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Renault Megane R.S. Review

heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

Renault Megane
Renault Megane

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Good, but not class-leading"
  • Launched: 2018
  • Hot hatch
  • Petrol

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Rapid performance
  •  Neat, agile handling
  •  Easy to live with

Cons

  • Missing the hard edge of predecessors
  • Cup chassis not standard
  • Dull look of cabin

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Renault Megane RS Front Side View

Overall verdict

Renault Megane RS Front Interior

On the inside

Renault Megane RS Rear View

Driving

Renault Megane RS Car Rim

Cost to run

Renault Megane RS Left Side View

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

Overall verdict

"The Megane Renaultsport has long held a reputation as one of the best front-wheel drive hot hatches. However, its mantle has slipped over the years with no shortage of competition from the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and others such as the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R."

Renault Megane RS Front Side View

Renault reckons this latest Megane R.S. puts the performance version of its family hatch firmly back on the radar of buyers who have been swayed by rival makes.


With that in mind, Renault upped the ante by giving this Megane R.S. a new engine, more tech and improved performance over its predecessor, but all in a versatile package that's a comfortable every day car. So, now the Megane R.S. is a five-door only and retains the same practicality as the standard Megane hatch, a car we really like. There are some big changes under the skin, though. For starters, there's a new engine and this 1.8-litre turbocharged unit has 280PS while the Trophy version boosts that to 300PS.


Renault has also fitted 4Control, which is an intriguing four-wheel steer system designed to increase agility in tight corners and give greater stability at higher speeds. As before, there's the standard chassis or the more hardcore Cup set-up with stiffer suspension and limited slip differential.


It seems Renault has learnt its lesson from the automatic-only Clio R.S and offers the Megane R.S. with a standard six-speed manual, and a very good one at that, alongside an EDC automatic as an option. For our money, we'd always go for the more involving manual.


In standard trim, the Megane is still pretty firm as you'd expect of a hot hatch but far more comfortable than you'd imagine. Much of that is down to a new suspension system which essentially creates what Renault describes as a 'shock absorber within the shock absorber' keeping the tyre in contact with the road for longer to give better grip and control.


Of course, most people will go for the R.S. Trophy model which has much stiffer (although not lower) suspension and as a result a ride that's even firmer than a Hyundai i30N or a Civic Type R. However, it does have more spec and a limited slip differential for better traction.


All versions handle superbly well as you'd expect and there's a lot to be said for the standard 280PS model which we think offers more than enough everyday performance. The steering is responsive and has lots of feel, while the R.S. certainly sounds the part with a lovely deep burble from the exhaust.


The Megane R.S is a strong contender, making this one of the best hot hatches on the market. Would we choose it over the Honda Civic Type R or Hyundai i30N? Not quite, but it has lots of appeal nonetheless and is a car guaranteed always to put a smile on your face.

Renault Megane R.S. 300 EDC First Drive

Is the Renault Megane R.S. right for you?

There is a loyal band of diehard Renault hot hatch fans out there for whom the latest Megane R.S. if just the ticket. However, to enjoy sales success, Renault needs to reach beyond them and pull in drivers who have considerable choice when it comes to fine hot hatches.


To this end, the Megane R.S. broadens its appeal by becoming a little less extreme than it had been in previous incarnations, returning to the idea originally posited by the first Megane 225. It has the same practical cabin as the rest of the Megane range, decent boot space and a lengthy list of standard kit to warrant the prices asked.


Of course, it’s also quick and the turbocharged 1.8-litre engine offers 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, or 5.7 if you choose the 300 version over the 280. It also has plenty of clever tech to make it handle very well, but perhaps what makes the Renault stand out is its ease of use compared to the likes of the Honda Civic Type R or Hyundai i30N. Who would have thought we’d ever say that about a Megane R.S?


What’s the best Renault Megane R.S. model/engine to choose?

One engine, two power outputs is the simple way to describe the Renault Megane R.S. range. The turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol four-cylinder motor comes with a very healthy 280PS in standard form, which is sufficient for 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds regardless of whether you opt for the six-speed manual or automatic six-speeder transmission.


To keep the party faithful happy and take the fight to the Honda Civic Type R, the Trophy model has the wick turned up to 300PS, which knocks 0.1 second off the 0-62mph time. It also feels more urgent in every respect while also having a firmer suspension set-up. The Trophy also gains a limited slip differential as standard and, for this alone, it’s the one we’d have as it helps keep all of that power driving through the front wheels in check. If you do stick with the 280PS model, the Cup chassis pack is worth investing in.

What other cars are similar to the Renault Megane R.S.?

How can we talk about the Renault Megane R.S. without mentioning the Honda Civic Type R, the current enfant terrible of the hot hatch brigade? Fast, great handling, dramatic to look at and equally engaging to drive, the Honda is a great hot hatch and only loses out to the Renault for everyday ease of use.


Hyundai’s i30N is another superb car in this sector and is sensational value for money. It’s also available in the fastback body style, so you have a little more choice in the looks of the Hyundai. You should also look at the Ford Focus ST, which can be had in hatch or estate forms.

Learn more

Renault Megane RS Front Interior

On the inside

Renault Megane RS Rear View

Driving

Renault Megane RS Car Rim

Cost to run

Renault Megane RS Left Side View

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

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