Renault Megane E-Tech Electric road test

Feature

One of the first car manufacturers to embrace the modern era of electric cars, Renault has launched a new and bold, in style and ambition, zero-emissions offensive. Richard Gooding finds that the Megane E-Tech Electric, the first model to arrive, sets a very high standard.

What is it?

Previewed by the 2020 Megane eVision concept car, the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric was unveiled at the IAA Munich Mobility Show in 2021.

All-new from the ground up, the fourth all-electric Renault car after the Fluence, Zoe, and Twizy – and the first of a new era the company calls the ‘Renaulution’ – sits on the ‘AmpR Medium’ platform which also underpins the Nissan Ariya. Taking a popular nameplate and giving it a zero-emissions twist for the 2020s, the Megane is joined by the new all-electric Scenic, with reinvented versions of the Renault 4, 5, and Twingo to follow. 

What range does it have?

Renault has kept things simple with the all-electric version of the Megane. There is just one battery option, a 60kWh (usable) ‘comfort range’ LG-sourced unit. Designed especially for the AmpR Medium platform, the lithium-ion NMC battery has an official WLTP combined range of up to 280 miles. A heat pump comes as standard on every new electric Megane to help eke out the car’s range, recovering heat generated by the battery and the electric motor.

How long does it take to charge?

With a maximum charging power of up to 130kW, when the Megane E-Tech Electric is connected to a DC rapid charger, a 15 to 80 per cent battery refill takes 32 minutes, rising to just under two hours on a 22kW AC triple-phase connection. A 7.4kW can refill the same battery percentage in a little over six hours.

How does it drive?

Externally, the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric’s high-riding hatchback lines look both classy and sporty, the 20-inch wheels of our test car adding to the dynamic look. Flush door handles, an (optional) two-tone colour scheme and electrically operated flush door handles add to the smart impression. Step inside and the clutter-free cabin looks great, with nice materials, including a fabric-covered dashboard.

The pair of screens have sharp and colourful graphics, with the 12.3-inch configurable digital instrument display one of the best I’ve had the fortune to operate. The four ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Perso’ (Personal) driving modes are chosen by the ‘Multi Sense’ magneto button mounted on the steering wheel which is easy to use, if a little slow to react at times.

To drive, the electric Megane shrinks around you, feeling smaller than it is. The steering has a nice weight, and the Renault feels quite agile. Genuinely fun to drive – especially in Sport mode – road noise is hushed on the smoothest of surfaces. The ride is comfortable, and as with most EVs, the Megane is very quiet on the move.

The four stages of regeneration are well-judged and very easily controlled by the steering wheel paddles, and the one-pedal driving function – actually the maximum regeneration setting – works well to shrug off speed. Practicality is good, too; the 440-litre luggage area has a false floor to stow the charging cables.

What does it cost?

Renault’s simplified battery strategy continues with the Megane E-Tech Electric’s three-tier model family. The Megane E-Tech Electric Evolution is the entry point. Priced from £33,995, standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a nine-inch multimedia touchscreen, a 12.3-inch driver information display cluster, and an Arkamys audio system. There is also wireless smartphone connectivity, a rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, LED headlamps, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Move up to the £35,995 Techno as tested here, and you’ll gain 20-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, a wireless smartphone charger, a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Google navigation and services, steering wheel-mounted regenerative braking paddles, and recycled fabric/plastic-coated fabric seats.

The £37,995 Iconic trim adds a Harman Kardon premium audio system with 12 speakers, a smart rear view mirror, a 360-degree camera and a hands-free parking system, along with a choice of option packs.  

How much does it cost to tax?

Currently, as with all electric vehicles in the UK, all Renault Megane E-Tech Electric models are exempt from VED charges in the first and subsequent years of registration.

For 2024-2025, the Renault electric hatchback has a two per cent Benefit In Kind (BIK) value.

Why does my fleet need one?

Thanks to its handsome looks and comprehensive specification, the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric will appeal to many fleet drivers.

One of the very best new electric cars on the market, it is dynamically and efficiently very capable, and its well-made and stylish interior adds more appeal. For those in need of a  well-equipped and spacious family car, the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric is a very compelling choice.