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Autozine – Auto Test: Renault Megane Electric

Another difference with other brands: with most competitors, each next-generation model resembles the previous model. That way, newcomers are easy to recognize and familiar with. At Renault, on the other hand, each Megane generation is very different from the one before it!

Renault Megane Electric

The fifth generation of the Renault Megane is hefty and muscular and therefore has something of an SUV. This is due to the metal to glass ratio in combination with the very large wheels, as well as the platform. Since the Megane is only available as an electric car, the platform is designed to accommodate a small motor and a large battery. This is in contrast to conventional platforms, where the engine takes up a lot of space and the fuel tank takes up little. That’s also why Megane has a look that is characteristic of modern electric cars.

The car shown is the one called “icon”-show. For those who don’t like the two-tone body or gold accents, there’s also a more tame-looking variant.

Renault Megane Electric
Renault Megane Electric

Room

The Megane E-Tech is the first model of the new generation of Renault and this is also evident from the interior design. Since this platform is made specifically for electric cars, every nook and cranny can be used for batteries. Therefore, the space at the front is good, but there is no legroom for passengers under the seats. Legroom in the back is sufficient, but not more than that.

Despite all the batteries on the floor, the luggage compartment is very deep. There’s even an additional compartment under the loading floor where the charging cable can be stored. Low floors do produce a substantial threshold.

Equipment

To give the Megane E-Tech a futuristic look, the dashboard of the test car is equipped with chrome combined with wood that has been cut into a fine mesh pattern using laser technology. While other materials look (and feel) very ordinary, Renault has made extensive use of recycled raw materials.

Behind the wheel is a screen which, interrupted by air vents, flows into a large standing display in the center of the dashboard. Renault takes full advantage of the advantages offered by this set-up, as the driver can choose from different layouts.

“electric propulsion is the only logical way to make the new Megane significantly better than the previous one”

Renault has used the Google Android operating system for communication, navigation and assistance functions. Most of the functions are also available without signing in with a Google account. In addition, it is possible to create multiple user profiles, where the user can choose not to use Android and not to share data (although the system keeps asking for this periodically). Alternatively, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto can be used.

Renault Megane Electric

Of course, this so-called “infotainment” system can receive updates via the internal internet connection. Fortunately, because during the test period the image froze more than once. Also, the left screen spontaneously switches to French after a few days of driving and there is no option to switch it back to Dutch or English.

The luxury variants driven here are equipped with an audio system from specialist Harman Kardon. The sound is rich, clear, and also enjoyable after hours of listening. However, it is not so subtle as to be worthy of the name “hi-fi” or “high end”.

In terms of safety, Megane offers all the active and passive safety systems expected from a modern car, but here Megane does not offer innovation. With one exception: to ensure that the driver can hold as much of the steering wheel as possible, most of the controls are located in and around the steering wheel. The result: no less than four levers (automatic control, audio, windshield wiper, regeneration) can be found on the right side behind the steering wheel. During testing, this sometimes caused confusion, causing, for example, the windshield wipers to be turned on instead of backwards.

Renault Megane Electric

Electric driving

Megane E-Tech offers a choice of different batteries (40 kWh and 60 kWh) and motors (130 hp and 220 hp). Besides, there are “additional cost” in “optimal cost” version, which determines how fast the car can charge (85 kW or 130 kW).

For this test, the largest battery combined with the most powerful motor and fastest charger was driven. Like other Renault models, “Multi Flavor” car character. This affects not only the response to the power pedal, but also the steering and even the mood lighting. In sporty and comfortable fashion, the Megane E-Tech is smooth and bold. Not only from a standstill, but also when reaching speed, there is always more than enough reserve available to accelerate further. Only in eco mode is clearly kept in everything and the liveliness ends.

The driver can determine how much energy is recovered when the power pedal is released. As with electric cars, the more the car withstands, the more energy it gains. However, unlike other electric cars, it is impossible to drive with one pedal. Even with maximum regeneration, Megane continues to go at a speed of about 8 km/hour. Tip: by using adaptive cruise control with the traffic jam function, Megane stops automatically, only then does the driver give up complete control.

Renault Megane Electric

During the test period, 387 to 450 km (average consumption: 15.8 kWh / 100 km) were covered on a single battery. This range corresponds exactly to the promise of Renault. With almost empty batteries, charging starts at 100 kW, but this immediately drops to 60 kW, after which this speed is maintained for a long time. Nonetheless, the battery charges to 80% again after about 20 minutes of charging. With a public charger, the Megane E-Tech can charge at 22 kW, which is faster than some electric cars from so-called “premium” brands!

Handling

Electric cars are increasingly able to disguise the high weight caused by batteries. However, it appears that this is a heavy car. For example, the front wheels clearly have difficulty processing engine power in corners. In terms of dynamics, Megane previously had the advantage.

However, the new Megane assured comfort. The electric drive does its job almost silently. Low tire and wind noise and a low center of gravity give the Megane E-Tech a stable and confident handling.

Renault Megane Electric

Conclusion

Is the new electric-powered Renault Megane E-Tech a golden opportunity or failure? The first, because it is the only logical path to real progress. With an internal combustion engine, Renault can only innovate in terms of appearance and ergonomics. In addition, both Renault and customers will pay the grand prize. Car manufacturers pay taxes on the emissions of the cars they sell. Electric cars are now the same price as cars with combustion engines, but the latter are more expensive to use (fuel, depreciation, maintenance).

But Megane E-Tech is more than just a logical step forward. The new platform offers plenty of interior space from the limited exterior dimensions (though not as extreme as some competitors). Electric drive makes it possible to make safety and assistance systems smarter and more accurate. And of course the electric motor provides more comfort. In short: electric drive is the only logical way to make the new Megane significantly better than the previous one.

plus

  • Rich modern equipment
  • Smooth, silent and emission-free
  • Big leap forward compared to previous Megane

min

  • No legroom under the front seat
  • The front wheel can’t always handle the power
  • (for now) not available as a station wagon
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