Unfortunately, the chassis’ calm is slightly broken in the corners, because Renault has chosen to give the Mégane a steering rack that is very light yet very quick off-centre. This makes it needlessly difficult to steer smoothly or judge the amount of grip left. There is plenty of front-end bite to back up the steering response, but it all feels rather unnatural.
On the plus side, even if you unleash the full 215bhp on the front wheels, there is virtually no torque steer, and while the traction control evidently has its work cut out, it does a reasonable job of controlling the power without impeding progress.
That power output results in a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. Pleasantly brisk for a hatchback, in other words. The drive modes allow you to make the accelerator as mellow or as jumpy as you like, and steering wheel paddles control the level of regen, though there is no true one-pedal mode. Mostly standard EV fare, then.
It’s just a shame that the Mégane doesn’t get anywhere near its quoted 280 miles of range in the real world. Over a few days with the car, we averaged 3.4mpkWh, which equates to around 205 miles of range in practice. That’s slightly less than the Born’s 220 and quite a lot less than the Niro’s 246 real-world miles. The Mégane can charge at 130kW, resulting in a 10-80% charge in half an hour, which is about what we’d expect from a brand-new EV.
The new Renault Mégane starts from £35,995, undercutting the Kia and Cupra, though the base trim level does miss out on most of the fancy new Google tech, as well as adaptive cruise control and front parking sensors. ‘Techno’ trim is the one to go for, and at £38,495, is still slightly cheaper than similarly-equipped rivals, with the notable exception of the MG 4, which is the undisputed value champion.
Decent relative value doesn’t make the Mégane our preferred electric hatchback, though. A year ago, it might have been, because it’s stylish, decently practical for its size, has a good infotainment system and is quite comfortable. But so are its rivals, and those also have more distinguishing handling and crucially, go usefully further on a charge.