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Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (2022-): first drive review

Using an all-new electric-car platform, this Megane is the first in a new generation of Renaults for the zero-emissions era. But how does it fare against rivals such as the VW ID.3?
Reanult Megane e-Tech Electric mountain shot

Not since the demise of the short-lived Fluence saloon has Renault offered a fully electric family car in the UK. Now with rivals such as the VW ID.3 and the forthcoming Vauxhall Astra e muscling in on the mid-size hatchback market, the all-new Megane e-Tech Electric is Renault’s riposte and shows the future of the brand beyond the 2030 ban on internal combustion engines.

Our full review of the Renault Megane E-Tech (complete with the car's overall score plus scores for safety, reliability and more) will be available once all our lab and road tests are complete.


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The Megane e-Tech uses an all-new platform, dubbed CMF-EV, meaning it shares nothing with current petrol-powered Meganes. This is evident in the car’s sheer size – it might be shaped like a  conventional hatchback, but it’s larger (measuring 4.2 metres in length and 1.5 metres in height) and far chunkier, sitting in between a mid-size hatchback and small crossover in terms of dimensions.

The e-Tech Electric is offered with a choice of 40kWh and 60kWh battery packs (which Renault claims are the thinnest currently available), both of which power a 130hp electric motor that drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission.

A more powerful 220hp motor is available on 60kWh models, which reduces the claimed 0-62mph time from 10.5 to 7.5 seconds.

Full UK price and specification details are yet to be confirmed. What we do know is that the Megane e-Tech Electric’s infotainment system is one of the few currently fitted with Google Assistant, making for seamless voice control over the car’s numerous entertainment and connectivity functions.

What's it like to drive?

Thanks to comprehensive weight-saving, the Megane e-Tech Electric feels relatively light on its feet compared with similarly sized EVs. This benefits both ride comfort and handling.

Our drive of the more potent 220hp model revealed it to be one of the most fun-to-drive electric cars in its expected price range. It feels very spritely and doesn’t lack for performance even at higher speeds. Indeed, get too eager with the throttle and  the torque on tap is enough to spin the front wheels, which is quickly tempered by the car’s traction control system.

The steering is light but has sufficient weight and responsiveness to place the car accurately. The Megane turns into corners keenly – a benefit of its relative lack of weight. It’s no hot hatch, but it’s certainly more entertaining than the ID.3 from behind the wheel.

The brakes do take some getting used to, though, as they switch between regenerative and mechanical breaking, often making it difficult to assess just how much braking pressure is required. It’s not something unique to the Megane, though, and it wouldn’t pose a problem with extended use.

Given the e-Tech Electric’s agility and well-contained body roll, it’s pleasing to find that the suspension is supple and absorbs bumps well, even on our test car’s enormous 20-inch alloy wheels. There can be the occasionally sharp edge to some potholes or bumps, but overall the ride quality is very well judged.

Inside, the e-Tech Electric follows the latest trend in car interiors, with the dashboard housing two separate digital displays. In typical Renault fashion, the central infotainment display is presented in portrait format, which makes for better presentation of sat nav maps, and it’s intuitive to use.

There are some harder plastics used in some elements of the interior, but there’s a generally high-quality feel, with decent fit and finish, intuitive layout and a smart, modern design. Renault has left proper buttons and switches for the climate control – a bonus as it reduces the potential for driver distraction.

Chunky window pillars and rather shallow windows obstruct the view over the shoulder, but otherwise the e-Tech Electric is generally easy to see out of. A reversing camera is fitted as standard equipment to UK models.


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How reliable is it?

The e-Tech Electric is too new for us to be able to just its reliability, but we have got enough feedback from Renault drivers to judge the reliability of the brand overall.

Head to our guide to the most reliable brands for 2022 to find out more.

How comfortable and spacious is it?

The Megane feels much more like a conventional hatchback to sit in than rivals such as the airy and spartan ID.3. This is thanks to the Megane’s more enveloping cabin, which has a larger centre console.

Unobtrusive door sills and a relatively high seating position makes getting in and out easy. There’s plenty of adjustability in the front seats for most passengers to get comfortable, but it’s slightly less successful in the back, with the seat height making headroom pinched for taller passengers.

The seats are well padded and sized, and they provide sufficient lateral support when cornering.

Renault claims there’s 440 litres of boot space – that’s relatively large for a car of this type. We’ll be able to give an accurate measurement of usable load space in our full lab test, but on initial assessment the boot’s size certainly is generous. The problem, though, is the load lip created by its deep shape. There’s additional space under the floor to store charging cables.

It’s expected that UK versions will be available with an optional adjustable boot floor, which will aid practicality and would improve the significant step created when folding the rear seats down.

How economical is it to run?

We’ll be able to confirm just how efficient the Megane is when we get it into our lab. However, based on the car’s official WLTP figures, electricity consumption stands at 15.8-16.1kWh/100km, depending on model, which is impressively efficient by EV standards.

Claimed driving range is 186 miles for 40kWh models, 292 miles for lower powered 60kWh versions and 280 miles for the 220hp model.

The Megane is compatible with rapid charging up to 130kW, which Renault claims is enough to add 186 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Charging at home using a domestic three-pin socket is possible but takes significantly longer for a full charge (around 21 hours for 40kWh models and over 30 hours for 60kWh versions). Using a 7kW home EV charger, you can expect to replenish an empty battery in around six hours (nine hours for 60kWh batteries).

How safe is it?

The Megane e-Tech Electric was awarded a full five-star crash safety rating by Euro NCAP when it was tested early in 2022.

Renault claims there are no fewer than 26 different automatic driver assistance systems available, and the extensive suite of kit covers everything from autonomous emergency braking (even in reverse), fully assisted lane keeping, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, full auto-park and even a warning buzzer should the car detect a passenger is about to open the door into an oncoming car or cyclist.

In terms of more conventional safety kit, there’s a decent tally of airbags, but the lack of driver and passenger knee airbag is a notable omission in an otherwise comprehensively well-equipped car.

There are Isofix mountings in both the front passenger and outer rear seats, making it easier to install a child car seat.

Is there anything I should look out for?

The boot layout, with the floor recessed low to create a deep space, can hinder loading of larger items, which need lowering in. It could also prove impractical for carrying pets.

Which? first drive verdict

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Comfortable
  • Slick infotainment

Cons

  • Impractical boot layout
  • Restricted rear visibility

Price: TBC

Renault’s long experience with electric cars shines through in the Megane e-Tech Electric. It’s great to drive, loaded with technology, and should prove very economical to run – if the brand’s claims hold true in our independent lab tests.

While our full lab test is yet to be finalised, we’d certainly say the e-Tech Electric is worthy of close consideration.


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