- On the road price £19,440
- Mileage: 5,400
- CO2 emissions: 120
- Driver BIK (20%): £42
- Insurance group: 6E
- Combined mpg: 62.8
- Test mpg: 53
Renault has enjoyed a welcome change in fortunes during the time its Megane long-termer has been with us.
After an annus horribilis for the French brand in 2009, with tumbling sales and market share, there are clear signs that things are back on track.
In March, the vital registration month for the motor industry, Renault recorded an overall market share of 5.2%, up from 3.4% last year, including a 187% leap in fleet car sales. With a 5.4% share of the fleet market and 8,933 sales, it was nearly 6,000 units ahead of last year when the recession was hitting its hardest.
A key contributor to its success has been the Megane, a car which shows the great strides Renault has made towards producing higher quality vehicles.
The interior is well-built and nicely designed and there’s lots of useful technology, including keyless entry and keyless ignition. As long as you have the key in your pocket, the car just starts when you press the button.
Its emissions performance, at 120g/km, is good enough to qualify for the ultra-low 13% benefit-in-kind tax band, though our fuel economy, while impressive at an overall 53mpg, fell short of the tantalisingly efficient 62.8mpg claimed in the official figures.
The diminutive 1.5-litre engine, offering 103bhp, compromised some performance for frugality, but it didn’t impact on everyday motoring including motorways.
Its carrying capacity was also excellent, with 486-litres of boot space.
However, there were niggles. Visibility through the expansive rear was limited when parking, meaning I longed for the £300 parking sensors to be fitted.
The exhaust pipe ended under the car, so fumes could seep into the cabin when starting up in the morning.
Also, in my view, the Carminat TomTom sat-nav system didn’t sit comfortably with the quality materials of the rest of the car, as it did in a plastic housing that interrupted the flowing lines of the rest of the dashboard. I also missed the touch-screen benefits of its portable relations.
However, it is proving a very popular cost-effective solution among buyers, as Renault has made Carminat TomTom satellite navigation standard on Dynamique, Dynamique S, Privilège and Initiale trim levels for Clio, Kangoo, Mégane, Scénic and Laguna ranges.
Despite the niggles, the Megane has proved a competent overall package in a line-up that increasingly attractive.
And fleets seem to agree. In May, it was announced that ISS has struck a deal with Renault for it to supply some of its fleet.
Supervisory staff and management grades now have the option of choosing from the Clio, Mégane and Laguna ranges while the rest of the fleet is made up of Mégane Coupé and New Kangoo Van.
Nigel Rowden, ISS UK group fleet manager, said: “We naturally compare manufacturers carefully against a number of criteria such as running costs, safety, style and performance, so Renault ticked all the boxes. It provides great fuel economy and also has a good, young mix of vehicles such as the New Master, Kangoo, Laguna, Mégane and Clio, all with low CO2 figures.”
Author: John Maslen