The classic Megane after six years will soon “retire” and it will be the end of an era. One of the most popular compact cars in recent history will cease to exist. The new Megane E-Tech Electric will continue to bear the famous name, but in reality it is a completely different car, the originator of a new era in the history of Renault. No more diesel, petrol, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, the old Megane remains on the market for only a short time, soon there will be only a new model that runs exclusively on electricity.
Renault is one of the leaders in electrification. Their electric models Zoe and Twingo are extremely popular and are among the best-selling electric cars in Europe and Croatia, but Zoe is a special electric model, and Twingo E-Tech Electric is just an electric derivative of the classic Twingo. The Megane E-Tech Electric is Renault’s first electric model to completely replace the existing petrol-diesel variant, announcing the imminent full electrification of one of the world’s strongest carmakers. A big turning point for Renault and for the entire car industry, because no competitor has switched such a successful model completely to electricity.
But it’s not just the drive that makes the new Megane so different from its predecessor. Contrary to the trend of constant growth of dimensions in the compact class, the new Megane is significantly smaller than its predecessor, it is even 15 centimeters shorter and is now “only” 420 centimeters long. Also the shape of the body has changed significantly. Megane now has that classic “hatchback”, we would say “Golf” shape. The design is clearly futuristic, very striking and aggressive and with some elements of an SUV. There is also clear news on the very “nose” of the car, this is the first Renault with a new brand logo.
Despite the shorter length, the new Megane has a larger wheelbase than its predecessor, now 269 centimeters, which guarantees enough space inside. The offer of space in the rear is at the level of the average class, and in the trunk of the Megane it surpasses the competition with a sumptuous 440 liters. In addition, the trunk is very deep and of regular shape, which makes it even more usable.
Another novelty that makes the new electric Megane so different is the digital experience. Renault has broken with this car with classic car infotainment systems and completely switched to Google technology. In addition to Google’s operating system, Megane also has Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play services. The result is a car in which the digital experience is perhaps closest to that of Tesla, although Renault has not given up the classic keys and instrument screens. Infotainment is extremely fast, easy to use and rich in features. The 12 “screen is also impressive, with its glass, sharpness and responsiveness very similar to those on the best mobile phones.
The new approach to Megane is evident in many more details. The steering wheel is much smaller than other cars, specifically the new Megane is among the four cars with the smallest steering wheel in the world. There’s also a new multilink suspension at the rear so the driving experience is completely different than before. Renault has also paid close attention to weight reduction. The new Megane is thus a hundred kilograms lighter than comparable electric cars and weighs between 1475 and 1611 kilograms, depending on the version. The result of all this is a car that is extremely capable of more aggressive driving, a lot of fun around corners.
There are a few more innovations. In Megane, the engine can heat the battery and thus prepare it for faster charging. This happens automatically when you drive with the navigation and approach the planned charger. The engine itself is much smaller and lighter than in the Zoe and is oil-cooled (which does not need to be changed). With a thickness of 11 cm, the battery is the thinnest in the world of electric cars, which is a clear advantage when it comes to the spaciousness and height of the car.
The offer of the plant is quite diverse. It offers 130 and 220 hp motors, 40 and 60 kW batteries and as many as four different charging systems that differ in AC and DC charging power. The base model thus has 130 hp, a 40 kW battery and a 7.4 kW AC charge, which is a very strange combination. Namely, with such a charger, the battery charges the fastest in 6 hours and 17 minutes, which makes this model with a range of 300 kilometers unsuitable for any longer trips. It is strange that Renault included such a performance in the offer, but the leaders of the company assured us at the presentation that market research has shown that there is interest in this model as well.
A much more reasonable choice is the following combination: 130 hp motor, 40 KW battery, AC charging up to 22 kW and DC fast charging up to 85 KW with a range of 300 km. In this model, the battery is charged to 80 percent in about half an hour. Models with a more powerful 220 hp engine and a 60 kW battery are offered in combination with a 7.4 or 22 KW AC charge and a 130 kW DC charge that allows for even faster battery charging. The range of these models is 450 kilometers. There is also a model with a weaker (130 hp) engine and a larger battery (60 kW) that has chargers of 22 kW (AC) and 130 kW (DC) and a maximum range – 470 kilometers.
The offer is a bit confusing and the advantages and disadvantages of individual models should be well studied. The base model seems to have little chance of success, but the rest are very good combinations. Especially those with 22 kW AC charging which is very rare in the world of electric cars as most competitors do not offer more than 7.4 kW AC charging.
While versions with a weaker engine are moderate in terms of performance (10 seconds to 100 km / h and 150 km / h top speed), those with a more powerful one can provide real sporty acceleration. They reach 100 km / h in 7.5 seconds, and the maximum speed is limited to 160 km / h. As with any electric car, intermediate acceleration is more impressive than acceleration from zero to 100 km / h.
In driving, the factory range data proved to be quite realistic. After a hundred kilometers of driving through cities, open roads and highways with a fairly heavy foot on the gas, we achieved a consumption of 15.5 kW per 100 kilometers, which in the top model would give us a little less than 400 kilometers. With more moderate driving, the declared 450 km can be easily achieved, and with more economical driving, even more.
The Megane particularly impressed us with its dynamic driving, where it is capable of much more than we are used to with its predecessor. But the comfort has also been raised to a higher level, both the comfort of the suspension and the sound comfort. The car is also very quiet at high speeds, noticeably quieter than Zoe.
Renault has incorporated 26 driving assistance technologies into the Megane, and adaptive cruise control can now be adapted to upcoming corners and roundabouts. An interesting novelty is the adaptive ambient lighting that constantly changes during the day and night and adjusts the colors to the time of day / night.
The price list of the new Megane includes seven versions with four different combinations of engine, battery and charging, as well as four levels of equipment. The basic equipment of Equilibre includes 18 “alloy wheels, 12” touch screen, manual air conditioning, 10 “digital instruments, but it should be noted that this model does not have Google services. The next level of Techno equipment has them as it has 20” 12 “instruments, heated steering wheel, heated seats, LED Matrix lights and more. So very rich.
Basic with 130 hp and 40 kW which has only 7.4 kW AC charging and Equilibre equipment level costs 275,900 kuna. The same model with a higher level of Techno equipment costs HRK 298,900. As a much more optimal choice seems a model with the same engine, battery and equipment, but faster 22 kW + 85 kW charging for 313,900 kuna. So the difference in price between a model with which you can’t travel far and one with which you can travel is only 15,000 kuna. With the amounts of around 300,000 kuna of the total price, this is not a difference, so the choice of the basic model confuses us even more. At the top of the price list is the model with the richest Iconic equipment, 220 hp, 60 kW and 22 + 130 kW chargers. Its price is 371,900 kuna. The model with the longest reach costs 333,900 kuna.
It’s hard to say that some electric car is affordable when compared to the petrol and diesel versions. Megane has just become almost twice as expensive as before, but when we compare its price with the prices of electric competition, Megane turns out to be affordable. Whether affordable or not the new Megane E-Tech Electric is a great electric car, and sales figures will soon show if switching to electricity was a good move.
The new Megane has officially arrived on our market and can already be ordered. The first deliveries in Croatia are expected in September.