Bob Hickman reviews the Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 1.4 Dynamic Tom Tom TCe130 - a mouthful to say, but a pleasure to drive.
The Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet has been in existence for a long time writes Bob Hickman.
At least 10 years ago my daughter had a superb Megane with a maroon canvas roof that always drew admiring glances.
But to stand still is to commit suicide and Renault has introduced the very stylish, very swish, new Megane Cabriolet.
What makes this derivative stand out from other four-seater convertibles is the Megane’s stunning all-glass retractable roof. From inside, it is light, bright and airy but because the glass is so dark and tinted, from the outside you might think it was metal.
My test car was a bit of a mouthful to describe – the Megane Coupe-Cabriolet 1.4 Dynamic Tom Tom TCe130.
What that sums up is a vehicle, albeit a somewhat large one, with a 1397cc engine that is said to produce 130bhp. My initial concern was would this small engine be sufficient for a vehicle the size of a Focus or an Astra?
I should not have worried or doubted the Renault engineers because for once they have got it spot on.
The six-speed gearbox had ratios that were excellent no matter what speed or driving situation.
Around town or on the motorway it never struggled, unlike many vehicles I have driven where fifth and sixth gear are, to be blunt, just to give extra economy.
The performance specifications for this petrol four-cylinder Renault suggests a top speed of a not-embarrassing 124mph and a 0–60mph start in marginally over 10 seconds.
One figure we do like to see is the CO2 emissions. This is categorised as 169g/km, putting it in excise band F so not too expensive.
Renault suggests that the fuel consumption figures should potentially be 38.7mpg on the combined cycle. This is not as high as we have come to expect but this is a small engine in a big car and it has a lot of work to do. In my 354 miles of ownership I achieved 32.5mpg.
The driving dynamics were good and the level of comfort for the driver and front seat passenger was excellent.
But the rear seats, I suggest, are only suitable for children. Leg room and headroom would be a problem if you tried to accommodate large adults in the rear.
The all-glass roof takes 25 seconds to close, should you be caught in a shower. It is totally electronic, with no switches or levers to operate. Just put your finger on the little button and it closes or opens.
The electric hand brake is a feature that has not impressed me in other vehicles I have driven. But Renault seems to have got it right. The brake came off when it was supposed to and held the vehicle successfully and I commend Renault for its design and operation. Who knows where this innovation will be five to 10 years hence?
I found the cruise control and the speed limiter especially useful, faced with the plethora of speed cameras that infest our roads.
I had to concede defeat by the radio and the Bluetooth. It was so complicated to get my phone to pair with the system that I gave up. It took me just over 10 minutes to find out how to get the radio to tell me the traffic bulletins. Either it was an over-complicated system, or perhaps I should have asked my eight-year old grandson to sort it out.
In Renault’s defence, the navigational system fitted (the name of the car is a bit of a giveaway) is a Tom Tom.
I own a portable Tom Tom so I was comfortable with this fitted version and it did work superbly well. It was easy to see, gave clear and concise instructions, and the operating switches down by the gear lever were a delight.
The Megane is a very safe vehicle, with excellent NCAP results so you expect to find plenty of air bags in the front. One feature I particularly liked was the ability to deactivate the front air bag so a child seat can be fitted.
The Dynamic Tom Tom has advantages over the normal Megane which include 17-inch alloy wheels and height-adjustable driver and passenger seats. The radio has CD and MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity (when you can get it to work).
It has automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. The keycard hands-free locking system is supposed to allow you to move away from the vehicle, which will then automatically lock. When you return, all that is required is a caress of the door handle to allow access, but on numerous occasions I couldn’t get the doors to open.
Then the delivery man told me that if you press a button to operate the keycard system as a remote to lock the vehicle, this overrides the proximity device. As a result, when you return to the vehicle you can’t just caress the door handle but you must press the button again to unlock the car. A lesson learnt.
The on-the-road price of my Megane was £21,260. Renault offer a reasonable servicing interval of two years with a fixed service plan at £219, which I would be sure to buy. It came with a 3-year or a 60,000-mile warranty.