We medics are generally pragmatic when it comes to our choice of car. GPs tend to value practicality highly so our favourite cars tend to be hatchbacks, estates and SUVs.
We also appreciate a bit of comfort and quality so it is no surprise to find that many of us buy Volkswagen Golfs.
The current Mark 7 Golf is still the benchmark hatchback to have but competitors have become progressively more sophisticated, better made and offer better value for money. Peugeot and Renault have raised their game significantly over recent years so it was with great interest that I approached the launch of the all new Renault Megane.
The new Megane represents the fourth generation of this medium-sized hatchback that has been around for 20 years. It is made in Spain alongside the Kadjar crossover and is packed full of interesting and advanced tech.
The whole range stretches from the entry petrol model in basic trim at £16,600 through various frugal diesel models and increasing levels of trim up to the range topping petrol GT Nav 205 model at £25,500.
Knowing that GPs like decent performance, great fuel efficiency and we like our tech, I concentrated on the top-end diesel model, the Dynamique S Nav dCi 110 at the Megane’s UK launch in Yorkshire.
With fantastic and sparsely trafficked driving roads across the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, it was a great opportunity to see if this new French pretender could challenge the mighty Golf.
How does it look?
Sadly, safety regulations have compromised the shape of all hatchbacks so the days of a Megane with a boot that spawned the famous ‘shakin that Ass’ advert are gone forever.
To give it some character and identity, Renault have concentrated on distinctive front and rear lighting signatures with permanently lit LED units together with a bold swooping grille design surrounding their large diamond logo.
The Dynamic S Nav model has a rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors and 17 inch diamond-cut alloys to complete the standard features.
The interior design is modern and fresh. The materials used are of higher quality than Renaults of old and although not at the level of premium brands like Audi and BMW, are equal to Volkswagen products.
The centre console is dominated by a large clear 8.7-inch portrait display that allows control of the huge amount of impressive tech on offer. Like getting used to the latest medical equipment, it is worth spending some time considering what is on offer and how to access it all.
Renault’s MULTI-SENSE system allows a choice of four pre-set modes controlling steering effort, engine responsiveness and chassis control.
A fifth mode can be personalised. Traffic sign recognition, hands-free parking, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high/low beam headlights, lane departure warning and active emergency braking system completes the impressive optional tech list.
So, how does this all translate to the general driving experience and does it enhance or retract? The Yorkshire Dales revealed all.
Powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged 110bhp four-cylinder diesel engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the Megane dCi has reasonable get up and go. The ride is very comfortable and supple and the steering sharpens up when you select the MULTI-SENSE Sport mode.
The car really flowed along the fast open roads of the Dales. The Golf is still a better car for the keen driver but it cannot outdo the Megane’s noise suppression and general refinement.
As a car to live with on a daily basis, the Renault makes an ideal partner. Plenty of luggage space and room for five makes it just as capable of taking the family on holiday as it would be getting you to the surgery on time.
Modern Renaults have a quality feel that will be a surprise to any of you who haven’t driven one recently and the Megane is no exception. Compared to rivals like the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Astra and the VW Golf, it feels more modern, is generally cheaper like-for-like and can boasts some really clever tech.
On a final note, Renault dealers have made great strides in customer service and the brand now tops the well respected Auto Express Driver Power dealer chart for 2016. This is another important reason to give the new Megane your consideration.
|Renault Megane 1.5 dCi Dynamic S Nav|
Body Five-door hatchback