In Ireland we love our saloons and that’s why car manufacturers can sell cars here that they wouldn’t elsewhere. Renault has recently launched a car here that not all our European neighbours can enjoy. It’s the new Renault Megane Grand Coupe, which sounds rather grand, but isn’t really.
It’s the saloon version of the all-new Renault Megane that arrived as a hatchback in Ireland in 2016 and it is the spiritual successor to the popular but uninspiring Renault Fluence.
Renault has strapped the Grand Coupe moniker onto this model, which implies that this car has ‘notions’. But the saloon style sits rather well on the new Megane and yes, it looks a bit ‘grander’ than the hatchback, which obviously we will love here in Ireland.
The Grand Coupe has an ace card up its sleeve. I grumbled a little about the rear legroom in the Megane hatchback but luckily the Grand Coupe sits on a longer wheelbase, and there is noticeably more rear legroom.
The boot is also bigger than the hatchback at 503 litres, but obviously the narrow aperture characteristic of the saloon body style makes the space a bit more awkward to access. There is also no release button on the boot lid: you need to press the button on the key or flick a switch in the cabin.
Inside, the Megane Grand Coupe has the same dash design as the rest of the Megane range. A portrait style touchscreen dominates in the centre of the dash on higher spec models. It looks impressive but it can be frustrating to switch between menus. The ambient lighting on my Signature test car is lovely and adds sophistication along with some brushed chrome effect panel inserts, but the plastics on the lower end of the dash are very hard and scratchy.
In terms of price, the Megane Grand Coupe range starts at €21,990, with just a small premium over the hatchback. The trim levels and equipment are just about the same between the two ranges but the sporty GT Line is preserved for the hatch, while the Grand Coupe gets the ‘grander’ Signature trim.
Base models have 16” steel wheels with wheel trims, LED DRLs, manual air conditioning, analogue dashboard, and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.
The top of the range Signature model I drove (from €27,290) has 18” alloy wheels, full LED headlights, hands-free boot opening, leather seats, electro chrome rear view mirror, 8.7” touchscreen R-Link 2, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera.
There is no petrol option for the Grand Coupe but instead there is a choice of 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesel engines, and the option of the EDC automatic gearbox on the 1.5. My test car was the 1.5-litre EDC. This is an engine that impressed me in the Megane hatchback and the Captur, and it’s no different here. I was truly surprised at what a great combination this diesel made with the automatic gearbox and the emissions are impressively low too at 95g. The power is more than adequate and this is a pleasant, quiet car on the move. The handling is predictable and the front end grip inspires confidence behind the wheel. All sounds good?
Not quite. The ride comfort in my test car’s configuration on 18″ wheels was disappointing for a car that really does not need to be this firm. Bumps and other changes in the road surface transferred too much noise and harshness to the cabin.
But if you can get over the bump bump feeling over anything other than smooth tarmac, the Renault Megane Grand Coupe is a stylish and good value saloon.
Model tested: Renault Megane Grand Coupe Signature dCi 110 EDC
Price: €28,990 (Range starts at €21,990)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 11.6 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
CO2 emissions: 95g/km
Motor tax: €180 per year