The addition of the Renault Megane Grand Coupe brings a saloon into the range that will appeal to many buyers in Ireland.
In the metal
The Renault Megane Grand Coupe might not stay true to the actual meaning of coupe-like styling, but its design team has done a decent job of grafting on a larger boot to create this new saloon variant. We say larger boot, though it, in fact, offers just 66 litres more capacity than the five-door Megane hatchback. Aesthetically though it looks sleeker than the Renault Fluence it effectively replaces.
Getting into the boot isn't always the easiest thing as Renault has neglected to fit an opening button on the boot lid. Instead, you must use a button located on the dashboard set in behind the steering wheel, or use the button on the key remote itself. If you choose the top level Signature Nav specification, an additional sensor under the rear bumper will open the boot if you wave your foot underneath it, which is handy if your hands are already full, though you must also have the key in your pocket for it to be detected. And while this opens the boot electrically, you must still physically close the boot lid by hand.
The distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights do help to make this a stylish saloon overall. Contours along the rear shoulder line of the car flow into the rear lights that go on to wrap almost the whole way across the boot lid, just like on the hatchback.
The front of the cabin has the same layout and design. The 8.7-inch portrait-style touchscreen infotainment screen looks quite smart, but can be a little delayed in its operation, sometimes requiring a second touch to activate functions. Lower level models will get a smaller screen that looks less impressive due to the larger black plastic bezel. Overall the quality of the materials throughout, especially the plastics, are better than in most previous Renaults.
Space for rear passengers has also improved, with Renault claiming the Megane Grand Coupe offers 37mm more knee room than the five-door hatchback. Head and shoulder room are also said to be among the best in the segment.
Built on the same platform as the larger Renault Koleos and Talisman, the new saloon feels more composed on the move. Ride quality in the Megane Grand Coupe is helped by a revised rear axle as well as new rubber mountings in the front axle and suspension components to help reduce noise and vibration.
Renault has been using this 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel for some time and while it has a frugal combined consumption figure of 3.7 litres/100km and a tax-friendly 95g/km of emissions, it is starting to feel old and less refined than newer rival offerings. In fact, the more powerful 130hp 1.6-litre engine feels better on the move and less laboured on the motorway.
There will also be a choice of automatic or manual transmissions with the 110hp power unit, the latter of which is tested here. Shifts in the six-speed manual don't feel as positive or precise as others in the segment, while the ratios feel more stacked towards economy than performance. Engine speeds do settle in sixth when cruising, but the 110hp engine doesn't have as much torque available for overtakes without the need to downshift.
What you get for your money
Renault Ireland has yet to confirm the exact pricing and specification for the Irish market. Once these details have been confirmed, we will update this section of the review. What we do know is that there will be three distinct trim grades: Expression, Dynamique Nav and Dynamique S Nav. Unlike the Megane hatchback, there will not be an upper-level GT Line specification offered in the saloon.
While there may not be anything particularly grand or coupe-like about this new Megane saloon, it is a better car than the outgoing Fluence and should quench an ongoing thirst for C-segment saloons in the Irish market.