The 2014 Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet still has four seats and it still has an electrically powered hard-top roof, but Renault’s excellent R-Link multimedia system is now available as standard in UK cars, and the front end has had a slight facelift.
We drove the 1.6-litre dCi version in GT Line trim, and found it extremely disappointing. The Megane Coupe Cabriolet’s specifications look fairly good. The 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine develops 130hp at 4,000rpm, and produces 320nm of torque at 1,750rpm. It’ll trot from 0-62mph in a leisurely 10.8 seconds, and although that isn’t sports car quick it indicates that the Megane Coupe Cabriolet is quick enough to get you around town. Yet our experience on the road was a challenging and frustrating drive.
The main reason you’d buy a Renault Megane Cabriolet is to pose while driving around town, yet the car’s engine mitigates against this. It’s way too noisy for a cabriolet and the agricultural chug has something of the tractor about it.
When accelerating, there’s a narrow band between 2,000 and 4,000rpm in which you have a sufficient amount of power available. We wouldn’t expect a wide rev range from a diesel engine, but this narrow band makes it extremely difficult to choose the correct gear. Sometimes we’d change down to third gear from fourth and nothing would happen no matter how hard we pressed on the accelerator pedal. We’d then change down to second, at which point the engine would immediately redline. Occasionally, when coasting in second, the Megane Coupe Cabriolet would threaten to stall way before we’d expect it to.
We also found the brakes to be too unresponsive, even when driving at modest sub-30mph speeds. We found ourselves pressing hard on the brake pedal and hoping that we’d stop in time. We also found ourselves braking out of nervousness, just in case the person in front of us needed to brake because of a hazard we’d spotted ahead.
A high street cruiser such as the Renault Megane Cabriolet should waft through town with minimum effort, not infuriate and terrify.
The steering was suitably light, though, so you should have no trouble manoeuvring the Megane Coupe Cabriolet into a parking space. However, the steering wheel delivered hand-numbing vibration, which would be a real problem for us on a long journey, but provided little feedback from the road.
We found the Megane Coupe Cabriolet’s ride to be too soft, and the car tended to bounce over bumps in the road. There’s a little too much body lean in corners for our liking, but there’s nothing too frightening in the car’s handling. There’s little pleasure to be gained from swinging the Megane Coupe Cabriolet around corners, but that doesn’t matter as this is a car to be driven around town. On a happier note, visibility is much better than we expected.
The Megane Coupe Cabriolet’s interior is fairly basic, but you do get all the essential controls you’d expect, such as automatic lights and wipers, controls for all four electric windows and electric wing mirror controls. We didn’t find the driver’s seat too comfortable, though, and wouldn’t want to make a long journey in it. Although there are four seats, we don’t see how a child, never mind an adult, could have squeezed behind us, and we’re 5ft 8in.
As with all current Renault cars, the highlight of the Megane Coupe Cabriolet’s interior is surely the magnificent R-Link multimedia system, which lets you stream tracks from your phone and navigate to your destination among many other options. Unfortunately, the R-Link monitor is placed too high up on the dashboard where it’s difficult to reach, unlike in the Renault Zoe and Clio, where it’s just to the left of the steering wheel. There’s a joystick next to the handbrake, and this should make navigating the various screens much easier, but it’s too small to use comfortably. The joystick is surrounded by various buttons, and these are large enough, but some of them can be difficult to press when the handbrake’s down.