Fleet News

Renault Megane Cabriolet 1.9 dCi Privilege

Renault

Review

THE day our new long termer, a Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet was set to arrive I was like a small child on Christmas day.

Excitable, slightly manic and becoming more and more annoying to my colleagues. But I had excuses...
a) I was set to pick up the keys to the only convertible on the fleet
b) it was sunny, and
c) I was set to keep the new model for three months

I haven't been disappointed either. Renault has cracked it with its new Coupe Cabriolet. It has produced a stylish, economical and affordable model which I reckon user-choosers will be bending over backwards to get hold of.

Renault offers three trim levels on the Coupe Cabriolet, Extreme, Dynamique and Privilege. Ours is the top of the range Privilege, with a 120bhp 1.9 dCi diesel powerplant, although two petrol engines are available including a 115bhp 1.6-litre and a 136bhp 2.0-litre.

The common-rail diesel engine is accompanied by a six-speed manual transmission box. Also on offer is a four-speed automatic.

An impressive 51.4mpg on the combined cycle should be enough to persuade the hardiest of fleet managers that this model should be added to the choice list.

Plenty of torque, especially at low revs, means the Megane isn't all style and no substance. The six-speed transmission makes the car a perfect motorway cruiser and having clocked up almost 1,000 miles I'll be happy to clock up another few thousand.

The beauty about coupe cabriolets is that they provide an all-weather solution to motoring. When the solid roof is intact, the Megane is easily mistaken for a hard-top.

Inside, a slight whistle at high speeds gives the game away, but it is not enough to become an annoyance and even when the roof is up, a 4mm thick glass panel stretches the length of the car, creating a light airy interior.

The electronic roof has worked faultlessly to date. In a swift 22 seconds, it's neatly tucked into the rear and thanks to the generous boot it still leaves enough room for at least four bags of shopping.

With the roof down, I think the Megane is the best-looking cabriolet in its class. Other models in the sector include the Peugeot 307 coupe cabriolet 2.0 180 at £20,940 which doesn't have a diesel option, and the Volkswagen Beetle diesel 1.9 TDi 100 at £17,885.

Although prices start at £16,500 on the road for the Megane Extreme 1.6 VVT 115, the Privilege version creeps up to £20,320 but the standard specification list is long.

The Privilege has 16-inch alloy wheels, part leather upholstery, six CD changer, climate control and electronic folding door mirrors all as standard.

So although the Beetle's price tag swings lower at £17,885, to get it to a similar specification to the Megane you'll be looking at £405 for a six CD autochanger and £710 for 16-inch alloys and anti theft bolts pushing the price up to £19,000.

Two option packs are also available on the Megane, Handling and Luxury. For an extra £800 you get leather seats, roll bars and 17-inch alloys on the Luxury pack and for £750 you get traction and understeer control and tyre pressure monitor with the Handling pack.

In terms of exterior styling, the Megane is the more macho in its class. Several male friends have shown interest in it but its popularity looks set to be high for both males and females.

Fleets or user choosers wanting to get hold of the Megane shouldn't hang around though.

According to some of the leasing companies we've spoken to, waiting lists are averaging 20 weeks.

Safety is one of the main priorities for fleets but to date the Megane Coupe Cabriolet hasn't been tested under the Euro NCAP scheme. But if its sister model, the Renault Megane is anything to go by we should be looking at a rating on the top end of the scale.

I can't find any faults with this car – it combines style and substance, it is extremely frugal both in fuel economy and price and handles both challenging curves and motorway stretches with ease.

Of all the fleet cars I've had on long-term test, I really will not want to hand the keys – or should I say card – back for this one.

The manufacturer's view

THE diesel Megane has been a huge fleet success story for Renault and the company believes the new Coupe Cabriolet will boost sales even further.

A Renault spokesman said: 'The Megane range has been a top 10 UK best-seller since its launch and we anticipate the addition of the new Coupe Cabriolet to boost its appeal, particularly for customers who are not willing to sacrifice style for practicality or economy.

'With the Coupe Cabriolet's unique folding glass roof, £20,000 price tag and acclaimed 1.9 dCi engine, offering a class-leading 18% tax liability and 51.4 miles per gallon, the diesel version is the perfect business user choice.

'For fleet buyers in particular, many companies with a restricted choice list in the past have not allowed soft-tops or two-seaters, so the Coupe Cabriolet appeals to these companies.

'In addition, it can also make it on to diesel-only fleet lists, so at this level of the market the Renault Megane is truly unique.'

Specification

Standard Equipment:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Part leather upholstery
  • Dash mounted six CD multichanger
  • Climate control
  • Hands free key card system
  • Electrically folding door mirrors
  • Front carpet mats
  • Electric folding glass roof
  • Double optic headlamps
  • Power-assisted steering
  • Driver and front passenger airbags
  • Front lateral airbags, under thigh airbags
  • ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist
  • Engine immobiliser, anti-intruder device and alarm
  • Automatic windscreen wipers
  • Front foglamps
  • Automatic headlights

    What we expect

    I have high expectations for the Megane Coupe Cabriolet. If it continues to nudge the 50mpg zone, it promises to offer fleets an economical but at the same time, sexy run-around without the compromise of a fabric roof.

    CAP has given the Megane a healthy three-year/60,000 mile residual value prediction of 38%, meaning fleets opting for it will not be down-mouthed at disposal time.

    The only reservation I have is with the electronics. So far they have not missed a beat but we encountered several problems with the last Megane hatchback we had on test.

    With the added complexity of an electric folding roof, there could be room for trouble, as with summer just around the corner I'm sure to test the roof mechanism to its limit.

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  • 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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