WHEN Renault released its new-shape Megane five-door hatch in late 2010, the lack of a diesel-powered option seemed like a strange omission.
The previous model was available here with not one but two oil-burning options, and the French brand has long been considered one of the best in the business at diesels.
Well never fear because the company has now unveiled the new Megane diesel, using a modest 1.5-litre unit producing 82kW and 240Nm at 1750Nm, matched exclusively to a slick new Efficient Dual-Clutch (EDC) transmission instead of its petrol sibling’s CVT.
Add to this a lengthy list of standard features, a great warranty, excellent build quality and stylish Euro looks and you have a car that more than holds its own in the small car segment (Australia’s biggest).
Model release date: October 2011
RENAULT took a two-tiered approach to diesel-powered variants of the previous Megane, with a fuel economy-focused sedan variant and high-performance variant of the controversially styled hatch.
The smaller of the two engines was a 1.9-litre common-rail turbo-diesel four-cylinder that produced 96kW of power, with 300Nm of torque when matched to a six-speed manual or 260Nm when paired with the optional four-speed automatic.
The lower-output engine was only available in the less-popular and more prosaic Turkish-sourced sedan version of the car since the French-made hatch would have been too expensive a proposition for the company to justify compared to the $27,990 asking price on the four-door version.
This problem was somewhat rectified in August 2008 when the company introduced the RS dCi 175 hatch, which was one of this country’s first performance-oriented diesel cars.
This oil-burning hot hatch was fitted with a high-output 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, delivering 127kW of power at 3750rpm and 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm.
Driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, the dCi engine shuffled the hatch’s large derriere from zero to 100km/h in 8.3 seconds.