The trend to smaller capacity, turbo-petrol engines continues particularly among European manufacturers.
They’re fully focussed on reducing emissions and see technology as an interim solution.
However, it’s going to take a leap of faith for Aussie buyers of small cars to cop a 1.2 litre, four-cylinder under the bonnet.
That’s what you’d expect in something like a Suzuki Ignis…. right?
Renault has used its motor racing expertise to optimise this small capacity power plant, bolted on a power boosting turbocharger and added technology like direct fuel injection to give the 1.2 the same performance as a non-turbo 2.0-litre with potentially better fuel economy.
A new Renault Megane sedan arrived mid-year with a new platform, styling and powertrain and it’s a significant improvement over the previous model.
That little engine gives Megane sporty performance straight off the mark and on test I saw an average of 6.8-litres/100km using 95 fuel - not bad given no attention was paid to driving economically.
It steers well too with sharp reflexes and a firmish ride with flat cornering.
There are limits defined by the fact that the Renault Megane Intens is a ‘family’ four door sedan.
Luxury and safety equipment is generous with plenty of advanced driver assist technology in this particular Intens model. It has a big touch screen with Renault’s excellent R-Link2 infotainment system and proper hard wired satnav.
Misses out on leather despite the price getting up there.
Megane Intens weighs in at 1321kg but all that kit, including dual zone climate control, sunroof, 18-inch alloys, tyre pressure monitor, adaptive cruise and premium Arkamys audio inevitably add to the beltline.
Power transmission to the front wheels is via a seven speed dual clutch ‘manumatic’ but no paddle shift.
A number of drive modes are provided including Eco and Sport, the former imparting a feeling like there’s a sock in the exhaust. Left in Sport, fuel consumption is good as is performance.
Renault Megane sedan is a roomy car for five with a huge boot expandable with the rear seats folded.
More lumbar support would be an improvement in the front pews.
Instrumentation and dash layout is attractive to look at and easy to use and I really like the ambient light selection.
But the front is a bit overdone in styling terms especially the recurving LED daytime driving lights.
Megane is safe as houses with a high ranked 5-star crash rating plus the benefit of those sharp dynamics to steer you out of trouble if needed.
I like it, like it a lot especially if you are not going to roll down the Corolla road.
Best Bits of the 2017 Renault Megane Intens:
- Surprisingly good performance from small capacity engine
- Impressive fuel economy and you can run E10 without hiccups
- Generous amount of advanced driver assistance technology
- Sporty drive feel
- Passes Euro-6 emissions regulations
- Snappy dual clutch auto transmission
- Bright lights
- Large touch screen
- Premium audio
- Handsome to look at from most angles
The Not So Great Bits:
- Cloth not leather trim
- Weighs a bit too much at 1321kg
- Stop/start system hesitates a bit
- No paddle shift
NUTS and BOLTS - 2017 Renault Megane Intens
- Engine: 1.2 litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder producing 97kW/205Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch manumatic
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: Five years
- Origin: Turkey
- Price: from $33,990