► Stylish hatch receives mid-life nip/tuck
► Minor visual tweaks, upgraded interior tech
► Plug-in hybrid, plus more power for R.S.
Renault’s Megane feels a bit of a hatchback also-ran, swanning about looking fabulous while the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus do all the heavy lifting at the front of the pack. The French brand’s clearly hoping that, four years on from launch, a mid-life facelift will help bring it back into the public’s eye.
While cosmetically, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of update, there’s a fair bit going on under the skin – including a power boost for the R.S. hot hatchback, new infotainment and gauge clusters inside and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain, too.
Let’s play spot the difference
Err. Okay, the foglight housings are different – they’ve got triple strakes and no longer hold daytime running lights. The C-shaped headlight clusters are a bit sharper, and the chrome in the grille now has an interesting dashed pattern rather than just being plain strips.
There’s also a new R.S. Line trim, which replaces the old GT Line. It looks a lot more like the full-fat R.S. model, right down to the chequered daytime running lights, so should appeal to boy racers on diesel budgets.
Inside it’s a bit easier to spot. The Megane’s portrait touchscreen – once lost within a sea of bezel – has been replaced by the much larger and much better 9.3-inch unit we first saw on the new Clio. It sits above a redesigned climate control panel and gives the dash a much more 2020 flavour.
► Best hybrid cars and plug-ins
A new 10.3-inch digital instrument binnacle also makes its way over. No word yet on which models will get these upgraded items, though – it’s likely to be the preserve of higher trim levels.
What’s the plug-in hybrid going to be like?
It’s the same system fitted to the new Captur, and broadly similar to the Clio hybrid albeit with a bigger battery. That means a fiendishly complicated – and purportedly F1-inspired – dog-clutch gearbox, twin electric motors, a 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, and a 9.8kWh battery pack.
Renault says it’ll manage up to 40 miles of pure-electric running on a full charge, provided you stick within the city limits. Head onto faster roads, you’re looking at closer to 30 miles – which is still in line with most of its competitors. Top speed on electric is 84mph.
Total power output is 158bhp, though there’s no performance or economy figures as of yet. To begin with, you’ll only be able to choose a plug-in hybrid Megane if you opt for the Sports Tourer estate, but hatchback models will follow. We wonder whether that means the battery pack impacts boot space…
In terms of rivals, it’s aiming directly at the space in between the newly revealed Kia Ceed PHEV and the upcoming Volkswagen Golf GTE.
What about the R.S.?
Well, previously the R.S. had 276bhp, while Trophy and Trophy-R models gained an extra 20bhp bringing them to 296bhp.
► Renault Megane R.S. review
Now, it’s the same 296bhp power output across the board, though Trophy and Trophy-R cars still get their usual suite of bespoke suspension and chassis tuning.
Sounds good. When can I buy one?
The updated range is on sale from the summer. We’ll update with more information and prices when we get hold of them.