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Renault Megane Coupe: month seven
Model: Renault Megane Coupé Dynamique TomTom 1.5 dCi 110 EDC
On fleet since: March 2010
Mileage: 14,003 miles
Official combined efficiency: 64.2mpg/109g/km CO2
Our average economy: 51.9mpg
Performance: 0-62mph 10.9 seconds / 118mph
Power/torque: 110bhp @ 4,000rpm / 177lb ft @ 2,000rpm
Insurance group: 18E
Options fitted: i.d. metallic paint (£495), 17-inch alloy wheels (no cost option - 16-inch as standard), dual-zone climate control (£410), fixed glass panoramic roof (£420), rear parking sensors (£310), emergency spare wheel (£75).
Price as tested: £22,030
Pros: Entertaining chassis, decent economy
Cons: Gearbox frustrating at times, complicated Bluetooth pairing, rear visibility - still...
Where have we been in the Renault Megane Coupé?
Since our last report on the Megane Coupé the Renault has received a new custodian - hence why this latest account has a lot to cover with my initial impressions and fresh perspective on things.
In joining the MSN Cars team I inherited the Megane from Richard, and after what seemed like a fruitful partnership with him, but conflicting opinions from elsewhere surrounding the Megane's ride, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
A mix of driving taking in motorways - including two relentless trudges back-and-to to Gatwick airport and up the M6 to Cheshire - A- and B-roads as well as an intended demarcation between periods of "sporty" driving and an economy-drive, well, drive, the Megane has had quite the workout.
And I have to say I'm impressed.
What do we like?
The chassis is brilliant for what is a small-capacity diesel-engined cooking road car. On a deserted A-road the Megane feels at home. Both wide, open sweepers and tight turns are easy fodder thanks to the well-weighted and geared steering.
It gives the Megane a very four-square, planted feel which is definitely confidence inspiring - it's refreshing to feel a car working and flowing with you when you want to get going rather than the complement of electronic aids constantly reining the car in.
On a deserted A-road the Megane feels right at home
I like the ride, too. Given my usual summer mode of transport, which is beginning its thaw from winter at the minute, I don't find the ride too firm or harsh thanks to the Megane's excellent damping control.
As daylight hours increase, the panoramic glass roof is coming into its own as well. Flooding the cabin with light it highlights the Renault's interior as a decent design and a well-screwed-together space, as well as lifting the ambience in the cabin.
I've managed to get economy up to 51.9mpg - and that's with some long, constant light throttle runs. How Richard, our resident economy champion was achieving 56.2mpg under his tenure with the Megane is beyond me.
We've just got a Vauxhall Astra GTC - another hatchback-to-coupé conversion - in the office this week and it'll have to be very good indeed to beat the Megane for driving enjoyment.
What don't we like?
Jumping into the Megane for the first time I tried to hook up my phone through the TomTom system's Bluetooth interface. Usually there's a pretty easy procedure for this sort of thing - not so in the Megane.
Firstly, nowhere is the menu to pair a new phone evident, and only after consulting the manual and locating the little settings button on the centre console did I find the option.
When you eventually get there the usually intuitive TomTom system is pretty simple to work, if a bit long winded compared to some other manufacturer's devices.
Once phone is paired with car the Bluetooth works well though - the Megane picks up the connection to your phone quickly every time you jump in and both the mic and speakers are clear, free from the echoey distant tones that can sometimes befall Bluetooth systems.
As has been mentioned before, the EDC gearbox can be a bit irrit
Accompanied by a jerky kangarooing motion
ating and my idea that the dual-clutch equipped Renault's changes would be blink-of-the-eye quick was short lived.
It's a good unit but in Drive holds on to gears for a fraction too long - seemingly only changing up once a set speed is reached - lacking the ultimate smoothness of a conventional torque converter automatic and the intuition of a brain-leg-clutch pedal interface.
It has a willingness to change down as well - possibly to make the best use of the modest 1.5-litre engine's performance when on the throttle, or provide enough engine braking when off it.
But coming to a halt at junctions it seems to stick in second, only dropping down to first when you go to pull away, accompanied by a jerky kangarooing motion.
Despite the above though, I quite like it and think it works well with the Megane's honest engine.
What's next for the Renault Megane Coupé?
With Renault announcing in December last year that it was to cull its UK range, axing the Laguna, Modus, Espace and Kangoo passenger version of the van-based vehicle, we're heading to Renault to find out where the Megane Coupé sits in the French manufacturer's range.
Find out what the outcome is next month.
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
Report 7: Renault Mégane Coupe: month seven (this report)
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