• Sharp handling
    • Capable engine and throaty exhaust note
    • Utility as a hatch with 4 doors
    • Occasional annoyances with stiff suspension
    • Dated infotainment
    • Resale value
    Not tested

    About the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy

    N P purchased this Renault Megane R.S. Trophy used for $39,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2021. N P would buy this car again because: “The Megane RS is a lively hatch with enough power to keep a smile on your face. It carves corners with some of the best while being practical enough to transport children, dogs and other items too big for a sedan or coupe.

    More engaging than other hot hatches, owning my Megane has been a trouble free experience that puts a smile on my face every time I get in the car.

    Prior to purchasing my Megane I test drove nearly all available hot hatches up to $70,000. While other makes were faster, had a better exhaust, better infotainment or better warranty, I could not pass up the Megane due to how playful and engaging it is on the road.

    The bespoke bodywork and muscular wheel arches made it feel much more special than a Golf GTI/R or a Hyundai i30N. The paint on the Megane is of fantastic quality and in Tonic Orange it is striking in a sea of cars painted a shade rather than a colour.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    Early deliveries of Mk 4 RS 280/300s were only given a three-year warranty in Australia. This was soon increased back to five years after consumer disapproval and mine is still under warranty.

    In 3.5 years of ownership I have had no major issues. A sensor in the exhaust failed and showed ‘check ignition’. The dealership replaced this within two weeks and there have been no issues since.

    There are well known issues with the fuel pump failing. Mine was checked by the dealer and found not to be defective. The battery died after four years which is acceptable in my books. I bought it with 6000km and it currently has 35,000km.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    When considering purchasing this vehicle, I enquired with the original dealership about the length of warranty attached to my car. Shortly after I found out that that dealership contacted the original owner and tried to low ball offer them before I bought it. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy with that dealership.

    My local dealership have been easy to deal with. They also look after our Skoda Octavia RS245. No loan cars for warranty work but a lift to and from home each time and a coffee while waiting.

    In comparison to other hot hatches there are not that many Megane RSs on the roads. Being a rare site makes ownership feel even more special.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    For $39,000 I am quite happy with what the Megane RS offers, especially considering what it would cost post COVID to replace my car with something offering similar performance and utility.

    Before this I owned a 1988 Toyota Celica coupe and a 2005 Ford Focus sedan so stepping into anything new was like going from a Nokia 3310 to an iPhone.

    The Cup version comes with 19-inch black Interlagos wheels, large Brembo brakes, a mechanical LSD and a stiffer chassis. My example also came with an Alcantara interior and Bose sound system. The sound system is good but not as immersive as our Skoda’s Canton system.

    Considering what hot hatches cost now I think that the features of my Megane are well worth the price.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    With 205kW and 390Nm on tap while weighing 1425kg, the Megane is a capable hot hatch. An official 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds is not blistering but is in line with other similarly specced front wheel drive hatches.

    Enough to win the traffic light Grand Prix on most occasions. The real drawcard is its ability to carve corners at speeds in excess of what you would think were safe. Each drive gives a sense of occasion and the car urges you to ‘push’.

    Bi-material performance brakes with red Brembo calipers look the part and provide strong stopping power.

    Lifetime economy is between 8-9L/100km with this dipping to <7L/100km on longer highway trips.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    The digital dash has some good features but is slightly lacking compared to what newer offerings come loaded with. Owners and reviewers have complained about the dated look and feel of the infotainment screen.

    This is mostly centred around the portrait orientation. When I received the car it ran an older version of software that would display CarPlay in landscape. This left large areas of unused screen above and below the CarPlay interface.

    Newer versions of the Megane do not have this issue. I was able to update the software myself. Something that the dealership had not done.

    CarPlay is wired but this isn’t a big issue.

    RS Monitor is entertaining to use and track the current metrics of the car.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The Cup version is stiffer than Sport varieties and you can feel it on the road. Less than perfect roads will transmit every moderate bump to your body and the front wheels can tramline at times. This can make using the infotainment screen difficult and I often find myself anchoring my fingers on the dash to make selections while driving.

    Once you find the right type of road it is immediately obvious as to why the car is setup this way. It really feels at home at speeds in excess of 70km/h where everything about the car just clicks.

    Grip is immense and corners can be tackled at a pace that would otherwise be unaccessible in less aggressively setup cars. There is minimal body roll and the seats provide reassuring support while still being comfortable.

    Four-wheel steering is strange to experience at first and can evoke a sensation of a trolley turning a corner. Once you get used to it the added manoeuvrability at low speed is well appreciated.

    The exhaust is throaty for a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder. There is some slight drone at highway speeds while in sport mode but nothing unbearable while driver long distances.

    The gear shift is slightly notchy and not the best example but feels adequate.

    Some reviewers have noted the Megane to exhibit snap/lift off oversteer, something that I have never found myself but I have flirted with on occasion.

    Rear seats are not suitable for larger adults for long trips but I have installed a forward facing car seat for my toddler and there is a good amount of room for a passenger in front.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    Numbers cannot accurately describe an owner’s appreciation for a car. The Megane has turned me from a motorist into an enthusiast.

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling8.5
    Price & Features8.5
    Performance & Economy9
    Ownership Experience8