Car Review: Renault - Megane  Series 96 (3 stars)

Average. Don't let the wacky looks fool you - underneath the Megane is one of the most sensible, conservative hatchbacks around.

The Megane's big bottomed styling has certainly won it plenty of attention, and a memorable advertising campaign, but as it gets older it becomes increasingly clear that it's actually one of the most conservative - and sensible - cars in the family hatchback segment.The funky design and curvacious boot of the hatchback have certainly won the Megane plenty of attention, although it's worth noting that the saloon and estate versions are far more visually conventional. The cabin is far less radical, with some very cheap feeling plastics making it look and feel old-fashioned compared to more modern rivals. It's a comfortable place to spend time, though, with a good driving position and excellent insulation from motorway noise. Space is reasonable for four occupants and, as you'd expect, the vast boot is impressively commodious.Dynamics have never been the Megane's greatest strength. Ordinary versions are fairly dull to drive and all suffer from abrupt on-off clutches and rubbery-feeling brakes. Don't be fooled my mid-range performance versions like the GT - other than they torquey motor they offer little in the way of a sporty drives. Genuinely hot versions can deliver some thrills though, with the most powerful RenaultSport R26 using an advanced limited slip differential to generate awesome levels of grip.Most punters will be more likely to opt for one of the excellent diesel engines, with the super-frugal 106 bhp 1.5 litre version offering a pretty much unbeatable combination of economy and performance.

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Renault Megane Series 96 StatisticsCar Reviews

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