Renault now have a plug-in model in their Megane range & it’s called the E-Tech Plug-In. We really liked the petrol Megane Sport Tourer, not least because the boot’s big enough to load up a mountain bike. But, the plug-in version loses some useful boot space & also costs £7,500 more. to buy than the standard petrol version, so who does this clever car really appeal to ?
The newly introduced E-TECH Plug-in is a six-speed auto which combines a 1.6 litre petrol engine with a 9.8kWh battery, combining 160bhp with 118kWh of electric power. Top speed is 111 mph with 62mph reached in 9.8 seconds.
In line with Renault’s familiar EasyLife trim line-up, standard Megane Tourer is available in three guises: Play, Iconic & S Edition. However, the E-Tech is only offered from Iconic trim & costs from £30,995. This then is very much a company car contender, rather than a retail car, coming as it does with just 10% BIK.
Step inside & the interior is almost identical to the one you’ll find in the standard Captur. So S Edition gets the 9.3″ portrait touchscreen set-up, a system that’s very good to look at & simple to use.
The physical climate controls are located underneath the touch screen which is a sensible decision. As far as quality goes, the dashboard & door fittings are finished in soft-touch grey & black plastics, which are a little bland on the eye, but look & feel hard wearing to the touch.
Standard Iconic equipment includes Renault’s Visiosystem, a group of safety functions such as Lane Departure Warning. Traffic Sign Recognition & automatic high / low beam. Plus you also get 16″ alloys, front & rear parking sensors, cruise control with sped limiter, an electronic parking brake, Hill Start Assist, a leather steering wheel & LED daytime running lights.
For comfort & convenience, there’s tabloid centrally located 7″ touchscreen, a handsfree keycard with push-button start/stop function, SatNav, DAB, 2 USB’s, Apple Car Play & Android Auto, automatic Dual zone climate control & electric front & rear windows. Connecting to AppleCar Play was simple.
The main internal difference between a petrol Megane & the plug-in version, is that the the automatic gear lever features the addition of the regenerative braking B, which is located next to Drive in the gearbox, plus on board, you get Type 2 & 3pin charging cables & an EV button to activate ‘PURE’ electric mode.
There’s an average sized glove box, two largish front door pockets, storage under the adjustable centre armrest, a spot for your key card & a couple of drinks holders. The cabins pretty spacious, certainly for four adults, but the centre rear seats only large enough for a young teen at best.
Whilst the petrol Megane Tourer offers a very useful 536 litres of boot space, the E-Tech’s boot space of 447 litres, is 116 litres smaller, due to the hybrid kit under the rear seats & boot floor. Having said that, we used the Tourer to move our daughter with clothes, shoes furniture etc.. to London from Cheshire & whilst it was a tight squeeze, managed to get 3 adults & everything in. There’s actually some useful storage space under the boot floor & to the right side of the boot, a hidden compartment, which was bonus. Fold down the rear seats & 1408 litres offered.
Standard safety features across the Megane range include Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist & Traffic Sign Recognition. Speed Alert is also included, as is cruise control with a speed limiter function. An Active Emergency Braking System is standard which is bolstered by the latest cyclist & pedestrian detection functionality.
All of the things that make the petrol Megane Tourer good to drive, are also present in the E-Tech, namely precise steering & soft suspension. Only the ride is different & you’ve guessed it, the battery is the culprit. It adds extra weight, being 249kg heavier than a normal petrol auto & this tends to make the car feel out bumps in the road rather than smooth these out. And, overall, it’s just not as much fun to drive.
The 6-speed auto box is a little jerky from a standing start & the power comes in a steady flow. As with similar plug-ins, its best to let the car choose when’s best to utilise the EV mode. although you can drive in pure EV mode if you want to. Do this & the charge runs down quickly. Let the E-Tech do it’s work & you’l find it will only choose EV mode at slower speeds, thereby retaining the car’s EV range for much longer.
Utilising the Tourer’s Cruise Control, our 200 mile round trip in day to Clapham & back, was a doddle, making motorway progress relaxing & enjoyable. At steady motorway speeds you’re using the petrol engine, which is incredibly quiet. We found that 50mpg was infinitely possible at speeds of 70 mph or so.
By driving in ECO mode, which to be fair does dull the fun a little & by utilising the B regenerative braking function, every time you take your foot of the accelerator to slow down, the battery recharges.
In town, or if driving in slower moving traffic, you can can really utilise the regenerative function. In our real world testing, we were getting a pure electric range of 22 miles. Combine this EV range to our 50mpg motorway economy & we were comfortably averaging over 70mpg on the combined cycle. This information can be accessed from the Car Info on the tablet touchscreen & offers an interesting reveal of how you drive your car. In my case, poorly !
With an asking price of £30,995, we don’t believe that the Megane Tourer E-Tech is a sensible retail offering, when an Iconic petrol version costs £23,500. And, thanks to the additional batteries on board, boot space & ride quality are compromised.
On the flip side, the E Tech’s BIK of just 10%, is a full 21% lower than the standard petrol version. Plus, a realistic combined economy of 70 mpg in the E Tech, sits at least 25mpg higher than what you’d expect to get in the petrol-only version & 15 mpg higher than any diesel version, with the diesel attracting 32% BIK.
Where Renault’s full electric ZOE has led the way with electric cars, the new plug-in Renaults, the Megane Tourer included, offer a good half-way-house to those who aren’t ready, or able to go fully electric. It also benefits from Renault’s 5-year/100,00 mile warranty. And, the E-Tech is now available in the Megane hatch, which increases customer choice.
In our opinion, bar far the most attractive proposition, is the tempting BIK rates of 10% for company car drivers & fleet managers alike. This sis avery sensible company car choice.
If you’re a company car driver 3.75/5
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol + e-motor
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Top speed: 111mph
Economy: Claimed.217.3mpg . In our real world test 70.1mpg