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New Car Reviews

New Car Review: Renault Megane E-Tech Electric

Published 7th April 2022Read Time 12 min

Good Stuff 👍
Efficient energy use, upmarket interior, good range
Bad Stuff 👎
Rear seats don’t feel very spacious, no pricing yet

What is the Renault Megane E-Tech?

Megane uses an entirely new platform

The name may be familiar but in the transition to electric power the Megane uses an entirely new platform and has a design that is much more contemporary and striking than its combustion-engined namesake. Buyers will be able to choose from either a 40kW battery or a larger capacity 60KWh version, with a maximum range of up to 470 kilometres.

While there is a growing number of electric crossovers and small SUVs, the hatchback segment that the Megane E-Tech Electric competes in has a smaller offering at present which should give the Renault a head start over some rivals, though battery-powered versions of the Opel Astra and Peugeot 308 are due to arrive in 2023. The Megane is also slightly larger than the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID.3.

How does the Renault Megane E-Tech look?

It has looks that are slightly deceptive

The Renault Megane E-Tech Electric has looks that are slightly deceptive, making it appear larger than it actually is. It measures 4.2 metres in length, which is average for cars in the C-segment, but the proportions of the Megane give it a crossover look, especially with the larger 20-inch alloy wheels that were fitted to our car. The car will feature more modest 18-inch wheels as standard, though the larger ones round off the overall design nicely.

Renault is ushering in a new era of design language with this car, with a fresh take of the daytime running light signature that flows downwards from the slimline LED headlights and a much larger badge that carries the company’s new logo design. The latter is what Renault will use going forward and is a nod to the Vasarely diamond design that was used during the early 1970s. Everything that’s old is new again, as the saying goes.

The rest of the car is styled with clean lines and shaped in a way to ensure that it cuts cleanly through the air to maximise its efficiency. Door handles sit flush against the doors when locked and the roofline gently slopes downwards at the rear. It isn’t as dramatic as to hint at a coupe-like profile, but Renault does hide the rear door handles within the frame of the window adding to the clean side profile.

What is the Renault Megane E-Tech like inside?

The cabin will pleasantly surprise you

If you’ve not seen inside a Renault in recent years, then the Megane E-Tech Electric’s cabin will pleasantly surprise you as there is a significant upswing in terms of design and material quality. For the driver there is a new steering wheel design that is flat along the top and bottom. It’s a good size that feels nice in the hand and carries multifunction buttons that use a high gloss black finish.

These look and feel more premium than typical Renault fare. There is also a rotary dial on the right side to quickly switch between driving modes. Ahead of the wheel is a now common digital instrument display with a simple, uncluttered layout. Similar to a Mercedes-Benz, the selector for the automatic gearbox is placed as a stalk among the light and wiper controls.

The instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment display are joined within what appears to be a single L-shaped element. Renault offers a 9-inch touchscreen as standard with higher grade models receiving a more generous 12-inch display. Renault has moved to a Google-based infotainment system that brings several benefits, namely the integration of Google Maps for navigation.

With the latter integrated into the car, drivers can see how much battery charge will remain when they reach their destination. It is possible to have a wireless charging pad underneath this screen and there is the usual Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mirroring options.

Seating in the rear is on par for the segment but not overly roomy. Both of the outer seats are comfortable, and the mostly flat floor does make up for a middle seat that isn’t especially wide.

We wish the rear windows were slightly larger as they lack height, making the rear feel a bit dark and enclosed. On the practical side there is a 440-litre boot that also includes a 32-litre underfloor storage compartment that is useful for holding the charging cables or keeping valuables out of sight.

What is the Renault Megane E-Tech like to drive?

The sweet spot for overall driving

Buyers will be able to choose between two power outputs with the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, starting with a 131hp version. However, here we’re driving the more powerful 218hp model which is paired with the larger capacity 60kWh battery.

Even though this is the range-topper when it comes to outright performance, the sweet spot for overall driving range comes with a combination of the less powerful motor and the larger battery. Despite its big battery the Megane isn’t as heavy as some of its rivals. Tipping the scales at 1,636kg puts it some 100kg or so lighter than the Volkswagen ID.3, and when it comes to prolonging the driving range with an electric car, weight can be a significant factor.

That shows through when the Renault accelerates away from rest and when cruising at speed, with the real-time energy consumption levels remaining pleasantly low. Renault’s expertise with electric motors from experience gained with the smaller Zoe alongside a new heat pump puts the Megane in good stead. Performance isn’t lacking either, with the 218hp and 300Nm giving the five-door hatchback ample acceleration when rolling on the power.

The suspension does a good job of softening out the ride and there’s plenty of composure when you arrive at the twisty stuff. That beneficial weight plus the lower centre of gravity are positive attributes to the car’s handling. A slightly lower steering ratio means that you need fewer turns of the wheel when going from lock to lock and even when driving along a more winding road you rarely need anything more than a quarter-turn of the wheel.

You can hustle the Renault along, but it delivers its best performance when going about the everyday stuff. There’s little road noise coming into the interior, which is partly thanks to an added layer of fabric between the battery and cabin.

Combined with the smoothness of the electric motor, the Renault is a relaxing car to drive. What will impress buyers is that even across a variety of different driving situations the Megane appears to be quite efficient with its battery power, and during our time with the car it returned an average of 15.6kWh/100km when driven quite normally.

Which Renault Megane E-Tech should I buy?

Of the three versions that will be available from the car’s launch later this year, the less powerful 131hp motor with the larger 60kWh battery does state the longest driving range on paper, at 470 kilometres.

That said, the 218hp model we’ve driven here is capable of up to 450 kilometres with the same battery, which is only a minor reduction in overall range for what is a noticeable jump in performance.

Regardless of power output, all versions will come equipped with a 22kW onboard AC charger that will be a real plus to those using the public charging network.

Is the Renault Megane E-Tech safe?

Full five stars by Euro NCAP

In a recent Euro NCAP test the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric scored a full five stars with ratings of 85 per cent and 88 per cent for adult occupant and child occupant protection, respectively. There are numerous driver assistance systems available too, which can help reduce the risk of a collision occurring.

Verdict 👀

As an overall package the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric is an impressive car. It offers buyers a choice of versions, has an appealing design and an interior that is far better than anything the brand has previously offered for sale. The electric drivetrain and charging system’s performance gives the Megane an edge over many of its rivals.

Spec Check ⚙️

Renault Megane E-Tech

Battery

60kWh

Power

218PS

Torque

300Nm

0-100km/h

7.4 seconds

Range

450km

Top Speed

160km/h

Transmission

1-speed automatic

Co2

0g/km

Annual Motor Tax

€110

Luggage Capacity

440 litres with the seats up

Price as tested

tbc

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