Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2014 Renault Megane GT220 review

Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Renault Megane GT220 Premium review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The Renault Megane GT220 is a warm hatch that’s a step apart from the rest of the Megane range.

Practical Motoring Says Short of the Megane RS 265, the Megane GT220 is about as sporting as the Megane gets, but ultimately it’s a bit of an odd one. See, while it drives well enough it doesn’t offer the same level of engagement as its key rivals, either those that are more expensive, like the VW Golf GTI or those that are cheaper, like the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo. And no matter how slick looking this Megane is, it’s ultimately a six-year old vehicle… there are others we’d recommend over the Megane GT220.

RENAULT IS WORKING hard to ensure its Megane range stand out in a small car market that’s literally bursting at the seams. And while Renault has been pedalling the Megane for a long time Down Under, this 2014 model is really its first proper shot at ‘cutting through’. And this Megane GT220 is the halo model, beyond the overtly boy-racer RS 265 model, in the range.

So, what is the Megane GT220 Premium? Well, it’s basically a cosmetic tweaking of the garden-variety Megane hatchback. It gets exclusive front and rear bumpers, 18-inch alloy wheels, lower grille with white headlight surrounds and contrasting black headlight masks. As stated, our test car was the Premium, meaning it came with the $4000 Premium pack fitted, which consists of silver-grey and black contrasting leather trim; heated front, sports seats (driver’s with lumbar support and height adjustable), a carbon-look flourish across the dash, panoramic sunroof, Visio System with Lane Departure Warning, automatic high-low beam headlights, front parking sensors, a rear view camera and rear central armrest with cup holders. All of that pushes the asking price up to $39,490 (+ORC).

 

2014 Renault Megane GT220 review

Climb inside and the dash layout is identical to the rest of the range, meaning all of the controls are well located and easy to use on the fly. The Megane GT220 differs from other non-RS Maganes in that it gets an RS (RenaultSport) instrument cluster and sports seats. There’s also a seven-inch touchscreen for the sat nav, phone, multimedia and radio, plus the R.S.2 Monitor that displays a plethora of data gathered from 15 sensors around the car. Track day drivers can replay their laps and share it with the Renault Sport community on an exclusive website.

In the front there’s a decent amount of head, shoulder and legroom and vision from the front is pretty good too. Climb in the back and it’s a different story, six-footers travelling in the back will struggle with little legroom and headrests with no vertical travel, meaning they’ll stick into the necks of taller passengers. Over in the boot there’s 372 litres of storage space with a full-size steel spare wheel hidden beneath the floor.

Renault has worked hard to dispel the myth of costly European car ownership with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and five-years roadside assist. All Meganes have one-year service intervals with Renault’s capped price servicing program fixing the first three services at $299 per service.

2014 Renault Megane GT220 review

Boasting a less powerful version of the engine under the bonnet of the Megane RS 265, the Megane GT220 runs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 162kW (from 4700-6500rpm) and 340Nm (between 2400-3500rpm). This is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission with pedals well placed for, ahem, heel-and-toe downshifts. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.3L/100km – it drinks 98RON.

With peak torque hanging around for 1000rpm and early in the rev range, the Megane GT220 gets off the line easily and offers easy overtaking with its mid-range grunt. And as you push towards redline the thing develops a lovely throaty growl. Renault Sport boffins have tweaked the front strut and rear torsion beam suspension with uprated springs, dampers and larger sway bars. The result is a firm ride that beautifully resists bodyroll but can become quite unsettled and fidgety feeling on even very smooth surfaces.

The steering, on the other hand, is pretty good. It’s nice and direct with reasonable weight off-centre, but there’s not a lot of feedback through the wheel. There’s plenty of grip on offer, although get too heavy with the throttle too early in a corner and the Megane GT220 will punish you by jerking sideways thanks to torque steer; don’t forget there’s 162kW and 340Nm of torque being shoved through the front wheels which don’t just do the driving but also the steering – a limited-slip differential wouldn’t go astray.

On the safety front there’s six airbags, including two twin-chamber thorax/groin airbags, the Renault System for Restraint and Protection, which combines pretensioners and load limiters with twin-stage dual-chamber adaptive front airbags, ABS and Emergency Brake Distribution with Brake Assist come as standard along with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Anti-Skid Regulation (ASR) and understeer control. The Megane GT220 gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Renault Megane GT220 Premium

Price $39,490 (+ORC)

Warranty five years, unlimited kilometre

Safety five-stars ANCAP

Engine 2.0 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol (98RON)

Power/Torque 162kW/340Nm

Transmission Six-speed manual


Body 4302mm (L); 1808mm (W); 1471mm (H)

Weight 1326kg


Thirst 7.3L/100km (combined)


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Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins