Frankfurt motor show: New Renault Megane finally unveiled

More premium-looking styling and a tablet computer styling for interior controls on Renault’s new hatchback

It was extensively leaked in the run up to the Frankfurt motor show, but the reveal of the new Renault Megane is a significant one. While the upmarket new Espace and Talisman saloon aren't going to be made in right hand drive, we will get the new Megane and it basically represents the bottom rung of Renault's more upmarket half of its range.

Beneath the Megane, the Captur crossover, the Clio supermini and the Twingo city car will continue to major on being affordable and funky. For the Megane and the Kadjar crossover, things are rather more sophisticated.

Based on the same CMF platform as the Kadjar (and therefore the same as the Nissan Qashqai and Pulsar) the Megane looks far more imposing than the outgoing model, with the heavily sculpted front end more or less directly lifted from the larger Talisman saloon. "On the highly competitive market of compact saloons, it was vital that new Megane should stand out right from the first glance", says exterior designer Franck Le Gall.

It’s 25mm lower in front with track 47mm wider in front and 39mm wider at the rear compared to the old third generation Megane. The wheelbase 28mm longer and there’s a shorter overhang. Franck goes on: “The precise, taut lines, which draw the whole design towards the front, are part of the side surfaces. In combination with the sculpted shoulders, these lines give New Megane dynamism and character.”


Engine choices will cluster around the existing 1.5 and 1.6 dCi diesels, which should be able to provide Co2 emissions of well under 100g/km. Petrol fans will be catered for with down-sized turbocharged 999cc three-cylinder and 1.2-litre four-cylinder units, and there’s a new 1.6 turbo petrol coming shortly too.

From the kick-off, the Megane will have GT variant, which comes with a sporty bodykit and Renaultsport badging. It’s designed both to compete with the likes of the Golf R-Line and the Peugeot 308 GT, as well as the plug the gap in the range between the regular Meganes and the ultra-sporty RS models. An estate version will arrive next year, but there’s no confirmation yet of a sporty-looking three-door model.

Inside, there’s a distinctly Volvo-XC90-style to the cabin with a huge central touchscreen that takes over most of the infotainment and air conditioning functions. It comes either as a seven-inch or nine-inch screen, depending on the spec. Cabin quality looks as if it has taken a significant step upwards too.

The Megane will have a major battle on its hands. The VW Golf is all-conquering in the family hatchback segment, while its local rival, the Peugeot 308, is also selling strongly. The outgoing Megane sold well enough to keep its head above water, but this new model will have to win back significant numbers of customers if it’s to be considered a success.

Sales start in early 2016.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring