Refreshed Renault Megane looks more grown up both inside and out

Renault has been selling the current Megane unchanged since the current generation was launched back in 2016. Then, it attracted a lot of attention with its bold LED daytime running lights, wrap-around rear light clusters (that almost created a full-width light bar) and upmarket-feeling interior with its large portrait-style touchscreen infotainment screen.

Now, the manufacturer has brought the Megane in for its midlife makeover, in order to keep it looking fresh and to bring its look in line with that of newer models in the range (like the all-new generation Clio subcompact). The facelifted Megane features redesigned headlights (with a different but equally bold LED signature), a revised grille and front bumper, as well as a new rear light cluster design; the rear bumper may also be different, but if so, then the difference is so subtle we can’t really spot it.

Its interior has also been updated, but the biggest change can be found under the revised Megane’s hood. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains will be offered for the first time, as Renault continues the quest to electrify as much of its range as possible - this was to be expected, though, since the new Clio can also be had as a hybrid, so electrifying the Megane was a logical next step.

Exterior

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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You really can’t not look at the 2020 Renault Megane’s bold face. Its headlights and daytime running lights have been reshaped as part of the facelift, but they’re only slightly more subtle in conjunction with the smaller redesigned grille. Slimmer is the word best used to describe the refreshed Megane’s front light clusters. We normally use the phrase “nip and tuck” when talking about car facelifts as a euphemism, but in the case of the revised Megane, it really does look like it has undergone actual plastic surgery whose result was successful.

The rear end makeover is more subtle, but the redesigned rear light clusters do help the car look more modern overall.

Renault has also ditched the (almost) light bar in favor of more restrained lights very similar to those it created for the smaller Clio. Overall, its back side looks more modern and premium, even if it’s not as bold and in your face as that of the pre-facelift model.

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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From the side, you won’t really know the car has undergone a facelift. Sure, the new rim designs and revised color palette might give you a clue, but since Renault only made chances to the front and rear fascias, the side of the car is unchanged. It has the same side skirts, the same mirrors and the same fenders.

The Megane wasn’t a bad looking compact hatch to begin with, though. It has short overhangs, a wide and planted stance similar to that of the new Mercedes A-Class or CLA, and cool details that helped it stand out.

The hatchback version of this generation Megane also embraced a more voluptuous rear end, harking back to the second-gen Megane that debuted in 2002 under the “shake it” marketing slogan.

The bulbous shape of the rear end is not as visible in the case of the post-facelift Megane, though, as the almost-light bar design helped accentuate its curvature.

Interior

2019 Renault Clio's smart, upmarket looking interior revealed
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The interior of the facelifted Renault Megane will look like a slightly more upmarket interpretation of the all-new Renault Clio’s interior.

The curved, 9.3-inch portrait-style infotainment screen that replaces the old one has been raised to a higher position than before and part of it now looks like it’s floating, not connected to the dash. As a result, the climate control vents and the buttons on the center stack have been redesigned and it all looks just that little bit cleaner and more organized than before the refresh.

The refreshed Megane will also feature the full digital gauge cluster that debuted on the Clio; it replaces the part-digital gauge cluster of the pre-facelift Megane, but what’s most noticeable is the significant improvement in screen resolution and clarity.

2019 Renault Clio's smart, upmarket looking interior revealed
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The steering wheel is also a new design cue borrowed from the Clio. It shows an incremental evolution over the previous design helm, featuring a smaller center that’s more clearly defined, as well as thinner, longer spokes. R.S. Line trim level versions will come with a flat-bottom version of the wheel, complete with perforated leather on the parts you grip and the R.S. logo embedded in the lower lower part of the single vertical prong (which is actually a dual-spoke on the refreshed Megane).

Drivetrain

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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Renault is expected to update some of the existing engine options for the Megane, whose base gasoline engine option right now is the TCe 115 unit, a 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo with 113 horsepower (115 PS) and 220 Nm (162 pound-feet) of torque. Hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox, this engine needs 10.7 seconds to accelerate the Megane from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) and on to its top speed of 189 km/h (117 mph).

The base diesel engine for the Megane is the DCi 95, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s been a staple for Renault for nearly 20 years.

In this state of tune, it makes 93 horsepower (95 PS) and 240 Nm (177 pound-feet) of torque. With this engine, the Megane’s benchmark sprint time is 12 seconds.

The top gasoline power plant, excluding that of the hot RenaultSport model, is the TCe 160 unit, a 1.33-liter four-cylinder turbo with 157 horsepower (160 PS) and 260 Nm (191 pound-feet) of torque that can be had with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch.

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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The top diesel choice currently available for the Megane is the Blue DCi 150, a new 1.7-liter diesel four-pot with 148 horsepower (150 PS) and 340 Nm (250 pound-feet) of torque. It is exclusively mated to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and it manages to send the Megane hatch to 100 km/h from standstill in 9.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 205 km/h (127 mph).

The big under-the-hood news for the Megane are the electrified powertrains.

They have not been officially detailed, but we do know some bits of information about them. The regular non-PHEV hybrid will reportedly mate a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to a small electric motor that will draw power from a minute 1.2 kWh battery pack. For this version, pure-electric range will be very limited, but that’s where the PHEV model will come in.

In regards to the Megane PHEV, we know even less. It may not even rely on the same internal combustion engine as the regular hybrid, and its battery pack will be considerably larger too. It is believed that it will offer around 48 km (30 miles) of emissions-free driving with a fully topped up battery before the internal-combustion engine kicks in to start charging it.

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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Renault usually also increases the horsepower of its Megane RenaultSport hot hatch versions as part of the model’s mid-life cycle refresh. The previous incarnation of the model gained 15 horsepower in its base form and we expect the latest Megane R.S. to get the same. Most likely, the regular 280 horsepower model will be boosted to the Trophy’s 300 horsepower rating and the Trophy and higher-powered editions will have closer to 330 horsepower as part of the refresh.

Prices

Pricing for the refreshed Renault Megane has not been announced, but in France the range currently kicks off at €21,500 (for a base Life trim level vehicle with manual air-con and no extras) and rises to €44,300 for the top spec R.S. Trophy model with 296 horsepower. However, at the very top of the Megane range sits the new Megane R.S Trophy-R, a stripped out, lightweight version aimed at enthusiasts. Only 500 examples will be made at €55,000 a pop; a fully-specced Trophy-R, with the Nurburgring Record Pack (that swaps out the regular alloys for carbon fiber wheels, gives the car bigger brakes with gold calipers and an air intake in place of the standard car’s fog lights).

Competition

Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf Spyshots
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Volkswagen’s Golf is the eternal car to beat in its category. It ticks all of the boxes it should, it is probably the most timeless-looking vehicle in its class (both inside and out) and the latest generation is also really good to drive (and by drive I mean throw around a twisty road). What the Golf does better than all its rivals, Renault Megane included, is offer a level of perceived quality inside that cannot really be matched. Mid-spec Golfs feel about as plush as some premium cars inside and if you opt for a top of the range model, with leather and better materials, the premium car impression will be complete.

Plus it has a wide range of available powertrains (internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric), so it can pretty much cater for the need of any buyer. And it also does one thing better than its rivals too: it is a classless car and by that I mean you really can’t tell what its driver does (or how much he or she makes); it’s a car driven by a wide range of people and you can’t really brand them based on appearance (or, in this case, the car they drive) - this is a commodity in our current day and age and, again, it’s only the Golf that can offer this in its segment.

Read our full review on the 2020 Volkswagen Golf

Ford Focus

2019 Ford Focus Interior Exterior
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Ford’s Focus has constantly been (throughout its four generations) the best car to drive in its class. Nothing in the compact segment handles like a Focus, and the latest iteration of the model only comes to confirm this. On top of this, the current Focus has a fairly plush feeling interior, with good materials and considerably more space for people and things than its predecessor.

For the latest Focus, Ford has decided to offer the vehicle in four distinct flavors: the regular Focus, the sporty Focus ST Line, the fancy Focus Vignale and the crossover-like Focus Active which gets extra body cladding and a taller ride height. Each of these models have unique styling cues, some mechanical modifications and, overall, each has a unique vibe when experienced in person. Ford is also a world leader when it comes to powerful downsized gasoline engines and the Focus takes full advantage of that - the only gasoline engines offered are the 1.0- and 1.5-liter EcoBoost, although the smaller of the two (in its most powerful state of tune) will realistically have enough poke for most buyers.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Focus

Honda Civic

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
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Honda has worked really hard to make its latest Civic a true world class contender in the segment. It also happens to be the first truly global Civic model in decades and it therefore needs to cater to the needs of a wide range of (often quite different) buyers. What it brings to the table is sharp exterior styling, a futuristic looking cabin that feels considerably more upmarket than that of the previous Civic; the level of perceived quality inside the Civic is nowhere near as good as that of a VW Golf, or even the Ford Focus, but its seats are probably more comfortable than those of either rival and that’s a big plus point in my book.

The latest Civic also drives very well too. Its steering system is one of the best in the class - up there with the likes of the Ford Focus - and this, in combination with the Civic’s excellent body control through the corners, makes it a real hoot to weave around a tight, twisty road. Just like the Focus, the Civic can be had with 1.0- or 1.5-lite turbocharged engines with about the same power levels as the Ford. However, the hot hatch version of the Civic is considerably quicker than both the Volkswagen and the Ford and is only beaten by the hardcore, stripped-out Megane Trophy-R.

Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Civic

Hyundai i30

2019 Hyundai i30 Exterior
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The Hyundai i30 is a bit of a new kid on the block in this company of established nameplates. The first i30 was launched in 2007 and the current model is the third generation and it too follows the trends set in the class: more perceived quality, more safety, more tech and more driving fun. In the looks department, the Korean hatchback is about as “European” looking as cars in this class come, with pleasant but understated styling and a good, well screwed-together interior that may not look as luxurious as that of some of its rivals, yet there’s hardly anything to fault when it comes to its level of quality.

Out on the road, the i30 is cool and composed but not especially fun to drive quickly. It gets the job done effectively and without drama, but it’s not as entertaining to attack corners quickly in it as it is in, say, the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic. Its range of engines is competitive and comparable to that of its rivals and, more recently, it also gained a hot hatch variant designed to appeal to enthusiasts: the i30 N, a believable contender in the hot hatch segment that has a lot of power, a great chassis and enough visual enhancements to make it look special.

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai i30

Conclusion

2020 Renault Megane Exterior Spyshots
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Renault’s Megane will continue to sell well, even after this mid-life cycle refresh. Renault has done just enough to keep it relevant: the styling changes make the car look more elegant and upmarket, the interior improvements go along the same lines and with the addition of electrified variants, it the car’s spectrum of appeal has been broadened. In its non hot hatch variants, the car is not the most exciting hatchback in its class (either to drive or to look at), but it is a compelling overall package that has attracted and will keep attracting European buyers looking for competent (and efficient) transportation for themselves and/or their small family.

The Megane also majors on refinement, with one of the quietest cabins in the segment. It rides very well too, especially given the fact that it doesn’t have an independent rear suspension setup. It’s also very practical too, with a trunk that can swallow up to 434-liters (which can be extended to 1,237 liters with the rear bench folded). With the seats up, its trunk space is fairly big by class standards, but with the rear backrests down, rivals like the Opel Astra and SEAT Leon offer more room.

  • Leave it
    • still not the sharpest to drive
    • passengers in the back will still feel a bit cramped
    • it’s not among the most practical cars in its class

Further reading

2016 Renault Mégane GT High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Renault Megane GT.

2017 Renault Megane Sedan
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Read our full review on the 2017 Renault Megane Sedan.

All Changes Contrived by Renault Sport To Brew The Hardcore Megane RS Trophy Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy.

2018 Renault Megane R.S.
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Read our full review on the 2018 Renault Megane R.S.

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