The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Renault Megane Coupe is a genuine headturner and in Renaultsport trim, offers a brilliant alternative to the likes of VW Scirocco.
Reasons to buy:
- Head-turning looks
- Brilliant chassis
- Five-star EuroNCAP rating
How good does it look?
The Renault Megane Coupe is a car that should turn heads, and it does. The front end provoked something of a Marmite reaction during our loan with its grille-straddling satin chrome-finished air scoops dividing opinion. However, the dynamic rear won resounding praise and spawned Alfa Romeo comparisons. The Coupe and the five-door hatch were the first two models in the range to get the new look premiered in 2008, although the two share only bonnet, wings and headlamps
What's the interior like?
The soft-touch plastic dashboard, three-spoke steering wheel and figure-hugging seats have a quality feel. The information display is dominated by a large digital speedo and analogue rev counter. We took a while to become accustomed to the location of the controls as the cruise control/speed limiter button is behind the handbrake. A start/stop button is located within the central console.
How practical is it?
Entry is by a flat rectangular card which requires pressing to enter but locks automatically as you walk away from the car. The car seats five but three in the back with the reduced roof height and rear windows of the coupe is cosy. The Renault Megane Coupe’s distinctive shape comes at the expense of some boot storage (337 litres rather than the hatch’s 405). Renault claims this beats all its competitors while front door bins will hold a one-litre bottle and there is central console space and cupholder. The small rear window does not lend itself to good visibility.
What's it like to drive?
The Megane Coupe offers a choice of three diesel engines: 85bhp and 105bhp 1.5-litre dCi units along with a 130bhp 1.9-litre dCi. There are also three petrol engines: a 110bhp 1.6, 140bhp 2.0 or 180bhp 2.0 turbo. We drove the dCi130 which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and delivers 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. The sound of the diesel engine doesn’t quite suit the car’s elegant looks but it supplies a good reserve of power across a range of speeds. The petrol turbo model provides the best performance with 7.8 seconds and 142mph.
How powerful is it?
The new Megane Coupe was introduced through the video game Need for Speed before its 2009 launch, raising expectations of an engaging drive against which the new model delivers. The Coupe is lower than the five-door hatch and sits on a specially tuned sports chassis with stiffer springs and dampers while both hatch and coupe have shed an average of 8kg compared to outgoing models. Variable power assisted steering is decent and roll is minimal.
How much will it cost me?
The 8kg weight reduction brings reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. The diesels return between 55.4mpg (the dCi 130) and 62.8mpg while the petrols will cover between 37.2mpg and 40.9mpg.
How reliable is it?
Renault does not hold a great position in the Reliability Index, though the Megane is one of the manufacturer’s better performers. There was nothing within our week-long loan to suggest any problems with the car, which appears to have been built to a high standard.
How safe is it?
A highest-possible five-star rating following EuroNCAP crash testing comes courtesy of an impressive array of safety features as standard. These include the Electronic Stability Program, Anti-Skid Regulation, CSV understeer control, Anti-Lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and six airbags.
How much equipment do I get?
The Megane Coupe is available in three levels of trim: Expression, Dynamique and Privilege (the hatch version also comes in Extreme trim). All models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, front foglights, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, air conditioning and electric power steering system. Dynamique adds automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, leather steering wheel trim, cruise control and extra-tinted side and rear windows; Privilege adds dual-zone climate control, rear armrest with storage and folding door mirrors.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the Coupe is worthy of that second take, especially from the rear and in profile. A good alternative to the Volkswagen Scirocco.