Renault has a fine tradition of trotting out fast and fun hatches. This dates back decades, but it’s been ages since we last drove a Megane RS. It was our Performance Car of the Year back in 2011 when it was known as the RS 250. There have been other versions since, but all have been three-door manuals aimed squarely at enthusiasts.
Now a new one has just landed, one with a broader appeal thanks to a five-door configuration and the option of a two-pedal gearbox. So you’re thinking they’ve toned it down right? Wrong, this is still Megane RS at heart, but one with a broader range of talents.
First the practical bits
While it’s now a five-door, it’s a good looking one, sporty but not too racy. It’s pumped out, the flared arches see it measuring up 60mm wider at the front than a Megane GT, and 45mm on the rear. The distinctive front end is marked out by the ‘R.S. Vision’ LED cluster, with its chequered flag design which includes the fog lamps, active cornering lights and the high beams. RS rides low with the standard 19s filling the arches sweetly, the sculptured sills grounding the look further.
The only minor inconvenience is the low lying front bumper which requires a cautious approach to driveways. While the rear spoiler is tame in size (to reduce drag) the under bumper diffuser isn’t, and nor is the central exhaust outlet. Inside there’s an RS specific interior. The sport seats look racy but the bolsters aren’t the punishing type, while the support/comfort balance is struck nicely. Alcantara trim is a bit special, but costs extra. There’s the usual alloy bits here and there, and a cut off wheel.
The build is good, no bits rattling and the surfaces are sound too. The only mild annoyance is the hard edge of the console that rubs against your left leg. There’s enough in-cabin storage, save for the glovebox, filled as it is with the fuse box. We managed to squeeze our three kids in their car seats across the back, while the boot is a decent size and well shaped. There’s AEB on guard, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring, along with a rear view camera and a parking assist feature. But then it’s easy enough to park with a quick steering rack and a good turning circle. Even the sporty ride is tolerable day to day. Also included is active cruise, but it only works above 50km/h and therefore won’t bring you to a stop.