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.