Renault Megane 1-9 dCi Dynamique

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Keywords: Renault Megane 1-9 dCi Dynamique

Description: The single most surprising thing about the current Megane, compared with the one it replaced late last year, is that it looks so conventional. The design of the light clusters and front air intake

The single most surprising thing about the current Megane, compared with the one it replaced late last year, is that it looks so conventional. The design of the light clusters and front air intake give it a definite air of Renaultishness, but the overall shape has nothing of the shock value (for which the bustle tail was largely responsible) that characterised the previous model.

It's not exactly anonymous, but from some angles you could be looking at a car from another manufacturer. And there is a fashionable silliness about the tapering side window lines and the large, triangular C pillar which does as good a job of limiting rear visibility as those of any Megane rival.

After that I should say that there are many aspects of the Megane which please me greatly, but let's continue with a few more of the negative ones while I'm in the mood. You have probably heard of the "sit behind yourself" test, which involves a journalist climbing out of the driver's seat and then, without adjusting it beforehand, moving into the back to see how much room there is.

This test proved to be impossible for me because, with the driver's seat set the way I liked it, there was so little space left over that I simply couldn't get in. And okay, I'm six foot three, but the problem would not have arisen in a Focus, Astra or Golf.

There is more space for luggage - 372 litres with the rear seats in place, which is very competitive (though sub-Focus) in the class - but you have to lift your goods and chattels over quite a high sill to get it into the boot. And with the rear seat folded the Megane has a cargo volume of 1129 litres, which sounds like a lot but is over 100 litres short of what most other cars in the class provide.

All that aside, I looked forward to driving the Megane every time the occasion arose. The Ford Focus is widely regarded as the best driver's car in its class, but I think I like the Renault better; it's very nimble, the balance through corners is excellent, the chassis responds to small changes in the position of your right foot on the accelerator pedal, and the ride is more than acceptable. In the whole of this test there was not a single journey in which I did not find myself appreciating each of these qualities.

I liked the 1.9-litre dCi turbo diesel engine too, even though it's been around for a long time and is due for replacement. Even at this late stage in its career, it's right up there with the rest in terms of low- and mid-range pull, it doesn't use a lot of fuel, and its noise is well suppressed before it enters the cabin.

The test car's panel gaps and occasional misalignment suggested that it had been thrown together in a hurry, but in general the Megane has a real feeling of solidity which you wouldn't have expected of a mainstream French car only a few years ago.

It feels safe, and according to Euro NCAP it is safe - the crash test organisation gave it the full five stars for adult occupant protection in the old (and now replaced) rating system and four out of five for child occupant protection (no model ever achieved full marks in that category), though it didn't rate so highly for pedestrian protection or whiplash risk.

The Megane is currently available in three trim levels, of which Dynamique - as tested here - comes in the middle, though you don't get the more basic Expression with the 1.9 dCi engine. Dynamique models get sporty alloy wheels, air-conditioning, heated door mirrors, a radio/CD with Bluetooth connectivity, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control, height-adjustable front seats, a leather-rimmed steering wheel, front foglights and a hands-free card in place of a set of keys, all for significantly under £19,000. (The card, incidentally, lets you open the doors and start the engine only when it's within a few feet of the car, and the car emits a couple of reassuring blips as you're walking away to reassure you that the doors have now been locked.)

The 1.9 dCi is also available in Privilege form, which costs £900 more and comes with a different design of alloy wheel, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, folding door mirrors, a dimming interior mirror, rear parking sensors (a very good idea considering the visibility problem) and a rear armrest which doubles as a storage box. Renault likes to say that the Megane offers more equipment per pound than the Ford Focus, but there is plenty of opportunity to write a cheque for a much greater amount - key optional extras include satellite navigation for £1600, rear parking sensors (if not already fitted) for £300, leather upholstery for £900, heated front seats for £200, metallic paint for £375 and a panoramic sunroof for £600.



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NETSUBASTA - Subastas online, compra y venta de vehículos