Megane joins the EV ‘Renaulution’
As the French manufacturer reshapes to become a next-gen automotive company, the fleet favourite Megane has been redesigned for an electric-only future
Model: Megane E-Tech
0-62 (secs): 7.5
Range (WLTP miles): 280
Battery (kWh): 60
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After powering diesel and petrol fleets across the country for nearly 30 years, the Renault Megane has a new lease of life as a pure electric car, part of what the French manufacturer calls the ‘Renaulution’. Badged as the Megane E-Tech, the switch from horsepower to electric power comes in an all-new design and with Google built-in. We take the Techno trim version out on the road to see what it has to offer fleets.
The Megane looks slick and sharp, especially from the front where the thin headlight strip gives it a bold look, enhanced by nice details such as LED running lights that carve sharp lines through the bumper. At the rear, the slender light profile continues, stretching across the boot to touch the Renault logo in the centre. It is all designed to provide a sporty silhouette, with windows that taper to a point at the rear, while the door handles are flush-fitting at the front and hidden in the C-pillar at the back. Overall, it gives a clean, dynamic appearance, but there is a price to pay in terms of practicality (more on that later).
There is lots to like inside the new Megane E-Tech, particularly the focus on quality; it has an upmarket feel that can match rivals and meet the benchmark set by German brands such as Volkswagen.
There is lots of fabric that softens the tone compared to traditional plastic. The seats feature plenty of adjustment and come heated as standard, along with the steering wheel, which will be a focus of attention as it contains many of the controls a driver might need, along with a stalk to control gear selection, which frees up space in the cabin.
Large screens dominate the driver’s view of the dashboard, but they feature a clever, subtle design, so the driver isn’t overwhelmed with information and tiny typefaces. It is useful and cool at the same time. Rear seat passengers are less well catered for in terms of space, which can be cramped for taller adults.
There are lots of neat touches in the Megane E-Tech, such as the phone charging station in the centre console. There are also lots of decent sized cubby holes and storage bins in the cabin.
The boot is adequate for this class of car, but there is a lip to lift loads over and it doesn’t provide a flat floor when the rear seats are folded.
If you pack the car with people instead, taller rear passengers may find they lack both headroom and legroom.
Drivers will also find rear visibility is affected by the sporty design. The swooping roofline cuts into vision through the rear window and, when combined with the driver’s high seating position, there is not much of a view. Luckily, the built-in camera helps when reversing.
The Megane E-Tech has an official range of 280 miles, although this will vary according to driving style, tyre sizes, temperature, use of air-conditioning, and levels of range anxiety as the battery depletes. With all these factors considered, usable range is likely to be just over 200 miles for most people, which is more than enough for most journeys.
If you use rapid charging on-the-road, the Megane can add more than 180 miles of range back into the battery in 30 minutes; slow charging at home is an overnight job. In normal use, the battery will last several days without needing to plug in.
The excellent chassis instils confidence on twisty routes and there is lots of power when needed, with a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds, helped by a relatively lightweight package for an electric car at just over 1,600kgs.
There are several driving modes and levels of steering assistance. When changing from comfort to sport there is an extra punch of acceleration and quicker throttle response, although with all the car’s power going to the front wheels, throwing all 220PS at them from a standstill can break traction. In contrast, eco mode limits performance and top speed.
There is a slightly choppy ride, potentially because of the large 20-inch alloy wheels, in addition to intrusive road noise, which is all the more apparent when there is no engine to cover it up; it sounded as if the car had a window or door slightly open.
The Megane E-Tech is built around the Android Automotive operating system, which embeds Google services in the car. Just saying ‘Okay Google’ can access a wealth of tech products, including Google Maps. The car also offers Apple CarPlay.
Renault says it is trying to extend the smartphone experience to its models, so each driver’s profile can be linked to their own Google account to automatically personalise their services.
Information comes through a wide digital screen that is angled towards the driver. Everything works quickly, as you would expect with Google software.
There are also physical buttons where they are most needed, such as for heater controls, which is welcome and they felt solidly fixed in place.
The very good sound system offers a range of pre-set options, from original to live mode and even ‘club mode’, which adds more bass.
Drivers can access a growing array of third-party apps through the Megane’s connected software, with the most recent additions including easy parking payment, online radio, an audio streaming service called Sybel, and the Vivaldi web browser.
The keyless entry is the best I have used, automatically locking and unlocking as you leave or approach the car, while on the road there is a wealth of driving aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane centering, distance warning alert, driver drowsiness alert, and emergency brake assist.
The Renault Megane E-Tech is a quality car that performs well and looks good, with some great features, particularly when it comes to the technology and infotainment set-up. Space could be better in the back if you are carrying adults, its looks come at the expense of the rear view, and some more sound-proofing would be welcome, but overall it’s a strong contender in an increasingly crowded zero-emission market. With its new all-electric offering, the Megane name is certain to remain on fleet choice lists for years to come.
For details on the wealth of vehicles available on flexible terms from Reflex Vehicle Hire, review our Vehicle Selection page or contact one of our expert team members.
ROAD TESTER PROFILE
Name: Joshua Howell
Role: Yard Manager
Model tested: Renault Megane E-Tech
Motoring likes: Country lane driving and drag racing
Motoring dislikes: Drivers in traffic who won't use the filter but block anyone else trying to use it
Dream car: Nissan GTR Nismo
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