Our faith in the company's efforts to compete with the best of the best in terms of quality and reliability had paid off and we looked forward to the arrival of a Megane 1.9 dCi Privilege at the end of August.
Full of promise, the Megane acquitted itself well in a recent group test (Fleet News September 11) against a Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla, but a few electronic gremlins have already crept in, with the instrument panel becoming more and more like the illuminations on a Christmas tree as time goes on.
The car has been booked in with our local dealer who took care of our Vel Satis for its servicing and tyre replacement very efficiently to see if the problem can be rectified. The first light to illuminate was the airbag warning, which we have experienced in the past with other long-term test Renaults and it has always proved to be a false alarm – a problem with the warning light rather than the airbag.
However, on the return leg of a trip to Birmingham airport a rather more unsettling message appeared. Our car is fitted with an optional tyre pressure monitor and the message box in the instrument panel read 'STOP! PUNCTURE' about two miles from home. Nothing felt wrong with the car, but I took my speed down a notch until I arrived home and inspected the tyre.
There seemed to be nothing wrong and after checking the pressure I decided to put the warning to the back of my mind. The following day, after about another 40 miles, the car decided to downgrade the warning to a 'TYRE PRESSURE SENSOR FAULT' which was more appropriate.
Putting all this trouble to one side, the Megane is proving a good drive. It is well equipped in Privilege trim (and comes with the RenaultCard keyless 'entry and go' as standard), while our car also has an in-dash six-CD autochanger, monochrome satellite navigation and metallic paint.
The diesel engine is remarkably quiet and in sixth gear on the motorway, 70mph equates to about 1,950rpm. Although it's early days and so far we haven't found ideal conditions, I think this car will be a candidate for 60mpg on a long motorway run.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer) £51 per month