Renault’s Megane Coupe-Cabriolet (CC) goes to the heart of the Renault brand. It’s on-trend, high-tech, nice to drive, appeals to the young (and young-at-heart) and oozes French style.
Yes, building on its F1 reputation, Renault does do brilliant high-performance cars - like the Megane R.S.275 Trophy. But the French giant, which owns Nissan, also does excellent mainstream cars and commercial vehicles…and, of course a brilliant car for summer in the form of the Megane CC.
So let’s slip-on the Mambo boardies and Ray Bans, crank-up Don Henley’s Boys Of Summer on the Arkamys audio system and hit the road.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Overview
Renault has the Megane CC very sharply priced with the entry-level Dynamique grade listed at just $38,490.
For www.carshowroom.com.au Renault Australia provided the one of the range-topping GT-Line Renault Megane CC which was stickered at $43,900.
Both share the same driveline but the GT Line scores leather seats, uprated audio and some red trim highlights.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Engine
The latest Renault Megane hatchback lineup switched to an all-new turbocharged engine family (97kW/205Nm 1.2-litre for the regular models) leaving the naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder for the CC.
Maximum power is 103kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 195Nm arrives at 3750rpm.
Drive is to the front wheels via a CVT automatic transmission.
So the Renault Megane CC isn’t the sprightliest cabrio the world has seen, requiring 11.7 seconds for zero to 100km/h (not that a quick sprint rates highly with most buyers in this segment).
Combined-cycle fuel consumption is rated at 8.1l/100kms.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet The Interior
You’ll need to allocate 20 seconds for the folding hardtop roof of the Renault Megane CC to operate. That’s not the quickest one around but there’s a lot going on with things opening, closing and whirring – and it is a magnificent glass roof.
But while you may not have the speediest roof in ‘Cabriolet Town’, with 417-litres you will have one of the largest boots (only the Peugeot 308CC is larger). In fact the French duo score top marks in the practicality department – admittedly in a segment where practicality doesn’t rate too highly.
The GT-Line Megane CC we tested was boosted by leather seats (fronts heated), GT-Line embroidery for the front headrests, the 7.0-inch colour touchscreen for the satellite navigation and Arkamys audio system, red trim highlights, a Renault Sport analogue speedo and push-button start.
We liked the driving position and Renault’s classy three-spoke steering wheel and, typically Renault, most of the tactile elements were top-notch. Drivers will notice the thick B-pillars when reverse parking.
Rear seat access was good but, as you’d expect, once seated legroom wasn’t massive.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Exterior & Styling
We’ve always been very keen on the looks of the Renault Megane CC. There has been a degree of ‘cookie-cutter’ in open-top deigns in recent years but we think the Renault Megane CC (and Audi A3 Cabriolet) stand-out from the crowd.
We like the CC’s high waistline and classy rear-end and it manages to combine good looks both with the roof closed and open.
The current model benefits from the refreshed styling shared across the Megane range – most noticeable in the CC with the updated front-end with new Renault brand identity.
Underneath, 17-inch alloy wheels (‘Celsium’ design) in satin grey look nice too.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet On The Road
As we mentioned, the naturally-aspirated 103kW/195Nm 2.0-litre engine in the Renault Megane CC carried-over from the previous generation. It’s refined, quiet and goes well - without being on the same page as say the 162kW/340Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre powerhouse we get in the Megane GT220 hatchback and wagon.
Because the Megane CC is a different kind of car, appealing to a different sort of buyer.
It appears some of our colleagues missed this point and have chosen engine performance as the basis to criticize the Renault Megane CC. C’mon boys we’re not hot-lapping the Nurburgring with this car!
Same for the CVT automatic transmission. Yes, you can get more expensive CVTs which are sportier in their operation but again, for the Megane CC, this one gets the job done and certainly is much easier to live with than some. Renault’s CVT picks-up reasonably quickly from low speeds and doesn’t overly buzz when accelerating through the mid-range.
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop, the standout for the Renault Megane CC was the steering. We liked the weight and we liked the feel – a bit heavier than today’s mostly too-light power-assisted systems and certainly a more direct response when rapidly changing direction.
Suspension calibration was distinctly French. That’s to say the Renault Megane CC wasn’t as firm and jittery as some Germans but definitely more connected than non-European vehicles.
At 1631kgs, the Renault Megane CC is certainly no lightweight (hey that folding hardtop roof and related paraphernalia aren’t made out of balsa wood). And when asked to frequently change direction, weight distribution feels distinctly front-biased.
Around town the Renault Megane CC was reasonably easy to live with. Parking in our tight CBD carpark was a tad challenging with no reversing camera and those meaty B-pillars but there’s no doubt a folding hardtop roof does outperform a cloth roof when it comes to isolating the interior from the city hustle-bustle.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Challenges
We’re just deducting points from the Renault Megane CC for the lack of a reversing camera. This technology costs peanuts these days – surprising really a massive European brand like Renault could consider building a car without one.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet Verdict
We ‘get’ Renault. While relatively small – but growing rapidly – in Australia, this massive conglomerate is France’s biggest automotive company, owns Nissan, has been in F1 racing for decades, offers an enormous range of passenger and commercial vehicles and has a reputation for cutting-edge style.
Underscoring this inherent strength, the Renault Megane CC is backed in Australia by a 5-year/unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assistance. There’s also capped-price servicing and Renault Financial Services.
Get the picture? Renault is a powerhouse brand, no doubt about it.
So, overlaying all of that, we have the Megane CC itself. Well, we like the looks, we like the drive and in the field of similar European rivals it’s certainly sharply priced.
With a few weekends at the beach in our diary before the end of summer, we’d happily have the Renault Megane CC in our garage full-time.
Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet The Competition
Audi’s A3 Cabriolet is a Car Showroom Favourite but you’ll need a bit more coin (starting price $47,300). And there is a turbo-diesel option – albeit an expensive one at $54,900. The entry-grade 1.4 TFSI in on-par with the Renault Megane CC with 103kW/250Nm from its turbocharged 1.4-litre engine or you can move up to the more powerful 1.8-litre engine and a Quattro all-wheel-drive model. Looks racy but a small boot won’t favour the golf club brigade.
Peugeot’s gorgeous 308CC heads to the upscale end of town priced from $50,990. We love the looks, the interior is a standout and the Peugeot offers the largest boot in this league. Like the Renault Megane CC, the 308CC isn’t the sportiest cabrio when the road gets twisty…but hey, think of the looks you’ll be getting while ‘boulevarding’ with the roof down.
Volkswagen appears to have the soft-top Golf Cabriolet sharply priced at $37,490 (manual) and $40,390 (auto) but you need to closely cross-reference standard and optional features to get a true comparison with rivals. While the Golf falls a long way short of the Renault Megane CC for cargo capacity, Volkswagen’s twin-charged 1.4-litre engine is punchy with 118kW/240Nm on-tap and of course the hallmark Volkswagen quality can never be overlooked.
As we write, launch of the all-new Mazda MX-5 is weeks away. Does cast a large shadow over this market segment.