RENAULT recently released the fourth generation of its popular Megane family hatchback.
The new Megane is a handsome vehicle and its design will not not split opinion in the way that some of its predecessors did.
With more than 6.5 million sales notched in the last 20 years, the Megane has been very important for the French company and they have priced the new range aggressively to make sure it continues to compete.
Longer and wider than before the new Megane is very stylish and has a muscular stance.
The nose is dominated by a large Renault diamond badge and distinctive LED day-running lights.
The neat rump features an attractive LED light display and the tailgate gives easy access to 434 litres of luggage space and 1,247 litres with the rear seats folded - a significant increase over the previous model.
The car's larger dimensions means that there is more space for occupants and I found it very easy to select a comfortable driving position.
Range prices start at £16,600 and go up to £25,500 but one of the most popular is the 1.5dCi Dynamique S Nav model I sampled at £20,400 which represents good value for money.
The cabin benefits from quality materials and feels well put together, while offering room for five adults.
It bristles with the latest technology and a large tablet shaped touchscreen dominates - and thanks to Renault's Multi-Sense system - enables you to control most of the cars functions including sat nav, entertainment, air conditioning and the various driving modes.
You can spend loads of time selecting from the huge amount of options for personal settings, from purely entertaining things like the cabin and instrument lighting or the more serious stuff like steering weight and suspension settings or comfort, eco or sports modes.
I was impressed with the performance of the diesel which was very quiet and responsive.
It powered the family five-door hatch to 62mph in 11.3 seconds and has a top speed of 116mph and low emissions of 96g/km.
Renault claims a combined 76.4mpg figure and although I did not match that, I still averaged well over 60mpg.
The Megane comes with all the latest safety features including hill start assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot alerts, front fogs and tyre pressure monitoring.
It makes a great family car but if you want something a bit more sporting you can opt for the GT. This will get you some distinctive styling additions, larger alloys and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine combined with a seven speed automatic gearbox, paddle shifters and sports seats. It starts at £25,500 and is a warm rather than hot hatch.
It can tackle the sprint to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 143mph.
It certainly drives and handles well and feels agile enough but it will not be fast enough for the boy racers who will be catered for at a later date.
Official consumption is a touch over 47mpg but as usual you will not get close to that figure in the real world.