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Renault Megane Coupe: month six
Model: Renault Megane Coupé Dynamique TomTom 1.5 dCi 110 EDC
On fleet since: March 2010
Mileage: 10,200 miles
Official combined mpg: 64.2 mpg
Our average economy: 56.2 mpg
Performance: 0-62mph 10.9secs/118mph
Power/Torque: 110hp@4,000rpm/177lb ft@2,000rpm
Insurance group: 18E
Options fitted: i.d. metallic paint (£495), 17-inch alloys (no cost option - 16in std), dual-zone climate control (£410), fixed sunroof (£420), rear parking sensors (£310), emergency spare wheel (£75).
Price as tested: £22,030
Pros: Neat climate control, fun handling, overall satisfaction on twisty roads
Cons: Uncomfortable seats, fiddly stereo, poor brake feel in contrast to the rest of the chassis
Where have we been in the Renault Megane Coupé?
It was off to Porsche Silverstone this month, to test a brace of winter tyres. If you recall, I ran these last year on our long-term VW Golf: the event was to underline how dramatic the changes are. The irony? We drove down in the height of the Indian Summer...
It had been far colder the week before, when I headed over to south London to drive the revised Ford Fiesta range. Not that any of this was apparent from inside the Megane: thank £410 of dual-zone climate control for that. It's when the weather change so dramatically like this that you appreciate the benefits of 'set and forget' climate control.
What do we like?
Another benefit of that climate control is Renault's posh-pleasing 'Soft' function. Instead of having one intensity profile of fan, you have three: regular, a 'Fast' setting that ups the intensity, and 'Soft' that controls the climate much more discreetly. The fan still varies, but with less vigour than normal.
This thus makes it much quieter and more discreet. I appreciate it for this, while the guys in the office like it because it doesn't give their face a sandblast of air when first started up: neither CJ nor Peter seems to like air vents directed at their faces, unlike me - I'm used to getting into cars to find them closed or turned away, but that's never the case in the Megane.
That run to Silverstone includes some of my favourite and most well-known twisty roads. Just the thing to remind me of how sweetly the Megane handles. It's agile and free from sog, alert and poised, roll-free and precise: much more chuckable than you'd perhaps expect of a non-sport model.
Driving this car quickly is very satisfying indeed, and it only gets better as road surfaces degenerate. The damping, see, is marvellous, one of the car's very best aspects. There's a real Renault character to how the suspension reacts to challenging roads, and I find it very satisfying indeed.
What don't we like?
I don't like the seats. I thought it was simply a few post-jog aches at first, but experience in various other test cars has confirmed it: they're just not comfortable after hours behind the wheel. Time and again I exit with a numb bum, after shuffling for the final half-hour or so. It's odd, as I've not experienced it in any other car for years.
I reckon it's because the bases are too flat and too firm, but it's a shame, as otherwise the Megane is a fine distance cruiser, simply because it's so satisfying and rewarding to feel the chassis at work. It's surprisingly engaging despite being a relatively mainstream model.
The guys in the office had it for a few days and reminded me how basically unfathomable the stereo is. I like 5 Live: they like FM stations, and changing from one to another turned out to be the challenge of an afternoon. Style over logic here, Renault: good job the TomTom sat nav is so comparably easy to use.
And driving a few other premium cars has brought home how poor the brake mechanism is here. Lifeless and noisy (releasing the pedal elicits a pronounced 'thud'), the pedal mechanism is compromised because it's converted from LHD, rather than being bespoke for RHD. Given the accuracy in the chassis, it's a shame brake feel and precision is so comparably vague.
What next for the Renault Megane Coupé?
The Megane is to get a new keeper for the next few months, as we have a car swap in the MSN Cars office. Peter will be running it now, to give a different perspective on the smart-looking Renault Coupé.
Me, well, my soon-to-be-three family is to benefit from the practicality of an Audi A6 Avant. As a new father, I hear space in cars is a must have, and this is something the Megane's compromised boot opening just doesn't offer. Come back soon to hear of my first impressions of the Audi, and also to see how Peter finds the Megane I like so much...
Report 1: Renault Mégane Coupe: arrival
Report 2: Renault Mégane Coupe: month two
Report 3: Renault Mégane Coupe: month three
Report 4: Renault Mégane Coupe: month four
Report 5: Renault Mégane Coupe: month five
Report 6: Renault Mégane Coupe: month six (this report)
Report 7: Renault Mégane Coupe: month seven
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