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Driven: Renault loads up Megane sedan and wagon

Haul of fame: Renault’s small, sporty Megane GT wagon could gain a cult following in Australia.

Renault to access untapped 35 per cent of small segment with Megane sedan, wagon

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Renault logo6 Jul 2017

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

RENAULT wants to mop up the 35 per cent of Australian small car buyers who go for a sedan or wagon body style with its expanded Megane range, building on sales success achieved by the fourth-generation hatch since it launched here last October.

Year to date, the four-variant Megane hatchback line-up clocked up 636 sales to the end of June, a 26.4 per cent volume increase against the backdrop of a segment that has slumped 4.1 per cent in the same period and an overall market that is all but flatlining with just 0.2 per cent growth.

Speaking at the Megane sedan and wagon launch in Albury-Wodonga this week, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said Renault “hasn’t been playing in 35 per cent of the market since the end of the previous-generation Megane wagon and Fluence sedan,” given sedans and wagons respectively account for 30 per cent and 5.0 per cent of Australian small-segment sales.

The Turkish-built Megane sedan replaces the South Korean-sourced Fluence that was dropped from the Australian range in 2015 after it failed to find significant numbers of buyers in Australia, while the wagon will share the hatchback’s production line in Spain.

Renault Sport’s much-anticipated hot hatch variant will arrive next year following a Frankfurt motor show reveal this September, but Mr Hocevar told GoAuto a convertible is not in the product plan this time around.

He said Renault had previous success in the small segment with retail, business and corporate fleet buyers, so was “therefore specifying our offer to suit those customers”.

Renault Australia corporate communications manager Melissa Cross said the entry-level Zen sedan (priced identically to the equivalent hatch at $27,490 plus on-road costs) is expected to attract business buyers, corporate fleets and “retail buyers looking for a well-specified compact sedan with more than a dash of style and performance”.

On the other hand, the up-spec, sedan-only Intens spec level ($31,990 plus on-roads) is likely to resonate with down-sizers “who want all the latest equipment and technology backed up with an easy-to-live-with package,” according to Ms Cross.

Renault expects Zen wagons ($1000 more than the hatch at $28,490 plus on-roads) to end up in the hands of sample-hauling sales reps, as well as families and those with active lifestyles. The $33,490 GT-Line and $39,490 GT offer equal practicality with sportier looks and, in the case of the GT, higher performance.

Mr Hocevar highlighted Renault’s permanent factory-supported driveaway pricing offer, responding to feedback that customers were researching for the final figure and using it as an opportunity to boost the brand’s competitiveness against rivals such as Volkswagen.

For example, the Zen sedan’s $29,990 driveaway price is $1500 more than the manufacturer’s retail price (MRP), representing a sizeable saving over the usual combination of registration, stamp duty and dealer delivery fees tacked on before tyres can touch tarmac.

On an Intens sedan the driveaway price is $4000 higher than MRP, while the Zen wagon’s driveaway price is $2000 more than MRP and both GT-Line and GT wagons have driveaway prices that are $3000 above MRP.

Renault also provides a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, free roadside assistance for the same duration and capped-price servicing costing $299 for each of the first three scheduled services. Maintenance intervals are some of the market’s longest at 12 months and up to 30,000km, based on in-built engine oil condition monitoring.

At 4630mm in length, the Megane sedan is 269mm longer than the hatch and 4mm longer than the wagon. Both share a 2700mm wheelbase that is extended by 43mm over the hatch and contributes to an extra 37mm of rear legroom, at 216mm.

Both sedan variants have hands-free boot opening, activated by waving a foot under the rear bumper. Cargo capacity is 503 litres with the rear seats up and 987L with them folded.

The wagon’s 580L boot has 146L more space than the hatch, can expand to 1504L with the 60/40 split rear seats folded (257L bigger than the hatch) and can carry loads of up to 2700mm with the front passenger seat also folded flat.

Wagons also have two sub-floor storage compartments, one of which can be used to stow the cargo blind when not in use.

Zen sedan and wagon variants match the standard equipment list of the equivalent hatch, with satellite navigation, a reversing camera, multiple audio connectivity options and an eight-speaker Arkamys stereo all controlled through a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

Automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and an electric park brake are also standard.

Renault’s new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology package, comprising autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beam and assisted parallel, perpendicular and angle parking, can be optioned on the Zen sedan and wagon for $700.

A sunroof, self-dimming interior mirror and illuminated vanity mirror can also be added to the Zen for $1990. These features, and ADAS, are standard on the Intens sedan, GT-Line wagon and GT wagon.

These variants also come standard with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, side parking sensors, a larger 8.7-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen, customisable ambient lighting, rear privacy glass and chrome front sill plates.

With its luxury focus, the Intens sedan has leather upholstery, full-grain Nappa leather trimmed steering wheel, and satin chrome trim on the instruments, air-conditioning vents and centre console. Externally it has LED headlights, 18-inch Grand Tour alloys and a glass roof panel that opens at the front.

The sporty GT-Line wagon interior is identified by black Alcantara upholstery, heated sports front seats and metallic blue trim inserts, providing a similar cabin feel to the more powerful GT, with the effect continuing externally via the body kit and 17-inch Decaro alloy wheels.

A Bose premium audio system and LED headlights can be added to the GT-Line for $1490, while 18-inch Grand Tour alloys can be had for $990. The Bose system deletes the spare wheel, which is replaced by a puncture repair kit.

The performance-oriented GT wagon range-topper includes blue and black Alantara upholstery, launch control and a multi downshift function on the transmission plus four-wheel steering, upgraded brakes and suspension tuned by Renault Sport.

Its performance intent is communicated to other road users via the Renault Sport front bumper, rear diffuser and badging, gloss black honeycomb grille and 18-inch Magny Cours alloy wheels.

The same sunroof upgrade as available on the Zen is offered on the GT for $1990, while a Premium Pack comprising Bose audio and LED headlights costs $1490.

Metallic paint costs $600 on all Megane variants.

Power for the Zen, GT-Line wagon and Intens sedan variants comes from a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine producing 97kW of power and 205Nm of torque, driving the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Official combined fuel consumption for the sedans is 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres, with the Zen and GT-Line wagon both rated at 6.2L/100km compared with 5.6L/100km for the equivalent hatch.

A punchy 1.6-litre turbo-petrol developing 151kW and 280Nm powers the GT, also paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It is slightly more efficient than the GT-Line wagon, on 6.0L/100km, which matches the GT hatch.

Renault specifies 95 or 98 RON premium unleaded for all Megane variants.

2017 Renault Megane pricing*
Sedan
Zen (a)$27,490
Intens (a)$31,990
Wagon
Zen (a)$28,490
GT-Line (a)$33,490
GT (a)$39,490
*Excludes on-road costs

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