Renault Megane GT Road Test, Review
I’m known to get swept away in a wave of patriotic fervor, especially when hot-hatching, but the 2017 Renault Megane GT is deserving of every accolade.
Being engaged by a small car takes a fair bit of doing, but the Megane GT does it in spades.
The exterior is bold, with big statements like massive LED lighting arrays front and rear.
Front LED headlights are outlined by an aggressively shaped daytime running light.
An otherwise slender headlight is made to look far bigger by the DTRL cutting deeply into the bumper.
The effect is hypnotic, especially as the sun goes down.
The shapely rump has an equally shapely tail light. A twin ribbon of light trails in a swoop from the ‘Renault’ badge in the centre of the hatch.
Big 18” wheels, deeply sculptured panels, and a massive honey comb grille and splitter, make the GT look fast.
Even the sports wagon version looks good.
A casual observer may have trouble telling them apart such is the clever detailing of the longer wagon body.
The classy Renault Megane GT cabin is cosy and comfy. The moody black theme is punctuated punches by of colour. The LED mood lighting has several eerie colours, but the ghostly indigo is gorgeous.
Indirect lighting is a thing, and Renault has done a bang-up job of using it. There are subtle lines created by concealed strips in the doors and centre console.
Matching colours are also displayed in the driver’s instrument LCD panel.
The centre console houses the DCT gear selector, and a couple of fairly shallow cup holders. The holders hold an average cup just out of harm’s way, while still be easily accessible.
The electric parking brake button is nearby.
Black Alcantara seat fabric is highlighted by a royal blue insert. It makes a pleasant change from dull-as-ditch-water hot-hatch red.
The doors have genuine simulated fake carbon-fibre panels, also in blue. It might be nicer if they matched the indigo in the seats and lights more closely.
There is a ‘Renault Sport’ badge on the dash, and a GT badge on the steering wheel, so you know you’ve bought the sporty model.
Renault pushed the boat out on the infotainment system, but forgot to untie it from the dock.
The 2018 Renault Megane GT gets a very smart looking portrait aspect 8.7” touch screen. I like it very much.
The right-hand side has fixed touch controls for volume, home, etc. The screen can swap between apps, including sat-nav, rather like a smart phone.
I’m not a fan of electronic buttons because of the absence of feedback.
To a degree, that is solved by having auxiliary audio/phone controls on a stalk concealed behind the steering wheel.
I’d prefer all of those buttons to be on the front face of the steering wheel. They’re too hard to use otherwise, if you aren’t familiar with them.
The Cruise control is on the steering wheel. Setting the speed is by pressing the UP button. Every other car on the road uses the DOWN button.
That’s not the crazy bit though. The Cruise/Speed Limit switch is between the front passengers on the centre console. It’s OK once you know it is there, but it is the last place you’d expect to see it.
Rear leg room is adequate but would be tight if the driver was any taller than 180cm.
The boot has a generous 434L, which expands to 1247L with the rear seats down. That’s not market leading, but it was more than enough room for this cranky old journo to climb in to, seats up.
There is smart locking with smart starting, and walk away locking. The key need never leave your pocket.
The drive is fabulous.
The steering is sharp without being tetchy. And here is the cheeky hatch’s party trick: it steers all four wheels. Yes folks, it has 4-wheel-steer.
Although only the front wheels are driven, and so has a little torque-steer, all 4 wheels get you around corners.
At slower speeds, the front wheels turn in the opposite direction to the rear. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn slightly in the same direction as the front wheels. It sounds complex, and it is.
The engine is as sweet as a nut. It spins happily with no nasty vibration. The 7-speed DCT auto is one of those fancy-schmancy double clutch jobs.
A microscopic graphic on the drivers centre dial tells you what gear you’re in, but it wouldn’t kill Renault to make it a bit bigger.
The auto and engine combo can only be described as super-silky. Although 151kW isn’t neck snapping, and we didn’t try the Launch Control, the performance feels brisk. It is thoroughly enjoyable.
Some cars aren’t about warp speed.
They are not about being a brutish thug. There is no chest thumping, and no getting all shouty.
The Megane GT is about being frisky, and scampering around corners, and darting in and out of traffic.
The selectable drive-modes include one that is programmable. You can have lovely supple ride, easy light steering, an uber-nippy throttle, and a sexy rasp around the back end.
Even in Renault Sport’s specially designed Sports mode, the ride is sensational.
If you’re sick of your back teeth being dislodged by even the most insignificant of imperfections, the GT is the car for you.
Cornering in an all-wheel-steering hatch is impossible to describe. People often say a car is like being “on rails”, but that is way over used.
The Megane on the other hand, is like being strapped to a Crazy Mouse.
The other delight is the automated parking.
It can be a bit finicky, but the sharp turns into tight 90° spots is uncanny. It will also do parallel and angled spaces.
We managed about 9L/100k over all. Not bad considering we gave it the beans much of the time.
Summing it up; I like the looks, and the ride, and the handling. The price isn’t too bad either.
The GT has many moods. Bright and frisky, gentle and soothing, and, frantic and urgent, but all are dispatched with equal alacrity.
Would I buy one? Yes.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Renault Megane GT
- Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 151kw/280Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed auto (dual clutch)
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: Five years
- Origin: Spain
- Price: from $38,490