Renault Megane E-Tech Electric review

As combustion engines are slowly being pushed out of the mainstream, the all-new Megane E-Tech Electric crossover represents another major ‘budge-up’ in battery technology. The Megane is an old family hatchback, but this car is entirely electric, although it will be sold alongside the Megane plug-in hybrid for a few years.

This new model is not to be confused with the older one. It has a Range Rover Evoque-esque appearance, with a high waistline and contrasting chevrons at its chin.

This is actually because the original design of this design was intended to be the styling for a new performance model of the car. Laurens van den Den Acker, the design boss, told us that the styling was so popular that it became the standard. This will also explain why the 20-inch wheels will fit standard on the higher-spec versions.

Renault considers this a very important car, as it is the first model to be built on the CMF-EV, an EV-specific modular platform.

This means front-wheel drive with a slimline battery pack of lithium ion cells. It has a usable capacity either 40kWh or 60kWh. This translates into a WLTP range between 186 and 292 miles. The 60kWh model can charge at up to 130kW, which will allow you to get a 10-80% charge in just half an hour. The 40kWh model will have slower charging (the optional CCS rapid-charging plug may even be available), but every Megane E-Tech Electric can take 22kW from an AC charge.

How does it drive? Renault used the phrase “this GTI of the Class” at its press conference. This might have upset Volkswagen (or Renault Sport). It’s not a hot hatch, but it is fair to call it one. We had a great time in our 60kWh preproduction car.

If you’re willing to forgive the oddly square wheel, the steering response is quick and light even when loaded up in Sport mode. It also works well with a front that wants to get into corners.

The car gives you a good idea of how much traction you have and a precise throttle response so that your right foot can adjust your cornering line. This is a good thing, as the car tends to spin up and squirm out of corners if it has more than 215bhp. The roads were muddy and engineers have said that they will fix this before the official launch. We’ll reserve judgment for now.

The ride comfort is excellent – possibly the best in class. It doesn’t suffer from the stodgy, post-bump wallowing some EVs experience. Although it can feel fragile over expansion joints, our test car was on 20in wheels. Even with this, damping and bump absorption are excellent, especially considering the Megane’s weight in cornering.

This is due to a kerbweight of 1624kg. It is also due to newer battery and motor technology, weight reductions in the aluminum door panels, and a heat pump and air conditioning system that more efficiently uses energy to heat the cabin.

The handling is excellent, the ride is smooth and efficient. The 60kWh Megane has a WLTP range that is 292 miles, which is almost the same as the Kia 64kWh 64kWh. This is despite having a 4kWh less usable battery. It says a lot. The Megane was also efficient in real life. It still managed to deliver an estimated 3.5 miles per kWh (or around 210 miles) on a fast test route, which included some motorway roads and Sport mode-worthy country roads in moderate temperatures.

You can even get more out of the heavy regenerative-braking modes. There are three options, one being a one-pedal mode. Plus, you can also turn it off completely for maximum freedom. The system bleeds in predictable ways and is easy to learn. You can easily toggle between the modes using steering wheel-mounted paddles, even though these small plastic appendages look like they are from a toy.

Although we would prefer a better feel for the brake pedal, the transition between regen braking and friction brakes can feel inconsistent. However, this criticism can be applied to almost any EV currently in production.

The cabin’s faux-wood texture looks odd, but the interior is very smart. Our test car had electrically adjustable seats that were supportive and comfortable, though a bit too high for some.

With Megane’s large, portrait-oriented interface, you have all the touchscreen you need. In-built Google Maps, and Siri voice assistant are great. They’re intuitive and give you an accurate estimate of your battery charge when you reach your destination. This software package is also equipped with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

It’s not as sharp as other screens and can be difficult to use while driving. There’s no place to rest your wrist to make a precise prod. But it’s fine enough for Tesla. There are simple, functional climate-control buttons.

The back seats will comfortably accommodate two adults of height. A flat floor will also make it easy for a third person to sit in the same position. However, six-footers might feel anxious about their hairstyles due to the lack of headroom. Despite this, the EV-specific platform, and the wheels being at chassis’ far extremities, have allowed for usefully more leg space than the Golf.

Although the boot’s capacity of 440 litres is large, it is not as deep as it looks. Your Labrador will be able to fit in it easily, provided it has steeplechased the high lip and the sheer drop on one side. It is also a significant step up from the floor of the boot with its 60/40 split folding rear seats.

We like the Megane E-Tech Electric very much. The Megane E-Tech Electric is a great choice for those who want to enjoy a good road and also want to go electric at an affordable price. Although it doesn’t feel quite as airy as the ID3, it’s still very attractive, can make you smile in corners and has far better infotainment. It’s also efficient, even if Eco driving mode isn’t available and your range-extending thermal undercrackers for winter commutes.

Renault is on the right track if pricing starts at PS30,000 for small-battery models, as it should.

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