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Driven: Renault gives Megane a booster shot

Euro update: Renault Australia will source most of its refreshed Megane range from the Palencia, Spain plant instead of Turkey where the previous model came from.

Price cut for Renault Megane, plus new wagon and sports variants join expanded range


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17 Jul 2013

RENAULT Australia has cut the price of entry to its Megane small-car to $20,990 plus on-road costs as a part of a mid-life refresh of its top-selling model.

At the same time, the now Spanish-sourced range has expanded to include a new wagon bodystyle aimed at the Holden Cruze and Hyundai i30 load-luggers, as well as a new, more luxurious mid-spec GT-Line.

Finally, the French brand has added a new cut-price CC convertible version and, perhaps most excitingly for enthusiasts, introduced a limited edition hotted-up wagon derivative of the scorching RS.

This 162kW/340Nm sports wagon will hit the market from $36,990, with its sites firmly set on the Skoda Octavia RS.

The new entry-level petrol $20,990 Expression hatch is $2000 cheaper than the old base car, and undercuts the rival Opel Astra, Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308, and matches the entry i30 hatch.

However, while the rest of the revised range is now on-sale, buyers keen on the new base version must wait until September.

This is because manual versions of the base car get a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine in place of the old 2.0-litre unit (the latter remains in the CVT automatic versions).

This pint-sized four-cylinder turbo produces 88kW of power and 190Nm of torque and features in the Clio and Captur.

Strangely, the engine is available only with a dual-clutch automatic in these other models, but is manual-only in the Megane. Renault Australia says it expects to add a dual-clutch automatic to the range next year.

The carryover 2.0-litre engine on the autos produces 103kW/195Nm. The existing 81kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine also remains, matched solely to the dual-clutch transmission.

Standard gear in this base car includes cruise control, a speed limiter, 16-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary jack and cloth seats.

Meanwhile the new, sportier GT-Line sits mid-range, and is available in petrol mode with a CVT from $26,490. The diesel, meanwhile, is matched to Renault’s six-speed “Efficient dual-clutch” (EDC) transmission for $28,990.

Extra equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a ‘Renault Sport designed interior’, sports cloth seats, leather steering wheel, electronic parking brake, rear parking sensors and integrated sat-nav.

It also gets design flourishes such as a different front bumper, a honeycomb grille and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, while the cabin features red piping, stitching and accents in the vein of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Mercedes-Benz A250.

Renault has also tweaked the chassis setup, and stiffened the springs and front and rear dampers on GT-Line variants in an attempt to give the car more dynamic nous.

The final piece of the puzzle is the new wagon. It is available from launch in two specifications, starting with the petrol Dynamique with standard CVT from $26,490 plus on road costs.

The mid-spec GT-Line is next level up in the wagon range from $27,990 for the petrol CVT and $30,490 for the diesel matched with the dual-clutch transmission. This gives it a $1500 premium over equivalent hatch variants.

The wagon measures around 4500mm in length – 264mm longer and 76mm higher than the hatch – while the 2703mm wheelbase is 62mm longer than the hatch (2641mm). It can hold 524 litres of stuff with the back seats in place (40 per cent more than the hatch) and up to 1600L with the rear pews folded.

Buyers looking for a more luxurious specification can choose from either the Privilege variant in the hatch or the GT-Line Premium Pack in both hatch and wagon for $3500 extra.

Both options include heated front seats, front parking sensors, rear parking camera, panoramic sunroof and Renault’s Visio system that features lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam controls.

The Privilege also includes charcoal leather seats with white piping and the GT-Line features the same “Cool Grey” leather upholstery previously only found in the hardcore Renault Sport 265 Trophy +.

After previously sourcing the Megane range from Turkey, all Australian-spec Meganes will now be sourced from Renault’s Palencia plant in Spain, except CC (Coupe-Cabriolet) models that are built at the Douai, France plant.

In petrol guise, the Megane hatch can dash from zero to 100km/h in 10.3 seconds and the diesel gets there in 11.7 seconds, while the wagon versions manage the sprint in 10.6 and 12.1 seconds respectively.

Highlighting the extra 55kg of weight the wagon carries over the hatch, Megane wagon variants sip slightly more fuel than the hatch, with combined fuel consumption of 7.8 litres per 100km (7.9 for wagon) for the 2.0-litre petrol and 4.4L/100km in 1.5-litre diesel guise (4.7L/100km for wagon).

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the GT-Line will appeal to buyers wanting a sporting edge and is keen for people to make the link between Renault’s regular models and its super hot Renault Sport sub-brand.

“The introduction of the GT-Line specification across the range represents a fantastic opportunity for growth in the Mégane family,” he said. “We are aware that Australians love sporty cars and we are delighted to be able to respond to this love by bringing some of the Renault Sport magic to the standard Renault line-up.”

Australia has a love affair with Renault Sport – we are one of the world’s largest markets for sporty Renaults overall, and they make up a greater proportion of Renault’s total sales here than anywhere else in the world.

As a part of the 2013 upgrade, Renault has introduced a limited edition GT220 wagon for $36,990, powered by a de-tuned version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged unit from the Megane RS 265. Australia and Japan are the only right-hand-drive markets in the world to receive the GT220 Estate, as a 220-unit limited-edition special.

If demand is there, more will be imported at a later date.

Essentially an RS ‘Sport’ chassis vehicle with a detuned version of the long-serving ‘F4R’ 2.0-litre engine found in the Megane RS265 Cup, the front wheels are driven via a six-speed manual gearbox. No automatic transmission will be made available.

Power and torque outputs are rated at 162kW from 4750rpm to 6500rpm, and 340Nm from 2400rpm to 3500rpm respectively, compared to the RS265’s 198kW and 360Nm peaks. This translates to a 100km/h dash from standstill in 7.6 seconds, on the way to a 240km/h top speed.

By including an RS monitor that collects the performance data of the car, Renault is pitching the GT220 at buyers that are attracted to the RS brand but also need the practicality of a wagon.

Finally, Renault has added more value to the CC range, upping the number of variants from one to three, including a new entry-level petrol CVT version from $36,990.

The petrol and CVT-only CC range includes a mid-spec GT-Line from $41,990 and top-spec Privilege from $43,990, all of which cost less than the previous model that sold for $45,990.

Renault Megane range pricing:*
Expression Petrol$20,990
Expression Petrol (a)$22,990
GT-Line Petrol (a)$26,490
GT-Line Diesel (a)$28,990
Privilege Petrol (a)$29,990
GT-Line Premium Pack Petrol (a)$29,990
Privilege Diesel (a)$32,490
GT-Line Premium Pack Diesel (a)$32,490
Dynamique Petrol (a)$26,490
GT-Line Petrol (a)$27,990
GT-Line Diesel (a)$30,490
GT-Line Premium Pack Petrol (a)$31,490
GT-Line Premium Pack Diesel (a)$33,990
Petrol (a)$36,990
GT-Line Petrol (a)$41,990
Privilege Petrol (a)$43,990
GT 220 wagon
GT 220 Sport Wagon $36,990
Sport Wagon Premium Pack$41,990

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