Much has been said about the Renault Megane RS on this website, and the big chunk of it revolves around the hot hatch’s superb handling and fun to drive qualities. That’s only natural, since the Megane RS 250 is one heck of a driver’s car, balancing deceptive turbo pace and nice fluidity and poise on B roads.
While we have never failed to mention the hot Megane’s duality of purpose, its ability to perform as a daily driver with acceptable comfort, and the decent practicality in every review, it rarely gets the spotlight. This time however, we take the car out for a stint and focus on these qualities. The car may be a blast on track (as we detailed the last time around), but can we live with it on a daily basis?
My original plan was to whisk my hot date in yellow to a romantic location far away, but like how most of these good intentions end up, the realities of life intervened. No matter, the work, errands and running around meant that I could use the Megane RS in a “real world test” as substitute to my own set of wheels. So I drove it like I owned it (maximising fuel economy is main priority), as opposed to driving like I stole it.
My backpack (laptop and camera) is with me with on every journey, and my normal routine is to open the passenger’s door on the driver’s side to place the bag. Less hassle with the Megane. With the driver’s Recaro set in my position, there’s a sizable gap behind it for my bag, simplifying my getaway routine. I’m sure this isn’t intended as a selling point, but I found it really useful.
Yours truly is in the process of moving house, and I’m doing it gradually, transporting few Tesco boxes at a time. While that small French butt doesn’t look like it can carry much, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and width of the boot. As you can see, it took two of my boxes side-by-side, with room to sandwich in a laptop bag.
Of course, the rear seats can be folded down for more room, or long items. The load lip may be on the high side, but there’s good hatchback practicality here within a sexy shape.
I currently live in Rawang, and the NKVE is my lifeline since everything happens down south. Driving it like I own it means highway cruising between 90-100 km/h most of the time – yes, I am that slow! In sixth gear, the Megane RS does the highway speed limit at a relaxed 2,500 rpm.
Other than tyre roar (European cars generally let in more) the engine is very subdued (no exhaust drone, too), which is an important point for me. Will never understand how people can do extended highway runs on big exhausts that go BOOOORRRRRRRR!
The same highway runs also make me appreciate cruise control, which takes up the buttons on the steering spokes. Where then are the audio buttons? Controls for the stereo and R.S. Monitor (stopwatch with memory function, acceleration timer, g-force meter, turbo pressure, oil temp, torque/power figures, throttle map settings) are clustered into one stubby stalk below the wiper stalk.
There’s a button everywhere you feel, plus a jog dial, which takes some learning, but once you’ve mastered what does what, it’s convenient. The trip computer is controlled with buttons on the wiper stalk tip, so your hands don’t have to leave the wheel.
The Megane RS is a performance hot hatch, so we often harp on yummy stuff such as the Cup chassis, Recaros, LSD and four-pot Brembos, but it’s also rich with amenities one would expect from a premium badged exec.
Auto lights and wipers, bi-Xenons with LED DRLs, tyre pressure monitor, keyless entry with push start, dual-zone air con, stereo with Bluetooth/USB/AUX, wing mirrors with defrost and front/rear parking sensors are all standard. And it’s five-star EuroNCAP rated with front, side and curtain airbags. That’s quite a list, if you ask me.
Are we ignoring the elephant in the room, space for occasional family duty? The Megane RS’ three-door only hatch format may not be ideal for those with ageing parents, but it’s possible. I loaded the Megane with my parents and family for dinner and we managed.
Admittedly, three abreast behind was pushing it a little, but headroom and legroom is passable. Those behind don’t have much of a view out, though. We’re not saying it’s a great family car, but the Megane is more than a two-seater with token rear seats – those things are usable!
Since this is all about living with the car, we did some research on maintenance as well. The Megane RS has a 10,000 km service interval, and the first service costs RM537, the second one RM842 and the 30k km service RM958. This French lady takes in six litres of ELF fully synthetic engine oil per service at RM295, while an oil filter goes for just RM38. We think that these figures are reasonable, and very affordable for anyone buying a car in this price range.
All in all, I did 415.9 km in the Megane RS over a few days and averaged 9.7 litres per 100 km over mixed conditions. Not bad considering the performance on offer, and certainly better than my own ride. As mentioned, I didn’t manage to go anywhere far with the Megane, but colleague Anthony did. Read his account below. For the more exciting aspects of the Megane RS’ repertoire, read our road and track review.
I wasn’t supposed to write about the Megane RS 250 – all I was supposed to do was assist in returning the car, since Danny wasn’t able to. Having picked it up on a Sunday night, I ventured to take the yellow canary out for a tango, since it was an unknown entity to me and I was curious to find out if it was every bit as entertaining as it has been claimed to be.
Firm, even a bit brutish in how it parades it wares, were my first impressions of the car, spent taking in as many lonely roads as possible that very night; after all, it was then or never, given the scheduling. The car seemed happy to be charging along, displaying all the positives said about it to a T. Still, based on that drive alone, there was little to suggest that it’s as good a daily driver as it is a demolition charge on the cheap.
In the end, however, I managed to cover more mileage than Danny did (around 470 km), and in just over a day or so, all brought about by the need to drive up to Ipoh to visit a lawyer about a family-related matter. I decided to utilise the Megane RS for the task, and TCE was happy to oblige by sparing the car a day longer.
I set out keeping to the national speed limit for most of the journey up, and the Megane RS wasn’t too fussy about having to be bridled as such. Granted, it wasn’t the most comfy way to do the run, but the Megane has good temperament and isn’t as jarring as one would think (which is what I’d assumed). Noise levels are decent, with the tyres contributing most of it.
There was even a fair amount of in-town driving managed in Ipoh, and the Megane didn’t feel unwieldy in such conditions, even in heavier traffic conditions. The clutch has workable bite and useful travel, and the car remains nicely tractable and poised at low level speeds, so ambling along is accomplished easily enough.
Five different stops were made, and about the only minus I’d say about it would be it’s not the best to have if you need to hop in and out of it on a continuous basis, the ingress and egress aspects in a coupe being evident. Or just maybe, I’m getting old.
The return trip was done in far faster fashion, taking around an hour and 15 mins point to point. By the time I got back to KL, it had been nine hours since I started out, and I had gotten thoroughly accustomed to the Megane’s ride – it didn’t even feel that firm any more (certainly, the VW Polo GTI’s is firmer).
Blasting along on the return had demanded more attention and focus, but though tired, it wasn’t a case of being completely drained by what turned out to be a very rewarding drive back at speed.
So, to answer the question as posed by Danny, would the Megane RS 250 be able to be used as a daily driver? I’m inclined to believe it can, but then again, I’ve always had an affinity for stick shifters, and don’t have to fight my way through morning madness on an everyday basis. Its ability to behave in composed fashion at low-level speeds does stand it in good stead, for those who have to. Probably not if you’re doing recurring door-to-door deliveries on a daily basis, but for everything else, what a tool.