My colleague Charl Bosch recently spent some time with the range-topping fourth generation Renault Mégane GT; he really enjoyed his time with the car, which had me keen to sample the newcomer.
A few weeks later, a GT-Line model arrived for testing and I decided to grab the keys. Having owned a third generation Mégane for a year or so, I feel that I am in a good place to evaluate whether this fourth generation model has upped the ante.
The exterior design of the new Mégane is certainly something to admire with the French marque showing good form in all of its latest products. It cuts a highly stylised hatch silhouette in GT-Line guise with grey 17-inch alloy wheels, while up front there are large wrap-around front lights and the brand’s new corporate grille.
At the rear, the lights are quite large and extend inward towards the logo in the centre of the boot. In fact, onlookers had only positive feedback about the Mégane's looks with "attractive" being the description of choice.
Although the exterior of the previous Mégane was quite attractive, the interior lacked in quality, ergonomics and design. I am happy to report that this fourth generation remedies this with superb quality materials, improved ergonomics and indeed, more space. The GT-Line models are equipped with comfortable, sporty Alcantara-clad seats which also add a sense of premium appeal to the equation.
The dominant feature inside though has to be the portrait-style infotainment screen which houses most of the car’s functions such as climate control, vehicle settings, media and navigation. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though as I found the infotainment system to be quite a difficult thing to use at times while the rear is not as capacious as key rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota’s Auris.
Conduire le GT-Line
Driving the GT-Line left me impressed, a surprise given my initial disappoint after spending a day behind the wheel of the GT. I suppose that it’s because I expected more from the GT; it wears Renault Sport logos everywhere and it simply doesn’t deliver on the hot hatch promise.
The GT-Line on the other hand just wants to be a regular car with some sporty cosmetic additions, and in that regard, it does the job very well indeed. The chassis is sweet and the car seems willing to tackle whatever you throw at it, just don’t expect the best in terms of engagement or feedback, which I didn’t and is perhaps why I found the car to be relatively fun and very comfortable on our often pimply roads.
The familiar Renault-Nissan alliance-sourced 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol motor produces 97kW/205Nm in this guise, and works well in conjunction with a slick six-speed manual gearbox.
Consumption figures of around 7.8 litres/100km are achievable on a mixed driving cycle, a far cry from the 5.3 litres/100km claimed by the manufacturer. That being said, the 1.2-litre unit suits the character of the new Mégane and is willing to propel most of the time, despite the obligatory turbo lag.
Renault continues to impress with a raft of new products that seem to appeal to both local and global consumers. Despite the fact that the hatchback segment has seen a slight decline in sales due to the popularity of SUVs and crossovers, I feel that the latest iteration of the Mégane will find favour with those who need a premium hatchback that offers good packaging, style and reasonable fuel returns.
Article written by Sean Nurse