Fleet News

Renault Megane 1.9 dCi Privilege – 4,980 miles



AFTER our teething problems with the latest of our long-term Renault test cars (Fleet NewsNet September 25, 2003) I can happily report that this baby brother of the Vel Satis has now settled in nicely.

Our local Renault dealer, Smiths of Peterborough, seems to have rectified the problem we had with warning lights indiscriminately illuminating the dashboard.

Our test car comes with monochrome satellite navigation with voice directions plus indicators but no map. It costs £1,000 more and seems about in the middle price-wise on cars of a comparable size. The system could prove a useful addition to the company car driver but it's a high price to pay in my opinion. Also on the 'extras' list is metallic paint at £300.

The ignition system favoured by Renault uses the RenaultCard 'keyless' key, which is the size of a fat credit card. The Megane key has been improved over the one that came with the Vel Satis, which had the hole for attaching another keyring at the end you needed to insert into the slot.

Renault has now put this at the other end of the card and you don't even need to put it in the slot – the ignition will fire up as long as the key is somewhere within the car.

However, I am slightly concerned about mislaying the card.

Having been driving the car now for about two weeks, I am enjoying trouble-free motoring. The 1.9-litre engine is responsive and the handling is excellent. I have had some recent back trouble and am appreciating the comfortable and supportive driver's seat.

I did experience a bit of a learning curve with the six-changer CD system. I didn't have time to read all the instructions, so resorted to the old fall-back of randomly pressing all the buttons until something happened.

Eventually, I asked an earlier driver and was sorry I had not done so before because it's simple to operate – once you know how – and the sound is excellent.

Currently stashed are Nickelback, White Stripes and local Peterborough band Nerine. As winter approaches, I am happy to report that, in the first frost recently, the Megane worked well. Despite the fact that the car had been parked outside, the engine kicked in swiftly and the screen cleared promptly.

My one practical grumble is the fancy styling of the rear hatch. It seems to intrude on the size of the boot and I think the distinctive shape will date rather quickly. The boot will take a week's shopping quite easily but The Dog Jim is feeling left out in the cold as his travelling cage could not be accommodated without splitting the rear seat. I even doubt whether two large suitcases would fit.

On the whole, though, the Megane will be a real asset to the fleet.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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