior is nice, neat and functional although not quite boasting the wow factor of the exterior. The Renault Megane features an unusual handbrake, emerging from the armrest unit like an airliner’s throttle; but it felt very natural once we had used it a couple of times. Other than that the information display and central console are clearly laid-out in a conventional manner. The keyless entry necessitates a start button, set on the bottom right of the central console. We were still trying to find it at the end of a week’s loan but clearly, greater familiarity with the car would shouldn’t make this a problem for buyers.

3. Practicality 7/10

Notice that big boot? Its not just there to catch your eye, it also helps the Renault Megane’s boot to grow to a capacity of 330 litres, rising to 1190 litres with the seats flattened. There are plenty of storage solutions within the car cabin and when it comes to seating passengers there’s plenty of room for five.

4. Ride and Handling 9/10

The Megane is fun to drive. It strikes a nice balance between entertaining the driver with good responsive handling and leaving all the passengers feeling comfortable, helping it to achieve what all hatchbacks should – being adaptable to long-distance motorway and shorter trips in-town.

5. Performance 7/10

The Renault Megane boasts a wide range of petrol and diesel engines. We drove the 106bhp five-door diesel model which can cover 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds with a top speed of 115mph. We found this more than adequate for town and motorway driving but, with a wide selection of models to choose from, you should be able to find the model to suit your needs, whether you’re looking for comfort or sportiness.

6. Running Costs 10/10

Cheap. Go for the same diesel version we drove and Renault reckon you will get 62.5 miles of motoring out of every gallon of fuel you pump in. CO2 emissions of 120g/km currently mean this particular variant falls within tax band B, keeping your tax bill to just £35 per year. There’s also good news when it comes to insurance. The 1.5-litre diesel model we drove falls within Insurance Group 5. Naturally, the performance Renaultsport versions will cost considerably more to keep on the road.

7. Reliability 6/10

Renault comes tenth in the list of worst performers on the Reliability Index. However, this Renault Megane which has been around since 2002 fares better than average. Most problems arise in the car’s fifth year on the road after 40,000 miles with electrical problems the biggest culprit. However these figures were calculated against earlier versions of the Renault Megane and one would expect some of these problems to have been eradicated in newer versions.

8. Safety 9/10

Renault has a great safety reputation and EuroNCAP crash tests saw the Megane rewarded with the maximum five star passenger rating, the first vehicle in this class to do so. The five-door version we drove comes with ten airbags while the three-door model has eight. Plus all models come with anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution. Electronic stability program is available as an option on some models.

9. Equipment 8/10

The entry model to the Renault Megane range is the Freeway which comes with radio/cassette, electric front windows, keyless entry, central locking and trip computer. The Extreme adds 16-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning. The Expression gets electric windows, cruise control and CD player. Step up to the Dynamique we drove and you’ll get front fog lamps, leather steering wheel and gear knob. The Dynamic S adds automatic headlights and windscreen washers, climate control and electric folding mirrors. The range-topping GT receives electronic stability program, traction control and 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Renaultsport comes with metallic paint.

10. X-Factor 8/10

The obvious one is that “ass” – and we’re not talking about a donkey. However, over the long-term, the car’s frugality will likely be the thing which really catches your eye. Cheap tax and insurance combined with an excellent mpg means wallet-friendly motoring.

Key facts

Model tested: Renault Megane Hatch 1.5D Dynamique dCi 106
On the road price: £15,230
Price range: £8,988 – £20,850
Date tested: October 2007
Road tester: Adrian Higgins