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French flair

Good looks, great handling and impressive performance – driving the new Renault Mégane is a real treat.

The fourth generation Mégane is the most evolutionary update Renault has ever given to its family hatchback.

And it shows because first impressions are, well, impressive. The body is quite stunning – it certainly photographs well but in real life, it looks even better. The sporty lines flow from the front of the car, on to the roof and finish off at the back.

The expressive design is combined with assertiveness. One example suffices: the rectangular-looking headlights with LED technology and 3D effect add to the aggressive front and combine well with the sporty looking grid. This gives the car an aggressively eager look, but in a pleasant way.

The interior follow suit. The seats are comfortable and ergonomic – the driver enjoys a commanding position with good visibility all round. This is especially handy on local roads, where you have cars, buses and other obstacles coming at you from all angles and directions.

Head, shoulder and leg space are more than ample and you can drive for hours without getting tired. The dashboard is well displayed while the steering-mounted dials come in handy.

Driving this model was a real treat. The car handles very well in traffic and is quick to respond and agile. The steering reacts to every movement and gives you the reactions you would expect from a sporty model. The road holding of the car on an open road is also impressive and the car plants itself stubbornly on the road. Curves are taken with all the necessary and required attention but the car gives you all the confidence you require.

Gear-shift is smooth and efficient – each gear is very close so you can shift up and down efficiently. The car also has very good acceleration and solid braking. Renault has always given priority to safety measures and the Mégane is no exception.

The range of engines is a demonstration of the gains being made generally in fuel efficiency – even the 205PS turbo engine of the GT model, which gets the car to 62mph in 7.1 seconds, emits just 134g/km of CO2. The 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre dCi units both put out just 96g/km CO2, returning averages of 76.4mpg and 68.9mpg respectively. The diesel version is also very highly recommended.

A lot can be said, but I think one really has to drive this fine piece of machinery to actually understand what Renault has managed to offer this segment of the market. The Mégane makes for a very reasonably priced hatchback with a modern, sexy look.

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