Renault Megane

Iconic TCe 140

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

WE know other countries by cliches - so we think all Americans talk too loudly and they think we all live in rose covered cottages, for instance.

In the world of cars the cliches include all French cars having soft suspension, designed to cushion the shock of their country's terrible road surfaces.

Well, like most cliches, that might have been true once, but no more. French roads, for sure, are now better than... ours. It's us that need supple springing these days.

But perhaps a little of the Gallic way with comfort has carried over to today's French cars, as a drive in the latest Renault Megane would show at the first sign of a UK-style pothole.

When driver and passengers will notice a lack of the abrupt thud they'd been expecting from a hard worked wheel and tyre.

It quite singles out this mid-sized family hatch from competitors drawn up in places like Germany, where smoother roads produce harder riding cars.

And very relaxing it is too, not to be bracing yourself against the next intrusion from an uncared for stretch of Tarmac.

Made even better when you discover that this Megane is still eager to enjoy itself when a corner appears and you find sharply responsive steering with quite a sporty edge.

Same goes for the engine - and just as well, for today's Megane offers but a simple choice of two; one petrol and one diesel (more economical, of course, but around £1,400 dearer).

The petrol unit is a little cracker, helping the car along in concert with a snappy gearchange and providing the sort of assured performance that will make you blink at the speedo readout.

A test week's average economy of 44.3mpg simply adds to this Megane's list of pluses, along with a cabin that always stays the right side of calm.

There are three trim levels of Megane; Play, Iconic and GT Line. Highlights of the Play version are a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, hands free keycard, height and lumbar adjustable driver and passenger seats and cruise control.

Pick an Iconic version and upgrades include bigger alloys, a multimedia system with seven-inch touchscreen with TomTom LIVE sat-nav, automatic headlights, electronic parking brake, rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/low beam, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors and an uprated sound system.

The GT Line changes are mostly cosmetic, including 'more muscular' bumpers, chrome door sills and different cloth upholstery.

Whichever version you choose, from £17,715 entry level to £23,415 range topper, you'll have a car with a clear dash that has been tempted away from switches and buttons to smarter but less user friendly touchscreen and just about enough leg room in the rear for a couple of larger adults.

There's a decent boot and - rejoice - the choice of spare wheel or emergency space saver in place of a bottle of tyre gloop for a reassuringly modest £150.

FAST FACTS

Renault Megane Iconic TCe 140

Price: £18,815

Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,332cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions:128 g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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