The Renault Megane has been a reference compact since it was launched in the mid-90s of the last century. It is active in an ultra-competitive segment, the C, and has always stood out for its high sales volume.
This fact may have been the cause of launching the most recent evolution, keeping the fourth generation “alive” for now, but it is also true that this is how Renault covers the offer with differentiated and mechanical bodies for all needs and tastes.
This means that if we want a combustion or plug-in hybrid Megane, we have to choose the traditional body, and to opt for the new one hundred percent electric Megane E-Tech, we must do so with its crossover-type format.The driving position, with a steering wheel cut up and down and a huge digitization.
The new zero-emission model measures 4.2 meters, 16 centimeters less than the combustion model, but does not lose wheelbase (in fact it gains 1.6 cm) and also has 6 liters more trunk volume to reach 389 liters.
This total optimization of space has been achieved, among other things, with the new CMF-EV platform and a taller body, although it remains a compact car with its 1.5 meter height.The union of the fine rear optics is “interrupted” by the new rhombus logo.
On the outside, the forms give it strength and character, highlighting the grill with the new and enormous Renault rhombus and the original optics. The large wheels draw attention from the profile , because they start at 18 inches (and go up to 20), and at the rear it is the thin and elongated headlights that take center stage. The front and rear gold inserts seen in the images are exclusive to the top-of-the-line iconic optimum charge variant, which is the one we’ve tested.
Inside the change is enormous; we are in another category in every way. The design is minimalist, but at the same time modern and elegant, with a sense of quality that increases as the level of finish improves.Between the two screens there is a vertical air outlet, a practical and ingenious solution.
Digital solutions stand out , divided into a configurable screen for the instrument panel and another for the OpenR-Link multimedia system, which can be 9 or 12 inches. The software that makes it work leaves the previous system far behind and integrates the entire Google “ecosystem”, such as the voice assistant or the Maps application for navigation. It is very fast and intuitive to use, but the multiple options it has must be studied carefully, highlighting in this car those for controlling electrical operation and monitoring its use.
The rest of the controls are grouped under the screen, with physical keys for air conditioning, and also on the steering wheel, which includes a practical selector for driving modes.As there is no central tunnel with the gear controls, these have been located on a lever that comes out of the steering column, to the right of the steering wheel, thus joining the windshield wiper and the sound system management. There are three of them, they are very close and can cause confusion at some point, but once you get used to it, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The space in the passenger compartment is also really remarkable for a 4.2-meter car, but it has the limitation that it is almost 5 cm narrower than the thermal variant. Also, even being taller, the distance from the head to the ceiling behind is somewhat limited, a consequence of the presence of the batteries under the floor. However, this does not affect the trunk, which, as we have anticipated, has an interesting volume of 389 liters and a lower hole to store the charging cables.
Up to 218 horses
The Megane E-Tech Electric range has two power levels in terms of motor, 96 or 160 kW (130 or 218 horsepower), and two battery options , 40 or 60 kWh capacity, which logically varies the benefits and autonomy, in addition to the price.
We have tested the most powerful version with the longest range, that is, the one equipped with a 160 kW motor and a 60 kWh battery, which offers an average range of up to 454 km according to approval and can recover up to 300 km in just half an hour in a fast charging point in direct current.With this engine, the power is more than enough and the benefits interesting, not in vain does it go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.4 seconds. The maximum speed, yes, is limited to 160 km/h, but really there is no need for more with current traffic regulations.
At the wheel of this Megane the truth is that the sensations are really good. The suspension set-up is quite balanced and the behavior is very neutral, without surprises in any circumstance.The motor has a constant jerk, without jerking of any kind. There are four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Personal, the latter configurable to taste, and in the first the performance “cut” is quite noticeable to preserve energy consumption. On the opposite side is the sport mode, which takes full advantage of the almost 220 horsepower engine.
Along with this, there are paddles on the steering wheel that adjust the intensity of retention in four levels when the foot is lifted off the accelerator, and this allows a greater or lesser regeneration of energy. The one with the highest intensity facilitates driving with a single pedal, thus using the brake to a minimum.Another outstanding aspect is the small turning radius of the car, something that makes it very comfortable in the city and in parking maneuvers.