Renault’s fourth generation Megane family hatchback proved to be a smarter proposition - in more ways than one. If you’re shopping for something Focus or Astra-shaped from the 2016-2020 era, it’ll probably not be one of the first cars you’ll immediately think of, but this MK4 model is clever, sensible and very good looking, with the bold exterior styling matched by the cleverness of the fresh platform that lies beneath. In short, it might surprise you.

The History

Ordinary family cars can no longer be… well, ordinary. People want polish these days, a smarter feel and hi-tech features that make them feel pampered and premium. Which means that in the Focus-sized family hatchback segment with models from the 2016-2020 era, they may find themselves looking at models like this one, Renault’s rejuvenated fourth generation Megane.

Back in 2016 when this MK4 model was first launched, with the French maker’s position as one of Europe’s biggest car makers severely under threat and a slimmed-down range of conventional models forced upon dealers by this brand’s commitment to electric power, it was hard to over-state this Megane’s importance if you happened to run a showroom. Especially as this family hatch had failed to make much of an impact on the market in the third generation guise that sold between 2009 and 2016.

This one had to do better, which was why, for almost the first time in the Megane’s history, a clean sheet approach was taken to its design. Well quite a clean sheet anyway. The new CMF platform, for example, was shared with a car that by 2016 we were already familiar with, Renault’s Kadjar crossover. And the engines were mostly carried over from the previous generation range, though were quickly updated after launch.

Ultimately though, what was important here was that this was a more class-competitive Megane than any previous version we had seen to date. After all, the cabin was completely redesigned, the efficiency figures stack up and an increase in wheelbase freed up some more cabin space. Perhaps most significantly of all, this car looked genuinely desirable, longer and lower than its forgettable predecessor - and certainly more recognisable. All of this was crucial, for in the Golf and Focus family hatchback segment, this Renault had to take on and try and beat some of the very best cars family customers could consider.

The few that wanted more power from a mainstream Megane were kept happy with a 1.6-litre petrol turbo GT Nav model with 4-Wheel Steering; that variant lasted until the Megane R.S. hot hatch was launched in 2017 with a powerful 1.8-litre petrol turbo engine; an even more track-focused ‘’Trophy’ version followed.

In 2018, the mainstream diesel range was updated with a cleaner Blue dCi version of the brand’s 1.5-litre dCi engine. And the 1.2-litre TCe petrol unit was replaced by a 1.3-litre powerplant. The early version of this MK4 Megane sold until the Autumn of 2020, when a facelifted version was launched. Here though, it’s the pre-facelift 2016-2020-era versions we look at as a used buy.

What You Get

This MK4 Megane is certainly distinctive, primarily because of its unusual and rather eye-catching LED front lighting signature. Fortunately though, there’s more to the aesthetics than that, the long, low hunkered-down stance and wide track giving this fourth generation model more dynamic and balanced proportions than we saw on any of its predecessors.

What’ll you notice behind the wheel? Well the answer’s obvious in a top variant – the 8.7-inch ‘portrait’-style centre dash ‘R-Link 2’ touchscreen there to bring a touch of Tesla to this humble family hatch. We’d want it, not least because without this feature, the cabin of this car does look a touch ordinary. With this iPad-like colour display dominating the centre of the dash though, your Megane will feel satisfyingly sophisticated as you poke, pinch and swipe your way through menus for things like Navigation, ‘Phone functions, apps, Multimedia options and a DAB audio system that offers superb sound quality when ordered with either Arkamys or BOSE 3D sound.

What To Look For

Most of the owners we surveyed seemed very happy with this MK4 Megane. There were a few of the usual issues with DPF diesel particulate filters getting clogged up; this might happen if the car you’re looking at has only mainly been used for urban journeys. We did come across a few other issues. In one case, there was a fuel line leak. Renault issued a recall to fix this recurring issue for cars made been September 2018 and June 2019. Some cars made between June 2019 and July 2019 had problems with the catalytic converter that wasn’t filtering NOx gasses properly. There was a recall for this too. Otherwise, it’s just the usual things; check the inside for signs of child damage, inspect the alloy rims for scratches and insist on a full service history.

On The Road

So what’s it like on the move? Well, as ever with a Megane, there’s quite a difference between the sporting Renaultsport-tuned models and the more mainstream variants that most customers choose. These volume versions feature a softer set-up but were improved in this fourth generation model range courtesy of a lighter, stiffer ‘CMF’ chassis.

Under the bonnet, the range is mainly focused on diesel power, primarily the 1.5-litre dCi 110 unit that’s particularly frugal; a 1.5 dCi Megane is capable of 76.4mpg on the combined cycle and 96g/km of CO2 (both NEDC figures). This base diesel powerplant, like the 1.2-litre TCe 130 petrol unit, could also be ordered with Renault’s smooth-shifting EDC automatic transmission if you wanted it. If you want more diesel power, then two further 1.6-litre dCi options are offered, with either 130 or 165bhp.

For the 2018 model year, all these mainstream engines were replaced, the 1.2-litre petrol unit by a 1.3-litre engine and the diesels got superceded by a 1.5-litre Blue DCi unit. And if you want something a little more powerful? Well between 2016 and 2017, Renault offered a GT Nav model with a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine from the Clio R.S. - and 4-Wheel Steering. Other than that, there’s the Megane R.S. hot hatch, which featured a 1.8-litre petrol turbo unit offering 280hp.


True, this may not be the European market leader it was a decade or so ago but it’s a compact family five-door that now ticks an awful lot of boxes. And one that an awful lot of people we think, would rather enjoy owning….