Renault Megane E-Tech 2023 review - Select Car Leasing
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Renault Megane E-Tech review (2023)

Introduction

The Renault Megane name is more than 25 years old now, and it's a car that had always steadily improved over those two decades. 

But last year the Megane took its most significant leap yet, ditching its traditional combustion engine altogether in favour of a fully electric powertrain.

As the name suggests, 'E-Tech' means electric, and although this badge has been used on some of Renault's recent hybrid offerings, in the Megane's case, it's only the electric motor that remains.

Yep, that’s right: no petrols, no diesels, no bothering with mild, self-charging or plug-in hybrids – the Megane is now only available as an all-electric car.

It is about time, too, as Renault’s only previous all-electric offering was the Zoe, which launched nearly a decade ago.

So, the French manufacturer has had lots of time to ponder, watch the competition, evaluate and plan. And by the way the Megane E-Tech has won over both critics and lease customers alike, it's fair to say that Renault definitely hit the ground running with this one.

Select's rating score* - 4.3 / 5

At A Glance

At first glance, you wouldn't necessarily be able to tell it was electric, as you'll be wowed by the changes to the vehicle’s exterior design, which now looks like a sizeable 4x4 from some angles.

But don't be fooled. Although the new Megane E-Tech has a taller stance, it's shorter in length and narrower in width than the previous generation Megane.

Nevertheless, based on the same all-new CMF-EV platform that the larger Nissan Ariya sits on, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Megane is a lot bigger than it is.

The optical illusion is partly caused by the bonnet being high up, producing a swept-back windscreen, which gives a misleading high-rise SUV-like appearance.


The front is also very imposing, with thinned-out headlights and a narrow panel, given there's no longer any need for a prominent front radiator grille.

Day running lights weave downwards from the headlights, adding a nice effect, blending with the edges of a narrow lower grille, giving a sportier definition to the bodywork at either side, which includes a couple of slitted air intakes.

On the limited-run Launch Edition trim, the ‘F1 Blade’ – a horizontal bodywork panel which runs through the lower grille – is coloured in gold.

The sides feature a sizeable crease towards the bottom of the doors, a side skirt, and door handles that are flush against the bodywork and pop out automatically.

The roofline slopes downwards towards the rear, which features a roof spoiler and a slender rear window, while the boot has a horizontal light bar across its width.

Looking head-on at the Renault’s rear, you can see its shoulders bulking out on either side of the pillars, extending down to the sides to accommodate the wheel arches.

It is a bold but personality-driven look from Renault. The automaker has successfully pulled off a chunky appearance for the E-Tech, while retaining a fun and playful personality.

We are impressed – and we hope the driving experience matches up to it.


Key Features

There are three main trims to choose from, besides the limited edition grade that was offered at launch.

At entry-level is Equilibre, which features 18-inch alloys, a nine-inch 'OpenR' infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB radio and SatNav. It also gets an Arkamys audio system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, the latter with black fabric upholstery, plus full LED headlights.

Alternatively, you can choose mid-range Techno, which jumps you up to 20-inch rims and adds highly-attractive enhanced Google services to the infotainment system while also throwing in 48-colour ambient lighting, a shark-fin antenna, automatic high beam and dynamic indicators. That seamless Google integration means you can use all of your favourite apps without having to rely on a connection with your phone, which is handy indeed. 


You also get dual-zone climate control, automatic windscreen wipers, adaptive LED headlights, a wireless phone charger, electric front seat lumbar adjustment, grey fabric, and black synthetic leather upholstery, too. Moreover, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter and multi-sense allows you to add your own custom driving mode setup.

At the top of the range sits the Iconic trim, which features an EV heat pump - which works to make sure you get as close as possible to the car's maximum range between charges, even in cold weather - as well as a 3D view camera and swanky Harman Kardon audio system with nine speakers. 

Regardless of your grade, there's only one power unit choice – a sole electric motor producing 220 hp, which drives the front wheels.

Range & Batteries

The Megane E-Tech comes with a 60kW battery.

This battery is good enough for a claimed range of 280 miles. However, getting near this will depend on many factors, including ambient temperature, road conditions and the weather, not to mention your manner of driving. 

Renault actually says that in urban driving, at speeds of around 30mph, with a warm ambient temperature outside, and with the car in 'Eco' mode, you could realistically achieve 299 miles between charges. 

Some manufacturers are breaking the 300-mile barrier these days, but 280 miles is still a solid effort by Renault, and it competes well against most of its rivals.

In other markets, a smaller 40kW battery is offered along with a 130PS motor. This union provides a range of 186 miles, but there's no sign of this coming to the United Kingdom yet.

Performance & Drive

The Megane E-Tech moves away well off the line from a standing start, delivering suitable acceleration, which gets it from 0-62mph in 7.4-seconds.

While this isn't blow-your-wig-off quick, a burst of torque is delivered without delay from even the gentlest of presses on the accelerator pedal, so flooring it makes the E-Tech feel faster than the stopwatch suggests.

It is perfectly adequate for a family hatchback, although speed freaks may be disheartened that it’s nowhere near the Tesla Model 3’s 3.1-second claim.


Still, Renault is not one for offering overkill thrills, and while driving around city centres, the Megane is polite and sophisticated, (literally) quietly going about its business, offering a relaxing motoring experience.

The ride is well refined, offering an impressive blend of firmness in the suspension without sacrificing comfort, especially on the smaller 18-inch alloys of the entry-level Equilibre trim. Indeed, the Megane is adept at smoothing out creases in the road.

Thankfully, the firmness also means that the handling impresses, keeping the French car flat and stable in the bends, limiting the body roll as much as possible at speed.

It is helped by the accurate and consistent steering, which is light at lower speeds around town but weights up nicely at pace to give you the confidence to push on around corners.


This is especially evident in the Techno trim, which includes a Sport mode that adds more weight to the steering wheel.

Overall, in terms of handling, while the car's behaviour isn't on par with the old performance-focused Megane RS version, it isn't intended to be.

Get a bit cocky, and you will find its limits, but its playfulness and agility are at odds with the body shape's bulbousness, and it offers a timely reminder of Renault's sporting pedigree.

Like most electric cars, you can tweak the strength of the regenerative braking using paddles behind the steering wheel, which helps to recharge the batteries under deceleration. We are pleased to say it's consistent and reasonably predictable.

Charging

The Renault Megane E-Tech can be charged up at a maximum rate of 130kW, which means a 10-80% charge takes around 30 minutes.

Using a 7kW home wall box takes a touch over nine hours to perform a full 0-100% charge-up.


Running Costs & Emissions

Thanks to fewer moving parts, electric cars cost less to service than petrols and diesels, so that should be reflected in maintenance costs.

Expect replacement 20-inch tyres to be expensive if you drive a Techno-trim Megane regularly, though.

Despite the price of electricity going through the gables, it is still significantly cheaper per mile to go electric, although electric cars tend to cost more to lease upfront.

As a result, it's essential to factor in the extent to which that extra investment will be worthwhile in the long run.

A zero-emissions vehicle also means that, at least for the time being, there’s no road tax to pay in the UK.


The lack of emissions and high range also puts the Renault well inside the bottom band for Benefit In Kind (BIK) tax, so the Megane E-Tech should be a popular choice to lease as a company car.

Regarding reliability, Renault hangs around mid-table in most customer satisfaction surveys. However, electric vehicles may well be a different kettle of fish, but it's too early to tell if that's the case here with the new Megane.

The E-Tech gets a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty with unlimited mileage for the first two years. That is impressive, albeit not as competitive as Kia’s industry-leading seven-year guarantee.

Interior & Technology

Stepping inside the Megane E-Tech, it looks stylish and a tad futuristic.

It isn't the height of luxury by any means, but the infotainment screen and the digital instrument display are housed in a single unit along with the air vents, which is very lovely.

The choice of materials looks reasonably good, too, with mainly soft surfaces on show and cheaper, rigid plastics hidden lower down where they're mostly out of view.

Depending on the choice of trim, some get a very dark wooden pattern on the doors just beneath the windows, which adds a classy, modern touch.


The nine-inch infotainment screen looks nice, and the display is clear, although some of the text is so small that it can be challenging to see, especially if you're trying to use it while driving.

Although the screen is relatively responsive, it can sometimes take time to think about what you've asked it to do, but the menu layout is pretty intuitive.

The climate controls are separate physical buttons beneath the infotainment screen, making adjusting the temperature as easy as possible on the move.

It would be even easier if a rotary dial had been included, but sadly it’s a notable absentee on the Megane E-Tech.

The unit that houses the screen angles towards the driver. This design helps to create a cocooning effect.


The screen also matches the style of the digital instrument cluster, which dominates all the space behind the steering wheel. It is customisable and displays SatNav directions on a map, so you don't need to keep glancing at the other screen.

While it's not perfect, the system, which Google's Android powers, is one of the best you can get now.

Practicality & Boot Space

Finding a happy driving position is simple in the Megane E-Tech as the steering wheel is nice to hold despite being an unusual shape with a flatter top.

There is also a load of adjustment in the wheel and the seat, with adjustable lumbar support offered in the Techno trim, although it's not included on entry-level Equilibre.


Given that it's a family hatchback, you sit a bit higher than you might imagine. This is thanks to the car's slightly taller profile than its predecessor.

In terms of visibility, the front windscreen is angled sharply, so the pillars are in more of your eyeline, obstructing your view more than rivals.

Rear visibility is even worse due to the letterbox-like back windscreen, high boot lid and chunky rear pillars.

Front and rear parking sensors are included on the Techno, and a rear-view camera helps with reversing, too, while the Iconic trim gets this upgraded to a 360-degree 3D camera.


There is plenty of room upfront, too, with a generous amount of headroom and legroom. But the floor is raised slightly in the rear so the batteries can be contained underneath.

As a result, there’s a bit less headroom, further compromised by the slight slope in the roofline, plus the high floor means you’ll find under-thigh support a bit lacking while seated.

Safety

The Renault Megane E-Tech was crash-tested by Euro NCAP earlier in 2022, being awarded a full five-star rating.

It scored 85% for adult occupants, 88% for children and 79% for safety assists.

The Megane E-Tech is brim-full with safety technology, which includes a rear-view camera, blind spot monitoring, emergency lane-keep assistance with oncoming traffic and road-edge detection.


Traffic sign recognition, distance warning alert, driver drowsiness alert, hill start assist, and emergency e-call are also included, along with automatic emergency braking with junction assist, including pedestrian and cyclist alerts.

Techno trim adds adaptive cruise control with a speed limiter, lane centring, traffic sign recognition, overspeed prevention, and rear cross-traffic alert. As if that wasn't enough, you also get automatic rear braking, front and rear park assist and blind spot recognition and intervention.

Options

The default colour for the Renault Megane E-Tech is glacier white, but if you want a light grey, a darker grey, black, dark blue or red, you'll have to shell out extra.

The Techno and Iconic trims also have a range of dual paint combinations if you want the roof to be a different shade from the rest of the body.


Combinations include white with a grey roof, white with a black top, black with a grey roof, light grey with a black roof, and dark grey with a black roof, while you can also have the red or blue body colour with a grey or black roof if you wish.

Rival Cars

Other cars you'll want to consider include the Kia Niro Electric, the Nissan Leaf and the Volkswagen ID.3.

Another vehicle we'll throw into the mix, which you might not have thought about, is the all-new and surprisingly impressive MG4 EV.


The Megane E-Tech is arguably more engaging to drive than these, although they all offer more rear space.

The Mini Electric is also worth looking at, as parent company BMW means it's very well engineered and pleasing to drive.

Peugeot has the e-2008, and Citroen offers the e-C4 nowadays, too. 


If you’re looking for something more at the premium end of the leasing market, then a Volvo XC40 Recharge could be an option.

A Tesla Model 3 will appeal to those who aren’t satisfied with the Megane E-Tech's performance.

Verdict & Next Steps

The Renault Megane E-Tech is an interesting car full of personality and entertaining to drive, with stirring handling.

Its performance is impressive, too, with acceleration that’s perfectly adequate for most people’s needs without breaking records, a la Tesla’s Model 3.

The range is competitive, too, and the interior is very nice, while Renault has packed the car out with safety technology, especially in Techno trim.

However, while the Megane E-Tech is far from impractical, most of its challengers beat it in this category. If you're not a confident driver, visibility might be an issue. 

Nevertheless, the Megane ticks plenty of boxes, pleasing keener drivers while retaining its classic mainstream appeal as a family hatchback.

Without a doubt, Renault's first foray into the Megane's new all-electric life can be hailed as a positive success.


Where to next?

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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of theRenault Megane E-Tech

**Correct as of 31/05/2023. Based on 12 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 12 monthly payments or £3,949.80. Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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