Roadtest : THE BEST SELLER WITH CHARISMA; New Meganes will break even more records.Byline: By Graeme Lennox and Liz Steele
RENAULT'S Megane was Scotland's best-selling motor last year.
Some 11,215 of them were 'shaking their asses' north of the border as the distinctive hatchback rocketed to No.1 in the sales charts.
Now Liz and I have been testing two new models that are going to boost figures even further.
When the new Megane first came out 16 months ago, opinion was split people either loved or hated the J-Lo-style rear-end.
But the pounds 1.5 billion gamble looks to have paid off and the range has been expanded at just the right time.
Estate and saloon versions add more choice and broaden the customer base of the French firm's compact family car.
Distinctive in style, neither model has quite as pert a bottom as the original hatchback but to many people, that's no bad thing.
The saloon has a traditional three-box shape and is likely to coax buyers who normally look to rivals such as Ford's Focus and Vauxhall's Astra.
Meanwhile, the estate, or Sport Tourer as it is known, combines the chiselled face of the hatch with elements of the load-lugging Laguna estate.
Manufacturers are all too eager to weld ugly boxes on to the back of their motors. But the carefully-thought-out Sport Tourer has been designed to create a flowing silhouette.
Where Renault may have an edge on the competition is with the cars' charisma. The Megane has more personality in its wheel arches than many of its rivals have in their whole bodies. The saloon will appeal to those who use their cars as offices on wheels.
The 520-litre load space means you can carry all the gear you want and count on the extra security of a boot.
The new models boast a choice of five engines including three petrol 1.4, 1.6 and 2-litre and two diesels 1.5 and 1.9-litre. Two more diesels will join the range later in the year.
The strongest option, in my opinion, is the 1.9 diesel, which manages to be punchy punch·y
adj. punch·i·er, punch·i·est
1. Characterized by vigor or drive: "He speaks in short, punchy sentences, using plain, populist words that excite" , quiet and economical at the same time.
It will go from 0-62mph in just 10.9 seconds, boasts a top speed of 124mph and has a combined fuel consumption of 51.4mpg.
Some of the standard features which are highlights of the entry-level Expression are electric windows and mirrors, a six-speaker sound system with CD player, air-conditioning, rear window sunblinds, automatic headlights and wipers
The Wipers were a punk rock group formed in Portland, Oregon in 1977 by guitarist Greg Sage, drummer Sam Henry and bassist Dave Koupal. and front fog lamps.
Upgrading to the Dynamique adds 16in alloys, an alarm system, sports trim detailing and leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Meanwhile, the range-topping Privilege boasts half-leather seats, climate control, CD autochanger See autoloader. and a hands-free ignition system ignition system
In a gasoline engine, the means used for producing an electric spark to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the cylinders to produce the motive force. The ignition system consists of a storage battery recharged by a generator, an induction coil, a device to .
The Sport Saloon starts from just pounds 12,100 but bear in mind the Sport Tourer costs just pounds 250 more.
AT last, a couple of Renault Meganes that don't look like they have been hit by the ugly stick The ugly stick is a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument fashioned out of household and tool shed items, typically a mop handle with bottle caps, tin cans, small bells and other noise makers. The instrument is played with a drum stick and has a distinctive sound. .
Let's face it, the hatchback is no beauty, with curves in all the wrong places. Its dumpy (Documentation User's MalPractice + Y) An award from InfoWorld magazine for the worst online documentation. See RTFM. back end is instantly recognisable and not in a good way.
The Megane is a decent enough car, though. And, fortunately, bad looks don't run in the family. Two new models, the estate and saloon, don't look remotely related to the horror hatch.
The estate, or Sport Tourer, has great road presence and looks good too, its roof rails and sloping lines adding to its beauty. And for a load lugger it was quick off the mark, quiet and has superb road handling.
Luggage space is fantastic. With the rear seats folded you could easily get a mountain bike in there or just a very large load of shopping.
The saloon is very spacious and stylish. In fact, it is the type of car you can imagine being chauffeured around in. Very classy class·y
adj. class·i·er, class·i·est Informal
Highly stylish; elegant.
classi·ness n. indeed.
Both models are available in a wide range of engine sizes and in manual and automatic transmissions. Safety is also high on the agenda. The hatch on which they are based scored a 5star award in the Euro NCAP NCAP New Car Assessment Program
NCAP Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
NCAP Network Capable Application Processor (from IEEE standard 1451. and the two new models have been adapted to suit their greater size.
Standard features include electric windows, mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers.
But my favourite is the keyless entry keyless entry: see lock and key. system. I love the fact you don't need to fumble around in your bag for your car keys. As long as you have the key-card with you, doors unlock automatically when you approach and you simply press a button to start. It's a great gimmick girls will love.
The Megane Sport Tourer range starts from pounds 12,350. INSURANCE: Group 7. Expect to pay around pounds 250. PERFORMANCE: The 1.9 diesel goes from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. Top speed: 124mph. FUEL: 52.3mpg combined. STANDARD features include electric windows, six-speaker sound with CD, air-conditioning.
THE Megane already tops the sales league and our testers GRAEME LENNOX and LIZ STEELE reckon two super new Sport models are set to win Renault lots more fans; Classy: The saloon is spacious and stylish