All in all, 2013 was a bit of a bumper year for Renault. France’s premiere, suarviest car manufacturer went a long way towards reclaiming their title as the Va Va Voomiest car company on the south side of the Channel.
First there was their all-electric effort, the really rather impressive and well designed Renault Zoe. A new version of their flagship small car, the ubiquitous Clio, soon followed suit, and mighty fine it was too, carrying on the traditional Clio values with ease. Last but by no means least was the Captur, a brand new, funky, family car that has proved to be instantly recognisable thanks to its two-tone design.
All well and good we’re sure you’ll agree, but the keen-eyed Renault-spotters amongst you will notice that there’s a gap in that line up, a gap with a backside big enough to make J-Lo jealous. We are of course talking about the Renault Mégane which was strangely absent last year. Fear not though because now, here in 2014, the Mégane is well and truly back and still shakin’ that ass.
Of course the Mégane’s back-end isn’t quite as big back in 2003 when that advert first started airing but the latest redesign suits it, giving the Mégane much more of a contemporary edge that sees it sitting pretty next to its electric stable-mate, the razor-sharp looking Zoe, as well as the competition.
Where the Mégane really stands apart from the other members of the Renault line though, is in its feeling of solidity. The Clio in particular is a great little car but in terms of interior quality the Mégane takes a real step up to better reflect it’s size, price tag and target market. Everything has a reassure heft to it, from the doors to the controls and the centre console with its large touch sensitive tablet and in-built TomTom sat nav.
Even the steering feels more substantial, shunning the fully assisted feel of the Clio and Zoe’s set-up in favour of something that feels a bit more old-school, much like the Nissan Qashqai we reviewed on Wednesday did.
Under the bonnet, the new Mégane takes some eco-cues from the rest of the Renault models, with a choice of four engine specs that are all highly economical, coming as they do with Stop/Start technology and a smart energy management system.
Elsewhere there are a whole host of useful features such as modular storage, keyless entry, automatic lights and rain-sensitive wipers. What really caught our eye though, and perhaps the feature that best shows how Renault’s innovative spirit is alive and well, is that the central speedometer/petrol gauge display is made with e-paper (the same material as the screen of your Kindle), to make glare on your display a thing of the past. It’s a lovely touch that leaps out more than showy LEDs ever could.
The Mégane then is as the Mégane has always been, a pretty near perfect family car for anyone looking for a bit of extra umph and, yes, Va Va Voom. It’s early days, but it looks like 2014 could be just as good a year for Renault as 2013 was.
Our regular photographer is back so why not take a look at a few pics of the Mégane before heading to your local Benfield Renault dealership to book a lifestyle test drive of your own?