This is the first car I have owned, having only past my test last month, so this won't be an expert review, though I have driven quite a few cars since getting my provisional license 8 years ago! If you want technical details - look elsewhere. If you are considering buying one of these second hand and would like a general opinion on owning one, read on.
The car I am reviewing is a 1998 renault Megane Sport 1.6
After spotting this car in our local free ads paper for £695 ( a little over my £600 budget) I had decided it was worth a look, even though the engine was a little bigger than I, as a new driver, was looking for. The reason I chose to view this car was mainly the size - as a pregnant mum of two young children I really needed a 5 door car, one big enough to fit the kids, pushchairs and shopping that I will be ferrying from place to place. A peugeot 106 for example, was rather out of the question.
One of the first things that struck me about this car, before I even bought it, was how reasonable it was to insure. I called for a quote first as there was no point me going to look at a car I can't afford to insure! I am lucky that although I have only just passed my test, I am a married woman of 24 so not as high risk as many new drivers, but still the quote I was given was comparable to ones smallers cars I had gotten quotes for and so I was pleasantly surprised.
On viewing the car I was struck by how smart it looks (I didn't know what one looked like until then) and how it manages to look quite sporty and coupe-like while still being a sensible family car. For my budget I was expecting a less classy looking car so I am really pleased I got this, it looks good. The only problem I have with the appearance is the spoiler, while it may look ok from the outside, it's in a funny place and I find it annoying to look at in my rear view mirror!
The boot is a reasonable size, I managed to fit a double pushchair in it AND shopping!
One of my favourite features of this car is that all 3 rear seat belts are 3 point (no lap belt) which when taking children in the car is very important.
The Renault Megane sport has an electric sunroof (which to me seems really posh for a car!) and electric front windows as well as a drivers airbag, remote central locking and alloy wheels.
The 1998 model comes with a radio cassete player, however I cannot comment on that as mine is locked by pin.
This is a really smooth car to drive, I find the gear box easy to get on with (unlike my husband's peugeot) and the steering is accurate and easy to control if a little light feeling at times. It doesn't go really fast but it will accelerate fairly quickly and that's enough for me as I don't speed, I just like to be able to get going.
The lights and wipers are easy enough to operate when you get used to them.
My father in law serviced this when I bought it and can confirm it is easy to work on and the parts are not too expensive. I have to say I did in fact manage to buy and fit my own wiper blades without any trouble!
This car is cheap to run, I get about 500 miles from a tank which I think is pretty good, though I do drive economically.
The only real gripes I have with this car are minor -
The rear de-mist button and hazard light button aren't visable to most people when they drive this car as the steering wheel gets in the way.
I can't see the top icons on my dash display unless I lean down, but I am tall.
The adjustable steering wheel, while it's great to have the option, only has 2 settings, both of which are a little low for me.
There's no vanilty mirror for the driver.
As you can see, these are silly little things and not something that would put any one off buying the car.
I really recommend this car, I absolutely love it and it is, surprisingly, big enough for a family while being small enough to be cheap for a new driver to insure.
First things first. I've owned three Renaults to date (Clio, Laguna, and now the Megane) and liked all of them, but the Megane is by far my favourite. This class of small family car is a hotly contested area, and most of the manufacturers end up producing multiple models, with a wide array of kit levels. Visually I like the look of this car, it is aggressive without being over-the-top-boy-racer-style. Inside the style is continued with a swooping matte grey dashboard hiding the black on white dials the come with the 'Sport' kit. The alloy wheels, spoiler and electric sunroof are also part of this kit, and give the car a nice sporty edge. The kit level is excellent, remote control stalk for the CD player, air conditioning, and sports seats make it a comfortable car to live with. It is very easy to get into a comfortable driving position with fully adjustable driving seat, and steering wheel. The pedals are slightly offset to the left, but the now common, left foot rest sits nicely under foot. Engine wise, the 1.6 is tidy and efficient (onboard trip computer shows a steady 41 MPG), but needs to be worked a little to around the 3000 RPM mark to really get some performance from it. On long journeys you will probably find yourself sitting at around 85 mph to get rid of the engine whine which is unpleasant at around 70 mph. Two other minor irritations: the sunroof has trouble closing from tilt position when you are driving at motorway speeds, and the rear spoiler makes changing the rear wiper blade very tricky. Overall this is a competent, comfortable car, which good looks, reliability, efficiency and a few neat touches that set it apart from some of the other cars in the class. Parts can be more expensive, but this is balanced by the fuel economy. If you are looking for a small family car with good drivability, it's a reliable choice. If you can I would go for a 1.8 model to get a bit mo
re oomph, but the 1.6 is ideal for the 'around town' driver.