Renault Megane E-TECH hybrid review

Those after a spacious and cheap to run family car should take a close look at the Renault Megane plug-in hybrid

£30,685 - £32,685
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Practical estate body
  • Good value price
  • Free home wallbox

Cons

  • Occasionally jerky hybrid system
  • Dated interior
  • No hatchback version yet
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 30 miles 217.3mpg 30g/km

For some reason, the compact family estate market doesn’t currently feature a plethora of plug-in hybrid models. But Renault thinks it’s on to something – as along with E-TECH versions of the Clio and Captur, it’s also launched a plug-in Megane Sport Tourer.

Boasting many of the same qualities as its petrol and diesel siblings, the Megane E-TECH offers plenty to buyers unwilling to compromise on space and rock-bottom running costs. With CO2 emissions of just 30g/km, this is a spacious company car that won’t break the bank.

Featuring a 1.6-litre petrol engine and 9.8kWh battery, the Megane will do around 30 miles on electric power alone – slightly less than its closest rival, the Kia Ceed Sportswagon PHEV. You’ll be able to recharge the Renault in around three hours from a home wallbox, however; like most plug-in hybrids there’s no option for DC fast charging.

Those low CO2 emissions make the Megane an extremely attractive company car with a Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax rating of 10%. That’s a huge saving on the equivalent diesel – and if you can plug in regularly, you’ll be looking at vastly improved fuel economy, too.

In pure-electric mode the Megane is a very relaxing car to drive. With a full battery it’s easy to potter around without waking the engine, while even at higher speeds the cabin remains quiet. 
When needed, the engine ignites without much fuss, although it isn’t always as smooth as we might like. Premium models like the Volvo V60 Recharge are better integrated.

The Renault doesn’t feel all that fleet of foot, either, and while it’s perfectly capable on faster roads, the seven-speed automatic gearbox is a little ponderous, making heavy work of impulsive overtakes. It rides well, however, even on our car’s 18-inch alloy wheels.

This is a model best suited to short urban commutes – maximising that all electric range by leaning on the car’s regenerative braking. It’s not quite capable of one-pedal driving, but the Megane has the ability to slow significantly when you lift off the throttle, feeding energy back into the battery that would otherwise be lost.

The Megane is starting to feel its age inside, despite this plug-in hybrid model joining the range at the same time as the car’s mid-life refresh. The portrait touchscreen represents a worthy focal point, but the graphics feel tired and it’s not the most responsive system on the market. The digital dials aren’t as sharp as some models in this class, either.

Still, quality is decent and there’s plenty of space to stretch out. There’s loads of room in the rear seats, and the boot is a good shape and size. Those looking for the biggest outright load volume in this class might be better off waiting for the forthcoming Skoda Octavia iV plug-in hybrid, but it’s unlikely Megane buyers will feel short-changed.

Available in Iconic and R.S. Line specs, all models get alloy wheels and LED lights, as well as a touchscreen infotainment system with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and automatic dual-zone climate control. 

The more expensive R.S. Line (+£2,000) adds sportier styling, bigger wheels, a rear parking camera, a 10-inch drivers’ display and a larger 9.3-inch touchscreen.