The Renault Megane GT has usually been one of the more flamboyant hatchbacks on the market, but the last generation Megane was a little bit plain. French style and design flair kind of got pushed to one side in a bid to try and make the car a stronger rival to the Ford Focus. However, it never really matched it, and the Focus has remained one of the most popular cars in the UK. Renault has now gone back to offering a Megane with a bold and distinctly French look, and is aiming, once again, to provide the strongest possible contender in one of the most competitive segments on the market.
On the Road
The new Renault Megane GT features a lot more technology than before, and perhaps the key piece of tech in this car relates directly to the driving experience. It features a rare system that can steer all four wheels, the likes of which is usually the reserve of focused sports cars. Named ‘4control’ by Renault, the system is designed to make the new Renault Megane GT take corners faster and easier. While it certainly does the trick, it feels a little strange at first and takes some getting used to. And with 205PS on tap, drivers new to this kind of engineering should perhaps avoid ploughing into hairpins straight away. Once mastered, the system is impressive, but it does leave you feeling slightly cut off from the action going on underneath the wheels.
Impressively, the 205PS that the new Megane GT produces comes from just a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine. Attached to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, this French firework can reach 62mph in 7.1 seconds with the aid of its launch control system. The gearbox is a competent unit, but automatic transmissions aren’t really what Renault does best, and we’d like to see a manual on the spec sheet. Sadly, we’ll be left wanting.
Perhaps that’s because it really isn’t. Yes, there are lower powered models of the Megane available, but this new Renault Megane GT is something a bit more aggressive, blending power and performance with comfort and practicality in a very stylish package.
Interior, Design, and Build
French manufactures traditionally excel with design but then fall down when it comes to the build quality. Things have improved drastically in the last decade, so there isn’t really a need to fear inferiority when it comes to construction now. That means you can enjoy the stunning new design of the Renault Megane GT without worrying that your money is going to the design team more than the engineering team. The new Renault Megane GT looks stunning, far more handsome than ever before and puts the looks of its rivals really under the microscope. For hatchback design, this is probably as good as it gets right now.
It’s a looker inside too, and the screen behind the steering wheel where the instrument dials once resided is really striking. If you like snazzy bits of tech you can also tick an option box to have a heads-up display. The leather touches in our test model and the bright, stylish interior space really impressed us, as did the quality of the materials used. If Renault is pushing hard to make its products feel more upmarket, it has certainly succeeded here – though it was the top-spec Renault Megane GT we were testing.
The new Renault Megane GT is more technology focused than ever before, and that’s a sign of the times. We’re approaching an age where cars will soon be able to drive us around automatically, and though the Renault Megane GT isn’t going to be right at the front of that era, the technology we are now seeing entering ‘normal’ cars like family hatchbacks just shows how affordable and accessible the tech is.
Your new Renault Megane GT can come with an assortment of useful and safety orientated technology such as; adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, an ever-useful traffic-sign recognition system, and automatic emergency braking. Equipment that makes driving safer for everyone can only make the roads a better place, and technology like this isn’t intrusive either.
In the centre of the dashboard there’s the new large portrait touchscreen system. It looks a little bit like the giant unit found in Tesla’s cars, but it isn’t as large and so isn’t as dominating. The software itself is pretty intuitive and in satellite navigation mode, the touchscreen can be pinched to zoom in. It works much like a smartphone, so we think most people will find it pretty easy to get used to.
Renault Megane GT: Cost, Pricing, and Leasing Rates
As the top-spec Megane, the GT is also the most expensive. Our GT-Nav model starts at £25,500, which is rather costly to buy outright, so we would consider looking closely at finance deals.
Renault is often open to doing a deal and, as of publishing, is offering in the region of £1,750 – £2,000 deposit contribution, meaning potential buyers have to put in less at the start of the agreement. So, if you’re a private leaser a £3,000 deposit should secure you a car similar to our top-spec Renault Megane GT Nav for around £350 a month – depending on your annual mileage of course. Business users always benefit from lower rates and so a lease for a company will only cost £289 per month – and that’s with a deposit of around £1,750.
Pros and cons of the Renault Megane GT
Renault has come out with probably the best looking family hatchback in quite some time, and it is a wonderful return to form for the Megane, which had long been a distinctive and bravely styled hatch. Finally, it is brave and beautiful at the same time.
Obviously, a lot of the focus will be on the new Renault Megane GT’s sporty dynamics, but there’s more to it than power and fancy four-wheel steering. It actually provides a very comfortable ride, flowing over rough road surfaces while supporting occupants with very supportive seating. It’s a fine balance.
Well, of course, we’re not going to complain about having over 200PS to play with are we? It’s impressive enough that the output comes from just a 1.6-litre engine, but it’s how easy it puts down the power that really impresses us. This sort of performance is perfect for a car expected to sit just below the hardcore ‘Renaultsport’ version that’s no doubt coming in the future.
The new Renault Megane GT may have just about everything we need in a hatchback, and it may provide and excellent driving experience, but we’re still a little upset with the £25,500 price tag. That’s almost getting on for BMW 3-series money.
No Manual Option
We like the dual-clutch automatic transmission Renault is offering here, it’s a far better unit the French automaker’s previous auto boxes. But to not even offer a manual gearbox on the new Renault Megane GT strikes us as a bit of an oversight. Some of us still like to feel directly involved.
Slim Chance Of Achieving Economy Figures
Smaller capacity turbo engines are undoubtedly more efficient than larger capacity non-turbos, but with 205PS under your right foot, you’re unlikely to get the quoted economy figure 47.1mpg. We fancy there’s a good chance you’ll be getting around 30-35mpg from the new Renault Megane GT, and while that’s not terrible, it’s by no means great either.
Renault Megane GT vs Ford Focus ST vs Vauxhall Astra
With loads of warm hatchbacks to challenge the all-new Renault Megane GT, the French fiend will have to demonstrate why it’s a must-have ride. So, let’s compare it with two major opponents – the Ford Focus ST and the new Vauxhall Astra.
Renault Megane GT vs Ford Focus ST
It’s interesting isn’t it – the Ford Focus ST is billed as a spicy hot hatch and a car driver’s will love. And they aren’t wrong, but the Focus ST is to Ford what the new Megane GT is to Renault. So, how it is possible that these two cars can be so drastically different?
The answer lies in how the cars are setup, and what the engineers are trying to achieve. The new Renault Megane GT is set up so that it isn’t much of a challenge to drive. It has less power than the Focus ST, a softer suspension, and an automatic gearbox.
The ST, though, packs more of a punch, the purists’ favourite manual gearbox, and a harder ride. Yes, these cars occupy a similar position in their model line-ups, but their briefs are totally different.
So, the only thing that matters here is how you drive. If you really like to get to grips with a car and feel at the centre of the action, the Focus ST is certainly the better car. If you’re a little ‘lazier’ at the wheel and want effortless pace with comfort, the new Renault Megane GT will be more your cup of tea.
Little else really matters between these two, but if you’re really picky, the new Renault Megane GT has a vastly superior interior, but if you just love to drive then that shouldn’t sway you from the more involving Focus. What might be of more interest is the fact the Focus ST can be ordered with a diesel engine and with an estate body. That extra versatility may just give the Ford the nose over the new Renault Megane GT for some buyers.
Renault Megane GT Nav – £25,500
Prices: Ford Focus ST – From £22,745 to £27,095
Renault Megane GT vs Vauxhall Astra
The new Vauxhall Astra has crept under the radar a bit, but that’s normally the Vauxhall way. There often isn’t much fanfare to accompany the launch of a new Griffin badged motor, and that’s a bit of a shame really because the new Astra is actually a very good car.
Sure, it’s not as glamorous as the new Renault Megane GT, but is certainly isn’t unappealing. The new exterior styling is fresh and quite slick, and the interior space is a comfortable and enjoyable environment. It also drives well, and, unlike the Ford Focus ST, the new Astra has more in common with the new Renault Megane GT’s driving dynamics.
It has a softer, more cushioned ride, much like the Renault Megane GT while also possessing a similar power output of 200PS. Both of these cars are cut from the same cloth when it comes to the drive, focused on comfort and slickness. The Renault Megane GT certainly has the edge when it comes to tight cornering, thanks to the fancy four-wheel steering.
Money always plays a vital role in decisions, though, and this is where the Vauxhall Astra really has an edge. In top spec ‘Elite Nav’ trim, the Astra comes in around £4,000 cheaper than the new Renault Megane GT, and that’s a lot of cash indeed.
Renault Megane GT – £25,500
Prices Vauxhall Astra (Elite Nav 1.6-litre 200PS) – £21,855
Verdict on our Renault Megane GT Review
The new Renault Megane GT is certainly a car you should get out and test drive if you’re in the market for a fast, comfortable hatchback. It isn’t without its problems, though, and just as history has told us before, the Megane’s biggest issues come from its rivals.
If you want a car that can thrill, the Ford Focus ST is a far better bet, providing more power and involvement but sacrificing comfort and refinement. It also had a little more flexibility, being available as a diesel and with an estate body. The Vauxhall Astra is also available as an estate, and presents the new Renault Megane GT a huge problem by being just as good to drive and for a more affordable price.
The one true strength the new Renault Megane GT is holding on to is its image. It is a very stylish car and stands out far more than the Vauxhall, and that will sway some, but we can’t recommend it over its rivals; in the end, it just doesn’t quite do enough to beat them.
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