Small engine makes

for great package

Renault Megane, front action 2
Renault Megane, front action
Renault Megane, front static
Renault Megane, full front static
Renault Megane, side static
Renault Megane, rear action
Renault Megane, rear static
Renault Megane, dashboard
Renault Megane, boot

ALLEGEDLY good things come in small packages which I dispute otherwise Mr Speaker would be more popular than pineapple chunks on a cheesy cocktail stick.

What is true is that small engines are doing things for our normal sized family cars our parents could only have dreamt of.

Not that long ago something in the region of 1.6 was minimum requirement, mine would not have got out of bed for less than 1.8-litres, about the same amount it took to put them there on a Saturday night.

Efficient these engine were not, about as much use as sandpaper loo roll.

Today's petrol engines are a world away from even those 1.5s of the small MPV day, all very well for multiple child seats but 0 to 60mph in the history of the Roman Empire.

Compare and contrast to the 1,300cc Renault Megane Iconic TCi 140, an efficient normally aspirated small engine with the possibility of 45mpg driving a totally normal family sized car. My father would have wept.

This really is a revelation and indication of how the industry reacts to demands outside of worldwide electrification, all very good but not for rural one-eyes like myself who don't have a handy outside power source near the cow shed.

For a start there is the price, £18,815 for a fully fitted out quality build is most attractive.

The money gets a full spec of safety items like lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam to go with the rear parking sensors, LED running lights, all the expected ABC of braking aids and an anti-hijack system which once I would have mocked but I have just read a story about young gits grabbing helmets at the TT ferry terminal and slinging them in the Mersey.

Just about sums up how soft we have gone on the subject of summary execution.

Therefore, lock on your diamond cut 17-inch alloys and be thankful for the hands free keycard. Renault does the best by far, by the way.

Climb aboard and you will find a competent cabin, it's not full of flashing lights but sensibly arranged. Seats are comfortable, synthetic leather and cloth, and there is plenty of storage.

You can chose a personalised driving mode and the windows are tinted.

Kit continues with a seven-inch touch screen which houses multimedia links to sat nav, DAB radio and Bluetooth - the expected gubbins these days.

I can sense you thinking oh, he has gone on and on about equipment because the car had has all the handling of a willow warbler and the pace of Alaska.

Not so.

This latest generation Megan's is an outstanding drive no matter what format and performance level you chose. Handling is steady Eddie and there's fun to be enjoyed.

The 1,300cc makes so much sense to the family driver who retains a pulse; 62mph arrives in 9.5 seconds via the six-speed manual gearbox and 40mpg is a reasonable demand. 128g/km emissions should appease the greens among you.

I would see this as an attractive company car so the news is that the BIK rate is 26 per cent.

There were a few options fitted, the parking pack with rear camera is £400 and I would have a dabble at that given the gormless nature of shopping centre pedestrians.

All in all a small engine with big attitude. And not a cheese nibble in sight.

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