Thursday, September 22, 2011

Test Drive - The Megane Mk2 1.5Dci Break

I've been testing all sorts of vehicles lately, during this phase (My beloved s2000 is stopped in the garage waiting for a wheel bearing replacement), I've had the chance to fully test some cars that, by personal option, would never ever have otherwise.
One of these was a Renault Megane II Brake.
The Megane has always been a difficult car for me.It has a very good chassis and for the first time in Renault's history is established the safety euroNCap benchmark for the segment. But that design is just sooo bad that I would never consider to buy one.
There is something else about Renaults and me: The smell. The smell from the new car's is just enough to make me vomit and even though this was an old one, it had leader interior and it still smelled the way I hate.
Ignoring this fact, I was very surprised to feel that the 1.5Dci 105Ps engine with almost 200.000km on the clock was more than capable of pulling that big ass and still feel like a car. And I already had tested 100.000km exemplars like this that stood for the good built quality announced since the Mk1 megane, but 200.000 is pushing it. And still no noises or rattles, plenty of torque and power, and if you like the smell, it still lived on :S

Driving it is another new experience to me. The car feels solid but not as solid as the 116d bmw. It's a lot more comfortable and you can feel just how long it is by the stability of ahead movement and it's delay on biting the bends. However, passing the initial stubbornness, it turns and is sharp. Not brilliant but very acceptable. Driving position is excellent and I felt that the seats could offer more lateral support, making clear that the car turns far better that the seats are expecting to have to hold.
It takes time to get used to the key-less thing, but it's not as bad as I expected.
The stereo unit has a 6cd changer plus a full independent cd unit with mp3 capability. The sound is not even close to the standard bmw unit but it's decent.
The hand brake seems like a very good solution to allow arm-travel and still have a solid arm-rest.

The boot is just huge. I once was able to load a FULL bedroom and living-room furniture inside a megane (Ikea furniture) + 2 adults.

It's a very good car and price-quality just blows competitors away. If only it looked better and smell better...