reset
Viewed : 5,149 times

Recommended Articles

It boasts stylish good looks and ample power, but where the new Renault Megane RS truly delivers is its sharp, direct and responsive handling.

08 Oct 2018


What makes a good hot hatch? Certainly, it must be quick, with a turn of pace when you feel the need to race off from the lights. It must be good-looking, capable of standing out from the crowd.

And yet, it still needs to be practical and be usable daily. In many ways, a hot hatch delivers that fine balance of packing performance and dynamism within a package that you can reasonably use everyday. That probably explains why hot hatches appeal to so many keen drivers.

The new Renault Megane RS steps into a hotly contested hot hatch segment

Looking at what's available on the market right now, there are so many hot hatches to choose from, and they all mostly meet all of those criteria. So how do you choose between them? Well, for our money, we'd look at one quality above all - excitement. 

Right now, there is clearly one car that leads the pack - the brand new Renault Megane RS.

Sleek lights, flowing lines and an F1-style aerodynamic front balde accentuate the car's sporty character

Whoa whoa whoa, hold it right there…

Okay, let's pump the brakes for a moment. We will readily admit that there are so many competent hot hatches in the market right now. On first glances, the Megane RS doesn't scream 'special'. It certainly looks good, with its curvy lines and aggressive race-inspired front bumper, but most hot hatches look quite good anyway.

Get inside, and again it's nothing particularly special. Yes, the steering wheel has alcantara trim, and you get sport bucket seats at the front, and beyond that it's pretty much a standard Renault. There's still a fair amount of tacky plastics used, and the trimming is 'carbon-effect' rather than actual carbon fibre. We'll readily admit that the cabin of a Golf GTI is better to be in.

The R.S. Monitor allows you to keep track of all manner of information, including everything from steering angle to clutch temperature

But, excitement you say? 

Yes, if there's one thing the Megane RS does better than most of the cars in its segment (that we have driven), it's the way it drives.

You may be tempted to look at the numbers and think that the car is fun because of how much power it has. Yes, it pumps out a very impressive 276bhp and 390Nm of torque from its turbocharged 1.8-litre engine, and completes the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.8 seconds. But while plenty fast, that's not the reason the Megane RS is so exciting.

The turbocharged 1.8-litre engine produces a very impressive 276bhp and 390Nm of torque

There's no two ways about it, the Megane RS is easily the best-handling hot hatch we've driven in the past 12 months. There's an immediacy and accuracy about its steering and handling that's slightly mind-blowing.

Turn the wheel and the Megane RS just darts whichever way you want it to go. The way the car just turns and grips is quite sensational. We also like the chunky steering wheel, which offers good amounts of information about what's going on at the front tyres.

This is of course helped by the 4CONTROL four-wheel steering and suspension, with rally-inspired shock absorbers with hydraulic compression stops. These technologies mean that the car delights in being chucked hard into corners. Front-wheel drive hot hatches always tend towards understeer (it's just physics), but there's absolutely not a hint of understeer in the Megane RS at all. It turns so readily and immediately, goading you to go even faster. 

Press and hold the R.S. Drive button and you can immediately access Race mode

The chassis is tight and impeccably balanced, meaning that we could take corners at much greater speeds than we normally would, and all the time the car is composed and unflustered. And when you need to shed speed, the braking system (with Brembo front calipers) does a fantastic job of bringing the car to a stop.

Criticisms? Well, the sound isn't great, especially when you are pottering about at low revs. In Sport mode, there's a low burping sound at low revs that isn't particularly inspiring. And the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, while certainly competent, isn't best-in-class by any stretch of the imagination.

Where the Megane RS shines the brightest is in the way it is able to tackle corners

You could also argue that the Megane RS doesn't settle down as well as a GTI, for example. At low revs, you can almost sense the car grumbling and sulking. It's a car that wants to be let loose, that lives and comes alive above 3,000rpm. And when you do drive it the way it wants to be driven, you are greatly rewarded for it.

Best-in-class? Really? 

Even with those criticisms taken into account, the Megane RS is just so much more exciting and dynamic that anything else in its class that we've driven (though we admittedly haven't driven the FK8 Type R). In Singapore, at least, we reckon the Megane RS is the best front-wheel drive hot hatch your money can buy right now.

The sport bucket seats do a good job of bolstering you as you inevitably go quickly around corners

What makes a good hot hatch? It must have all the necessary ingredients that we've outlined earlier. But what makes a great hot hatch? It's about the way it makes you feel. The positivity and immediacy of its steering is perhaps justification enough, but where the Megane RS really excels is the way it evokes excitement and delight. Driving the Megane RS, we came away excited, breathless and with our hearts beating a little bit harder, in a way that we haven't felt in a hot hatch in quite awhile.

If you are looking for the best-driving hot hatch available in Singapore right now, look no further than the Megane RS

With the Megane RS, Renault has crafted a hot hatch that is decidedly marvellous. And for $163,999 (as of 2 October 2018), we can't imagine why you'd want to buy anything else. 
  • Email
Read more Car Reviews

Car Information

spacer
Renault Megane RS 1.8T TCe (A)
Rate it

Price

: $163,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1798cc

Horsepower

:

206kW (276 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

390 Nm / 2500 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A) EDC

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.8sec

Top Speed

:

255km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.3 km/L

You may also like

1-10 of 20