Sporty Renault quick

and slick

Renault Megane GT, front
Renault Megane GT, front
Renault Megane GT
Renault Megane GT, rear
Renault Megane GT, rear
Renault Megane GT, interior

I WAS amazed when I saw a woman with two children strapped into the back of her car deliberately jump a red light. Does she think she's bulletproof?

Am I the only person left in the world who doesn't do this?

It's becoming the norm now for people to accelerate when they approach traffic lights so that they have to go through even if the light changes.

And they do it because they know no one is going to catch them - even though it probably only saves them a couple of seconds. There are no police - or anyone else - out there to notice.

I sometimes wish I had a video camera in the car so that I could report them, but I'd spend my life doing nothing else.

I've been driving Renault's warm Megane GT Line hatch, powered by a smooth and refined 140ps 1.3-litre petrol turbo, which is one of a raft of recent turbo engines from the French car maker.

The Megane looks wide and purposeful from the front with lovely flowing lines down the sides and the way it's built feels really right up there with the best in class. It's well finished inside and out and beautifully screwed together.

The power unit is quiet until the revs rise and delivers excellent urge from fairly low revs. But it also revs sweetly, and gives very good account of itself in the mid-range where it's needed for acceleration in everyday driving.

Even when pressed towards the red line, it still sounds lovely - always a plus with me.

The six-speed gearbox is slick and quick to help swifter progress and the clutch is light - if rather high off the floor.

The suspension is pretty firm in this model and it gives flat and very quick road-holding, with tremendous grip. It feels marvellous and hugely safe through every corner.

The downside however, is that the ride can get quite knobbly on rougher surfaces both in town and at higher speed on rougher roads.

There is a drive mode selector called Multi-Sense that gives the driver options like Neutral, Sport, Comfort, Individual and Eco modes.

This alters things like response to the accelerator, steering weight and even engine sound, but it doesn't have any control over the suspension settings.

The whole car is refined on the move, with very little wind or tyre noise and hardly any bump-thump from the big wheels and low profile tyres.

Inside is a lovely simple dash with a large digital figure speedometer inside a full sweep rev counter, plus fuel and temperature gauges and a readout for the trip computer.

High sided, supportive bucket seats can be quite difficult to get in and out of for some but there's decent rear legroom behind my six feet and a good sized, well-shaped boot.

GT Line spec includes sat nav - with Renault's large upright screen at the top of the centre console - keyless entry and starting, leather covered steering wheel, black cloth seats with blue highlights and ambient lighting - something I dislike intensely and turned off.

It also come with cruise, loads of airbags, driver's lumbar support, excellent seat adjustment, traction control, DAB radio with aux in and USB, remote audio controls and parking sensors.

FAST FACTS

Price:£20,650

Mechanical:138bhp, 1,330cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:127mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 48

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 132g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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