The 2021 Renault Mégane on test for Changing Lanes!
The Renault Mégane on test for Changing Lanes!

Read Caroline’s Renault Mégane review for everything you need to know about buying Renault’s hatchback in Ireland.

The Renault Mégane – famous for its sensuous curves and look-at-me lights. But could there be more to this French hatchback? It was time for Changing Lanes to rediscover the Renault Mégane!

The Mégane is a strong pillar of the Renault brand for 25 years. 7 million cars sold worldwide, 4 generations, 3 records on the prestigious Nurburgring track for the high performance models. My test drive coincided with the launch of the facelifted version of the Renault Mégane.

I have of course some very coloured history with this current series of Mégane. Launched back in 2016, I drove the new generation Mégane hatchback soon after its debut in Ireland. That was followed by the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé, ‘the one with the separate boot’. But the pièce de resistance was the high performance Mégane twins – the Renault Mégane RS and the Mégane RS Trophy.

See how I remember all these details vividly? That’s because the Mégane always leaves an impression…

Renault has updated the Mégane for 2021
Renault has updated the Mégane for 2021

What’s new for the Renault Mégane?

Now in 2021, the Renault Mégane is back with a suite of updates to keep it competitive in the C-segment, the one where the traditional family hatchbacks reside.

Some minor tweaks to styling for example. Nothing too serious. The hallmark sensuous design, dynamic lines, and bounteous rear are still there. There are new front and rear bumpers, and a sleek new front grille. The headlamps, tail lights and fog lights are now all LED, with dynamic indicators at the rear for the first time and new door-handle lighting, a touch more synonymous with premium cars.

New 16- and 18-inch wheels are also available as an option, as are new colours: Solar Copper, Baltic Grey and Highland Grey.

There’s also an exciting new trim level – R.S. Line – which replaces the previous GT Line. Inspired by the high-performance R.S. Méganes, it adds an F1-style front blade running the width of the front lower bumper of the car, R.S. Line bumper at the rear with dual chrome exhaust pipes, R.S. Line badging, and custom 17″ alloy wheels.

There is great choice in the range with saloon, hatchback and estate models available.

Inside the new Renault Mégane R.S Line
Inside the new Renault Mégane R.S Line

Inside the Mégane

The latest Renault Mégane also offers a revamped and modernised interior. 7″ and 9.3″ screens are available for the multimedia system, as well as a magnificent 10.2-inch digital display for the driver. The Mégane’s interior has plenty of hard plastics about but there’s enough visual appeal to keep it interesting, while some new upholsteries and materials have been added.

Renault has also used the 2021 update as an opportunity to address some of the concerns we had about the tricky access to the ventilation controls through the touchscreen in previous versions of the car. There are now dials to control these functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard for more seamless access to media, contacts and maps.

R.S. Line models stand out for lovely sport seats with additional lateral support that give you a real hug. There are also some carbon-look inserts, a perforated leather steering wheel stamped with the double R.S. diamond, and aluminium pedals. All in all, Renault has done a great job to make this cabin feel modern and sporty.

The latest Mégane is equipped with new driver-assistance systems for the safety and comfort of all passengers, including the Highway & Traffic Jam Companion, a Level 2 autonomous system that ensures comfort and peace of mind while driving.

The Mégane is a classic five seat hatchback, but it’s not among the most spacious in its class for rear legroom. In fact the Mégane Grand Coupé and Sport Tourer sit on a longer wheelbase so feel more accommodating in this regard. The boot volume is a healthy 394 litres.

The Mégane Hatchback goes on sale in Ireland priced from €24,290
The Mégane Hatchback goes on sale in Ireland priced from €24,290

Petrol, diesel or hybrid?

Exciting times at Renault as the brand launched more hybrids and plug-in hybrid across the range in 2020. Now the Mégane also benefits from this technology, with all-new plug-in hybrids available for 2021. The plug-in hybrid Mégane Sports Tourer is already on sale here, but a plug-in hybrid Mégane Hatchback will arrive shortly.

The Mégane is also offered with petrol and diesel engines. The petrol range is built around a 1.3-litre turbo petrol with 140 hp and matched to a six-speed manual transmission or dual-clutch seven-speed EDC automatic transmission. The diesel range uses the tried and tested 1.5-litre turbo diesel, which continually impresses us at Changing Lanes. Such frugality! A six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission is also available with this engine.

Renault has refined their 1.5-litre diesel engine over the years and improved its efficiency even more. Running costs are low. Motor tax is €190 per year and over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 4.9 litres per 100 km.

Power output might look modest at 115 hp but it’s no hassle at all behind the wheel. It just performs and returns the sort of efficiency that makes you stop for a minute to appreciate the modern diesel engine.

The Mégane is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines
The Mégane is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines in 2021

What are my options?

Pricing starts from €24,290 for the hatchback. Buyers will pay about a €1000 premium for the Grand Coupé and Sport Tourer. There is good enough reason for this as the Grand Coupé and Sport Tourer sit on a longer wheelbase so offer more legroom in the rear.

We will focus on the hatchback pricing to give you some context here. There are three trim level: Play, Iconic and R.S. Line. Play models kick off from €24,290, Iconic from €26,690, and R.S. Line from €28,690, all prices quoted for the 1.3-litre petrol engine. Diesels start from €26,290.

Standard equipment includes rear parking sensors, automatic dual zone climate control, 7” touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and LED headlights/fog lights.

The Iconic trim line adds items such as lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/ low beam, ambient lighting, driving modes, power door mirrors, 16” alloys, and leather steering wheel.

The Mégane R.S. Line is sporty and fun
The Mégane R.S. Line is sporty and fun

Did you like it?

To sum up. Can the Mégane cut it in 2021?

Yes it can. The Renault Mégane looks good anywhere. The R.S. Line is beautiful to look at with lots of sporty details. It’s a car you park and then keep looking around to admire its beautiful curves and stance. Priceless.

Inside the Megane puts on a good show for driver and guests. The facelift and addition of the R.S. Line breathes new life into it. The digital instrument panel has had a lift with new graphics, and the portrait-style touchscreen on top spec models looks slick in the centre of the dash. Renault keeps the pricing competitive also.

The Mégane tackles the road with confidence without any particular sparkle in any one area. Steering weights up nicely in corners, with good body control allowing you to accurately place the car on the road. It’s comfortable on the motorway and the large alloy wheels only really protest over rough surfaces around town or on rural roads. As a diesel hatchback, the Mégane is simple, uncomplicated and efficient means of getting around, with a little bit of flair. The 18″ alloys on our test car gripped the road exceptionally well.

Swift and supple. The Mégane makes you feel good behind the wheel. These days that’s a simple pleasure to lift the most boring days.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Renault Mégane Blue dCi 115 R.S. Line
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
115 hp
Torque: 260 Nm
11.1 seconds
Top speed: 190 km/h
Economy (WLTP): 6.8 l/100 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 119 g/km
Motor Tax:  €190 per year