9 APRIL 2012
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Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet Dynamique Tom Tom 1.9 DCi 130
Enhanced Lifestyle with Latest Drop Top Megane
Successive Renault Megane models, including the trend-setting Scenic have proved sales winner cross Europe and the Megane success story is continuing to hold up as a result of an energetic development programme.
Contributing strong, as before, is the Series 2 version of the Megane Coupe Cabriolet that Renault claims has been designed to provide slightly increased interior space to make it a more than passable four-seat machine.
However, the real lifestyle head turner is the acoustic and thermal panoramic glass portion of the two part folding roof that ensures a light and airy ambience though for much of my test session. I must confess I enjoyed the open air mode which can be achieved by the press of a button in a mere 21 seconds – likewise when covering up against the elements.
As with the original Megane Coupe Cabriolet the airflow pattern in open top form does not interfere unduly with the occupants and if only two on board a rear deflector can be deployed to virtually eliminate any back turbulence. Noise levels in this latter situation are fairly low apart from passing traffic, allowing conversation between the two front occupants or the radio be heard at normal volume.
Renault offers the model with a choice of three petrol engines and three dCi turbo diesel units, the latter all fitted with FAP diesel particulate filters and all are Euro V-compliant on emissions.
Two specification levels are offered, the Dynamique TomTom (as tested) and the flagship GT.
Renault submitted the middle diesel version for test, the 1.9 dCi 130 bhp which, in conjunction with a light and positive changing 6-speed manual gearbox proved a good performer – an automatic transmission option is the smaller capacity 110 bhp diesel. (This provides less performance but is an easy drive – Editor)
In a busy week involving about a dozen new cars it was gratifying to find that this Renault proved to have a lot of substance. I felt that I had a lot of car around me, that it sat well on the road though the controls were both light in action and very responsive. Ride is a bit on the firm side but forgiving over most faults in the road surface, braking also proved smooth, light yet powerful.
The driving position is slightly relaxed, driver’s view is generally good (parking sensors are part of the package), the steering column provides both reach and tilt adjust and the pedal spacing proved very comfortable. Fascia presentation is modern, in good taste, easy to live with and the instrumentation is a combined three dial cluster featuring digital speedo and a comprehensive information panel.
Renault claim a top speed of 127 mph with 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) reached in 10.6 seconds which seems competitive for the size/weight of the car. That the combined fuel consumption figure is a quoted 48.7 mpg should see sensible driving return around 45 mpg while retaining a good degree of sporty progress.
It is when it comes to practicality that drop top cars tend to fail dismally. Not this one, even with space for the hard folding roof to be stowed in the boot there should be sufficient room (211litres) for at least a pair of overnight suitcases and some smaller soft bags. Roof up and it is a more than generous capacity at 417 litres.
There’s no spare wheel unless you pay extra for a skinny ‘get you home affair’, a repair kit is all you get.
What about the rear seat accommodation? Passable for head space I would suggest, leg space can be critical if the front seat occupants require their seats to be set back away. Ideal for the kids, though.
Inside and outside this Megane is a smart act, tastefully furnished with good quality materials including part leather seating and steering wheel cover and extensively equipped for the modern age, the TomTom navigation system easy to use. The cruise control and speed limiter more or less essential for licence retention these days.
Safety? A five-star Euro NCAP occupant safety is allied to a roll-over protection system. Just part and parcel of this well made, well planned and well mannered drop top. Not so much a poser, more an ideal cruiser.
Rivals include: VW Golf Cabriolet, Audi A3 Cabriolet, BMW I Series Convertible, Peugeot 308 cc
Ride and Comfort 8
TOTAL: 85 %
Price from: £23,715
NEW YORK MOTOR SHOW
Even if it was only an announcement the star of the New York Motor Show was the Jaguar F type planned for production in 2013. It has to be a great car to beat its 1961 predecessor, the fabulous E type.
We also show some of the other concepts displayed at New York.
The show itself, at the Jacob Javits Centre, on 12th Avenue (Hudson Riverside Drive) runs until 15 April. www.autoshowny.com
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