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Road Test

 

Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet


by Stephen Walker


25th October, 2006

 

Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 
Location: Katoomba NSW 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

The next big thing in Australia's highly successful automotive market is the compact sized coupe cabriolet. The Peugeot 307 CC currently dominates this exciting 4-seater market. Although Renault has gained a good slice of the growing market over the last couple of years with their Megane coupe-cabriolet. Others players are coming into the market with their take on the superb convertible-coupe concept. General Motors, who used to market Australia's best selling convertible (the Astra) have had their European-built Astra TwinTop in European showrooms since mid-year. Ford have their Focus due for release in Europe later this year. Whilst Volkswagen have their new Eos on the European market already, ahead of its Australian release at next year's Melbourne Motor Show. No doubt they will all want their share of the existing small market. But this small market is bound to expand still further due to the increased interest being focused by the big European car companies and because of the increased range of products on offer.

Of course, the attraction of this type of car is the easily achieved conversion to a stylish convertible for the warmer days (and nights) of summer and the readily acceptable warmth of a coupe when the weather isn't so appealing. The concept of a electrically operated 'fold-away' metal roof is a superb idea. The ready acceptance of the concept is why the market is growing!

Other attractions for this type of vehicle are the reasonable prices (which are bound to remain competitive given the increasing number of players) and the economical running costs of the 4-cylinder engines fitted to cars in this market (although VW will offer a 3.2 litre V6 in the Eos).

Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 
Location: Lithgow NSW 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

Access to/from the back seat of the Renault Megane is quite reasonable for the mobile amongst us. Legroom in the rear is just sufficient for average sized adults. Boot space is adequate for this type of car. Sure you get more boot space in a similar sized hatchback, but the hatchback doesn't have a collapsible hardtop. So this type of vehicle is a compromise, but oh what a compromise!

The top goes up or down in less than 30 seconds. It is operated by a switch and upon completion of either the up or down movement an audible tone signals the completion of the task. All windows are electrically operated, which is normal in this class of vehicle.

The comfort level is good. Although, the back seat is for two passengers, not three. The back seat is tight for room. As such, medium sized adults will be provided with just sufficient space. Whilst tall adults will find a lack of leg space somewhat uncomfortable. Front seat occupants will never complain though! The front seats offer a pleasing level of comfort. In fact, as a two occupant car, the Renault Megane is a very pleasing ride. Benefits for the driver include an adjustable (for height and reach) leather covered steering wheel, driver's seat lumbar adjustment, cruise control with speed limiter and power steering. All occupants will appreciate the climate control air conditioning, the 'see-me-home' lights and the 'sun blind'.

On the road, the Megane coupe-cabriolet performs well. Power is supplied by a 2-litre 4-cylinder engine which provides 98.5 kW of power at 5,500 rpm and a handy 191 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm. Renault have a reputation for good handling and superb steering. The Megane coupe-cabriolet lived up to expectations in this department. It is a satisfying car on the road, particularly with the top up. We discovered this during our time with the car on the outer fringes of the Blue Mountains around Lithgow and Oberon in NSW.

The only problem we noticed with the Megane coupe-cabriolet was the cowl shake. Numerous convertibles suffer this age-old problem, but not all. The fact that the Renault coupe-cabrio provided this intrusive objection is disappointing. But Renault aren't alone in offering this irritation and we can say there are more expensive cars on the road with worse cowl shake than the Megane coupe-cabriolet. But that may not be any consolation.

Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 
Location: Oberon NSW 
 
Click on the image for a larger view

To offset this problem, Renault offers a very pleasing aspect .... the convertible side of the equation has lots of style. And it's this side of the car which probably sells the concept. In this regard we expect many folks will be forgiving of the cowl shake.

Current price (RRP) for the Megane coupe-cabriolet is $48,990 for the manual (it's a very good to use 6- speed manual) and $51,490 for the automatic (it's a 4-speed auto).

To conclude, one must say that driving the Renault Megane coupe-cabriolet is an unqualified feeling of satisfaction, providing you are willing to accept the inherent cowl shake which is evident in many convertibles ..... but not all!

On that basis, the Renault Megane coupe-cabriolet doesn't make it to the top of the class. But none-the-less, it offers plenty of style with good driving dynamics and it is sure to please many drivers.


Click on any image for a larger view





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