The Renault has unveiled saloon and tourer derivatives of its funky, yet controversial Mégane II hatch. The hatch is due to be launched in South Africa this month and the saloon will follow later this year, Renault SA says.

The Renault has unveiled saloon and tourer derivatives of its funky, yet controversial Mégane II hatch. The hatch will be launched in South Africa this month and the saloon will follow later this year, Renault SA says.

The Renault Mégane II was recently named the 2003 European car of the year and ever since CARtoday.com first showed pictures of the French manufacturer’s hatchback in June last year, some of our readers commented that they liked Mégane II’s Vel Satis-style angular rear-three quarters and called it “unique” and “refreshing”. Other readers, if must be said, dismissed the design as being “odd-ball” and/or “ugly”. Will the saloon and tourer derivates provide an ideal compromise for the Mégane II’s fans and detractors?

The versions shown here share around 80 per cent of their components with the Mégane Hatch and Sport Hatch five-door and three-door models, but were designed as distinct variants right from the start of the Mégane II development programme.

The Mégane Sport Tourer has a clear family resemblance to the Laguna, and its long wheelbase (61mm longer than that of the Hatch) promises extra room for rear-seat passengers as well up to 520 litres of load space. The Sport Saloon shares the stretched wheelbase, and has 10 litres more luggage space than its predecessor.

Both versions will be offered with a choice of three petrol engines: the 1,4 16v (73 kW), 1,6 16v (86 kW) and the 2,0 16v (101 kW), and three diesels: the 1,5 dCi in 60 kW or 75 kW form, and the 1,9 dCi (89 kW with 300 N.m of torque). The larger engines will come with six-speed manual transmission, and the 1,6 16v, 2,0 16v and 1.5 dCi will be offered with the Proactive automatic transmission as well.

As was the case with the Mégane II hatch, the saloon and tourer are expected to achieve a five-star score in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and they will be equipped with the same safety features. These features include Renault's anti-submarining airbags and 'bags in a belt', which are mounted in the seatbelt straps.

Other equipment offered on the European-specification models include roof rails and 17-inch alloy wheels (Sport Tourer), new roller sunblinds for the rear windows, keyless entry and ignition, Carminat satellite navigation, cruise control with speed limiter, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

Speaking to CARtoday.com in February, Renault South Africa managing director Manny de Canha said the Mégane II hatchback, featuring four engine derivatives (including two diesel engines), would be launched in May. Renault SA would also bring in the saloon version of the Mégane II in the second half of the year, he said.

Original article from Car