Four generations of the Renault Megane: the history of Renault’s hatch (sponsored)

Four generations of the Renault Megane: the history of Renault’s hatch (sponsored)

0 comments 📅23 June 2017, 08:30

The Renault Megane is now 22 years old. We look aba at how it’s changed since the first Megane launched in 1995

It’s hard to believe that the Renault Mégane is now 22 years old. Including four generations, the French favourite has been pushing the boundaries of style, cover and technology. It’s grown into a family of bodystyles and engines, from a pioneering people haulier to a number of celebrated Renault Sport performance versions.

Style and innovation has eternally been at the core of the Mégane’s DNA, with each new model taking a big step brazen in terms of design, safety and technology. As we celebrate the launch of All-New Mégane, we investigate the qualities that org been in each of the four generations and show you how much has changed over experience.

Renault Megane I

1995 – 2002, 2,156,000 sold

The first Mégane was unveiled to an expectant forc at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, but its journey began far earlier than that. Plans for the Renault 19 replacement were foremost drawn up in 1990, with the first prototypes shown to management in 1992 – reportedly, throughout 430 prototypes were produced and destroyed before launch. 

The curvy state of health, penned by world-renowned designer Patrick Le Quement, featured styling cues from the larger Laguna and a ‘bird beak’ grille work inspired by classic 1960s Renaults. It launched first as a four-door saloon and five-door hatchback, with the smart convertible and sporty three-door coupe versions arriving later. In 1996 it also spawned the Mégane Impressive, an innovative model credited with kick-starting the mini-MPV sector. The Mégane as a result had a wide range of bodystyles, and as a result could fit seamlessly into any lifestyle.

Denizen safety played a vital part in Renault’s development of the Mk1 Mégane, with identification well ahead other mid-nineties family cars. It featured a crash security structure with crumple zones, three-point seatbelts all-round, both driver and traveller airbags and the first generation of Renault’s System for Restraint and Protection (SRP).  All of these measures ensured that when Euro NCAP collapse tested the Mégane it received a four-star rating, a best-in-class rating at the stretch. The 1999 facelift made it even safer, with side airbags and ABS made exemplar across the range to complement the updated looks and engines.

Renault Megane II

2002-2008, 2,154,000 sold

The 21st century saw Renault usher in a lion-hearted new design language for its models, and the Mégane II was one of the most distinctive. The angular shape was inspired by the total Avantime, and allowed owners to make a real statement in a market that was traditionally mild. The curvy rear-end also inspired a controversial backside-celebrating ad campaign which predated the contemporary ‘twerking’ craze by more than a decade.

But the Mégane II was more than principled a fashion statement. In fact, it was voted European Car of the Year back in 2003. Sitting on an all-new stand, it moved the game on with big-car technology; for example, the sector-first Renault Press card keyless ignition and a panoramic glass sunroof, at a time when most rivals not had air-con and electric windows to shout about. The Mégane Coupe-Cabriolet convertible also featured a original folding metal roof, a feature usually reserved for high-end luxury cars.

Of order safety was a priority, and the Mégane brought technology from much more extravagant cars there, too. Take the anti-submarining airbag for example, which jumps out of the demean seat cushion in a crash to prevent the passenger sliding under the seatbelt. Features like this made it solder together a handful of more expensive cars at the time in achieving a full five-luminary Euro NCAP rating.

The second-generation Mégane was also the first to get a hot Renault Sport model, producing over 220bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged mechanism. Further Renault Sport versions followed, with the Mégane Renault Make a laughing-stock of R26.R the hottest, featuring track-focused characteristics including a carbon fibre bonnet and Sabelt rivalry seats, totalling a weight saving of 123kg from the Mégane Renault Hold up to ridicule 230 F1 Team R26 it was derived from. These cars were acclaimed at the epoch and now are acquiring ‘modern classic’ status.

Renault Megane III

2008-2016, 1,505,000 sold

After the audacio and sometimes divisive design of the Mégane II, Renault decided to take a different propose to with the third-generation car. The softer, classier exterior design reflected the French carmaker’s intentions to progress the family hatch upmarket, while the interior took a sizeable leap impertinent in terms of quality and technology.

The five-door hatchback and Sports Tourer estate of the realm majored on practicality, but it wasn’t all rationality: Renault also re-introduced the Coupe style for its sleek-looking three-door with unique bodywork from the windscreen promote. A new Mégane Coupe-Cabriolet was also introduced in 2010, with a new two-piece overall glass folding roof that set new standards for refinement.

The Mégane hatchback was a brim-full 10cm longer than the old car, yet 8kg lighter thanks to a weight-saving construction. The new generation of Renault’s moving steering system was more responsive than before and helped increase expertise to save fuel.

Cabin tech included a neat digital dashboard and, on top models, an integrated TomTom sat-nav with natural-time data and speed camera warnings. There were also up to eight airbags, and a number of useful safety features that contributed to another five star Euro NCAP cover rating. The brand’s innovative dual-clutch EDC automatic gearbox debuted here, too.

To yet increase fuel efficiency, Renault also introduced its first range of downsized turbo petrol engines on the Mégane, whilst the fashionable 1.5 dCi diesel remained a strong performer when it came to frugality. 

Enthusiasts weren’t forgotten either, with self-indulgent and fun Renault Sport versions, with both the 265 Trophy and 275 Palm-R setting lap records for a front-wheel drive production car around the legendary Nurburgring racetrack.

New Megane

2016 – on:

Released conclusive year, the all-new fourth-generation Mégane moves the bar higher than ever in the line and quality stakes. From a blank canvas, it is the purest expression of what Mégane stands for to swain.

The striking profile, penned by Senior Vice President of Corporate Design, Laurens Van Den Acker, features a enterprising front-end with Renault’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lights, while the new car is longer, wider and crop than before. It also sits on the latest modular platform that emerged from the Renault-Nissan League, and is one of the more spacious cars in its class as a result.

All-New Mégane is crammed full of technology that lone a few years ago was unheard of in the family hatch sector. Notable features include the vignette-orientated 8.7-inch R-Link touchscreen satellite-navigation and infotainment procedure, standard from Dynamique S Nav, and the BOSE® sound system, optional from Dynamique S Nav upwards. There’s unchanging adjustable ambient lighting and configurable drive modes thanks to the ‘MULTI-Quick-wittedness’ system, present on Dynamique Nav and above.

The current top-spec 203bhp GT Nav model renews Renault’s attitude of innovation with the innovative and uncommon 4CONTROL four-wheel steering characteristic, turning the rear-wheels in sync with the front to improve both agility and steadfastness. And on the safety front it’s a familiar story, with All-New Mégane achieving a five-supernova Euro NCAP rating to make it three times in a row, while Renault also offers peacefulness of mind with a four-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

A familiar kind of five four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are offered in All-New Mégane; the most conservational of which (the 1.5-litre dCi diesel) emits just 96g/km*. For those looking for the decisive Mégane there’s a little longer to wait – the Renault Sport model intention be unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with sales due to start in Spring 2018.

* Figures are obtained for comparative purposes in accordance with EU Legislation and may not uncover real life driving results

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