We have a 2004 Megane 1.5 dCi 100 bhp Dynamique, our fourth Renault.
We bought it because we have been very pleased with our Renaults so it was a natural choice. But also I liked the styling and design flair it offers. Also we already have a Toyota, VW and Peugeot and it's nice to have a variety.
Things we like:
Quality: huge improvement on some previous French cars. We liked all our previous Renaults but this Megane has really moved to game up a good few levels. There is nothing flimsy here, with the possible exception of the lid on the storage bin between the seats. This could do with a bit more money spent on it. Exterior quality is first rate, all the panel gaps are tight and even, paintwork very glossy. Interior is well put together, doors have a nice solid feel. Cabin plastics well assembled. Quality of one or two bits of plastic not as good as VW but their fitting is sound and it's a much cheaper car to buy. There are no rattles from anywhere.
Engine: 1.5 dCi engine is the most powerful of the 1.5's, turning out 100bhp. It goes very well for such a tiny engine and
lag is well controlled. Very refined as well, from cold there is some diesel noise but it soon settles down to a quiet hum. Once fully warmed up, you would not know this was a diesel from inside the car, a few passengers have been fooled. It is very economical and seems to get more so as the miles pile on. When we got it we were averaging 51mpg, now at almost 12K miles we are getting 56mpg.
Styling: That rear end polarises opinion, I love it. Even if you don't like it, Renault should be credited with at least daring to be different and pushing the boundaries of conventional design. The interior is more conventional but still neat enough.
Gadgets: There are lots of things to play with, keyless entry with push button engine starting, full length glass sunroof with air con, rain and speed sensitive wipers, automatic headlights, speed sensitive door locks, folding mirrors. At first you think of these things as unnecessary but you soon get used to them and then would hate not to have them. Even the speed and rain senstive wipers can be entertaining for children on rainy dual carriageways and motorways, anything that helps to amuse youngsters on car journeys has to be a good thing. They love playing with the keyless entry system, rushing up to the car to be first to put their hand on the door handle and see it magically unlock.
Safety: Hopefully not needed but comforting to know it's there if the worst happens. Brakes are fantastic. The Laguna had strong brakes, but these are something else. Perhaps almost a bit too strong when crawling along in slow traffic, it's very easy to create some neck jerking.
Reliability:So far we have only had to replace a front sidelight bulb. Sometimes the electric glass sunroof refused to close automatically when the car was locked. Problem was quickly fixed by local dealer (Platinum Renault Bath). There's a safety device on the roof that cuts off the power to the motor if it detects an obstruction (eg. a child's hand). Some dirt had got into the roof channels and was confusing the sensor. No problems since. Our previous Renaults have given good service and this one feels like it will do the same.
Things we don't like:
Sports alloys: They look nice (and unlike our VW are easy to clean) but I think they spoil the ride. You couldn't say the ride was bad, but there's a certain underlying firmness and is a bit of a surprise if you've come from another Renault.
Rear wiper: Due to the shape of the rear window, the wiper is tiny. I notice the Citroen C4 has the same problem. This combined with the very thick rear pillars can make visibility a bit tricky. You get used to it though.
Changing the front bulbs: You have to access the bulbs through a hatch in the wheel arch, which is covered in mud, or worse if you live in the country like we do. OK, bulbs last a long time these days but since it is an offence to drive with a broken bulb, a simpler method of replacing them by the roadside would be appreciated.
Overall a very nice car that we are pleased to own. It seems to get better and better as the miles pile on. At first the gearbox felt notchy and occasionally obstructive into reverse but it has now bedded in well. The interaction between clutch and gearbox is smoother now as well. And the economy has improved from 51mpg to 56mpg. Next time I think we would go for leather interior since it's easier to clean and possibly the 1.9 engine.
The 1.5 is a good engine but having driven the 1.9 it feels a bit more torquey, as one would expect. I wonder what the next Megane will look like, I hope Renault don't lose their nerve as Ford seem to have done with the new Focus.