Renault has given the Megane hatch a significant refresh, including a hybrid model that can run for 31 miles on electric power alone.
The new E-Tech plug-in hybrid can also hit a top speed of over 80mph on pure electric power.
The plug-in powertrain is a first for Renault in this segment and plays a key role in the refresh of the fourth-generation Megane.
The Megane is a key model for Renault, having sold over seven million cars globally and spawning a family of models including hot hatches like the range-topping R.S. Trophy-R which broke records as the famous Nürburgring track last year.
As well as the plug-in hybrid car, the new 2020 Megane models get an improved cabin, changes to spec and the addition of new technology.
The new E-Tech powerplant is the biggest news item in this mid-life refresh. The 160hp plug-in hybrid engine, which can also be found in the new Captur crossover, uses an energy-recovery technology Renault says is drawn directly from its Formula One expertise.
It features two electric motors with a 9.8kWh (400V) battery and an innovative multi-mode clutch-less gearbox, and can officially run for 30 miles in mixed cycle and 40 miles in urban cycle.
Renault says top speed in zero-emission mode can be up to an impressive 84mph. Less than emits 40g/km of CO2 is emitted in mixed (combined) cycle.
You’ll have to look closely to see the external changes to the new model: this are chiefly categorised by new LED headlights.
It’s inside the cabin where you’ll notice bigger changes. There’s a new 9.3-inch touchscreen with a smartphone-style user experience. The previous 7-inch digital speedo has been replaced by a 10-inch screen.
Away from the new hybrid, pure internal combustion powerplants get some new choices, particularly two versions of the Blue dCi 115 engine with improved catalytic reduction technology and new transmission choices.
As with other cars, the creeping advance of semi-autonomous driving continues. The new Megane can take over steering and braking for short periods of time when required – although drivers need to stay in full control of the vehicle and this is no substitute for human intervention.
There’s an impressive new suite of improved driver safety assists and “Level 2” semi-autonomous driving features bundled into the Renault EasyDrive assistance systems.
These include the optional Highway & Traffic Jam Companion which combines adaptive cruise-control (fitted with automatic Stop & Go) with Lane Keep Assist.
Activated between zero and 100mph, the system, featured in all vehicles with EDC automatic transmission, regulates the speed of the vehicle and maintains a safe distance from other vehicles ahead while providing lane centring assistance.
This driver-assistance system is particularly handy during heavy traffic and on motorways, allowing the new Megane to stop and start automatically within three seconds without any action by the driver.
The Active Emergency Braking System is enhanced with pedestrian detection. It warns the driver of a hazardous situation and, if the latter fails to react, can activate the braking system.
Blind Spot Warning (also optional) has been fitted with a new radar sensor technology, with wider reach and better identification of nearby vehicles, even those exiting a car park, regardless of weather conditions.
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist systems have been improved, as has driver drowsiness detection.
Other tweaks come at the hot end of the range, with the performance orientated Megane RS receives engine and driving dynamic tweaks to keep it up to date in the battle with rivals like the Ford Focus ST. The RS Trophy gets enhanced driving dynamics, too.
A new RS Line trim, sitting just below the RS, replaces the old GT Line model.
Prices have yet to be confirmed, and the new cars are expected to be on UK forecourts in about 16 weeks.