RE: Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

RE: Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

Friday 29th November

Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy | PH Fleet

Our Megane is let loose on the smooth surfaces of the Lakes - and it revels



If you really want to put Renault Sport’s progress in recent years to the test, is there a better way than asking an owner for their opinion? Having owned six of them in the past four years, it’s fair to say they’ve got under my skin but I still drive the newer models with my eyes wide open.

Matt and I chat almost daily about the latest Clio or Megane we’ve found in the classifieds, and I’ve been impatiently waiting to get the keys from him since HS19 KUB arrived on the fleet. With a trip to the Lake District on the cards, this was my opportunity to see if it could live up to the outgoing Megane 275 Trophy that we both adore so much.

But before the trip, and luckily for me, Matt brought it along to our Oulton Park Saturday Service; a setting where it made plenty of sense. It’s faster, more planted and inspires even greater confidence to push harder than before, yet is more forgiving at the same time. Not as demanding on the driver, but then are any new generation hatches? Matt did highlight that the brakes faded pretty quickly, which is no different to when we pitted the Megane 275 Cup-S against the FK2 Civic Type R at Blyton Park. Nothing some more-focused brake pads, braided lines and high temperature fluid wouldn’t fix, it would have been nice if they’d lasted a bit longer out of the box, though.


Loaded up for the long trek from Kent to the Lakes with my wife, and enough luggage to embarrass a large family, it’s a pleasant place to be for a long drive. The infotainment system is unintuitive and will almost certainly be frustrating on a test drive. Once you’ve got your head around it, it makes a bit more sense but it still feels slower than what it replaced. As a previous Recaro Sportster CS owner, it’s nice to see they’ve swapped the metal framed bolsters for foam, which makes getting in and out a much more pleasant experience. They’re more comfortable for a six-hour drive with the softer materials used too. The satnav was intelligent enough to take us off the motorway to avoid traffic all on its own and the headlights are a night and day improvement, quite literally. Bravo.

But let’s face it, you don’t drive a car like a Renault Sport Megane to the Lake District for a comfortable A to B journey; it’s to make the most of the roads when you’re there. The narrow crumbling roads local to me in Kent proved a bit much for the stiff ride but on the long sweeping smooth tarmac up north, it feels at home. My appetite is whetted on the A684 from Kendal to Sedbergh, winding along the hedgerows with the exhaust crackling furiously.

We were blessed with sunshine to see us north along the Kirkstone Pass to Ullswater; everything feeling so perfectly weighted apart from the awkward manual gearbox. Ironically many people overlook the Renault Sport Clio 200 EDC due to the lack of a manual, but perhaps the EDC could be the better β€˜box in this car after all. Sadly the rest of the week was sopping wet and, what with being on my honeymoon, I had to admit defeat and abandon trips to the Hardknott and Wrynose passes. Bummer.


The Megane didn’t put a foot wrong until I was home from the Lakes and it was time to drive back into London. Not only did the navigation system freeze for a considerable length of time, but the engine switched off entirely in start/stop mode which left me looking a bit stupid when the traffic lights turned green and back to red before I’d been able to get it going again. Twice. Problems you just don’t expect from a brand-new car in 2019. Turns out HS19 KUB likes driving in London even less than I do. I would like to point out my six older Renault’s have been the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned.

Overall a mixed bag, then, and not quite the victory I had hoped for. But I can’t help still feeling fond of it, warts and all. It may not be as entertaining as its older sibling, but to me it looks fantastic, is fun to drive on the right roads and comfortable (enough) when not. Progress is inevitable even if it isn’t always the progress we want, but for me at least, Renault Sport hasn’t lost its mojo just yet.


FACT SHEET
Car:
2019 Renault Sport Megane 300 Trophy
Run by: Matt
On fleet since: June 2019
Mileage: 8,876
List price new: Β£31,835 (price as standard; as tested Β£36,085 comprised of Liquid Yellow paint for Β£1,300, Bose Pack (Bose sound system with seven speakers, digital amp and sub, plus 8.7-inch touchscreen with R-Link 2), for Β£800, Front parking sensors and rear parking camera for Β£400, Visio system (Lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and auto high beam) for Β£250 and Recaro Sports Pack (Renault Sport Recaro seats with red stitching and Alcantara) for Β£1,500)
Last month at a glance: Renault Sport hasn't lost its mojo according to PH's resident fanboy

Previous reports:

Another Trophy triumph?
Brilliant, baffling, bemusing - what next?
The beauty is more than skin deep. Mostly
Nearly tremendous on track

Tempted? Search for an RS Megane here






Author
Discussion

davidc1

Original Poster:

767 posts

110 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
So much competition at this level now. A35 for me please.

Sean207

23 posts

85 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
being a rizla paper away from getting a Meg 265 (but getting a RS Mk1 instead and now having an FK8 Type R), I am glad the Meg RS exists, but I cant help but wonder if it dropped the rear wheel steer it would be a lighter, less twitchy steer....granted it would lose its USP

Pretty anonymous without the liquid yellow paint though....depends what you want of course!

snorkel sucker

2,460 posts

151 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
'you don’t drive a car like a Renault Sport Megane to the Lake District for a comfortable A to B journey'?

Really? I thought part of the appeal of a hot hatch was supposed to be its inherent ability to act as a legitimate and agreeable form of transport in its A to B duties and then, on demand, be fun and engaging when needed.

I'm also completely unconvinced of any excuse why any of these hot hatches need to have an unacceptable ride quality. They are road cars so should be setup to work best in that environment; feels like more often they're setup to work better on track, where they spend just a small proportion of their time (or in some instances, none at all).

lee_erm

827 posts

141 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
I live in the lakes, the roads are far from smooth!

Leftfootwonder

60 posts

6 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
FK8 Civic Type-R for me. Honda got it right striaght out of the box, no need to keep releasing endless slightly tweaked versions that still miss the mark.

Norbury90

6,660 posts

154 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
"I would like to point out my six older Renault’s have been the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned."

Amen! I have had a shocking time with my 5 year old Corsa diesel since I bought it in August as a cheap to run sensible car. Clutch problems, warning lights, limp mode, none of which were present in August. Whereas my 15 year old Clio only needed a new injector in the 75k miles I did in it.

Richspec

138 posts

198 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
lee_erm said:
I live in the lakes, the roads are far from smooth!
Agreed, he just lucked out and picked a decent couple, Hartsides a lot better than it has been for a long time as well. However if the Hardknott and Wrynose section had been attempted then it would have been a different story entirely. I've heard they are really really bad just now.

BenLowden

1,883 posts

125 months

PH Marketing Bloke

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
snorkel sucker said:
'you don’t drive a car like a Renault Sport Megane to the Lake District for a comfortable A to B journey'?

Really? I thought part of the appeal of a hot hatch was supposed to be its inherent ability to act as a legitimate and agreeable form of transport in its A to B duties and then, on demand, be fun and engaging when needed.
The point I was trying to make is it's the car you take to make the most of once you're there, not the motorway journey up. That would be better suited to a barge of some sort. But I did also point out its competency and flaws for the standard A to B too.

lee_erm said:
I live in the lakes, the roads are far from smooth!
I must have got lucky. You should try coming to Kent hehe

Drekly

55 posts

6 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
I reckon the best spec for the Megane RS for road use, having read reviews trashing the ride quality on anything other than smooth tarmac, would be a manual with 300PS and just the normal Sport chassis but with an LSD. Shame you can't buy them like that.

Trickytimes

8 posts

136 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
I had exactly the same problem with the start / stop on my Alpine. Given the shared components it must surely be related.

FA57REN

168 posts

3 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
"The satnav was intelligent enough to take us off the motorway to avoid traffic all on its own "

It was more likely to be thinking "why the hell is he driving an RS Megane on a motorway?" and intervened to end that nonsense.

Owning a hot hatch gives you the opportunity to enjoy the journey, not just the twisty bits at the end. You just have to plan the route accordingly.

nickfrog

10,602 posts

165 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
Sean207 said:
being a rizla paper away from getting a Meg 265 (but getting a RS Mk1 instead and now having an FK8 Type R), I am glad the Meg RS exists, but I cant help but wonder if it dropped the rear wheel steer it would be a lighter, less twitchy steer....granted it would lose its USP
That's a really interesting point particularly on the basis that the weight focused R dropped the system to save 40kgs, although that runs 2 deg of negative camber which one may or may not want on a (mainly) road car.

Personnnaly I really like the 4ws despite the weight penalty. I haven't found the steering twitchy and the main benefit for me is that the car rotates on its axis with less steering angle which helps traction and front lateral grip. This was particularly true on a very wet Snetterton earlier this month.

Jon_S_Rally

665 posts

36 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
It would be awesome if they offered a 'track pack' for people with the regular models, so you got the Ohlins, non-RWS rear end and revised front geometry. Would be mega money I suspect though.

nickfrog

10,602 posts

165 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
Or you could live with the extra 40kg, get the benefit out of it and mod the kinematics. Getting 2 deg like the R will be very cheap when the usual suspects have machined the top mounts. Ohlins should be easy to get too.

lee_erm

827 posts

141 months

Friday 29th November
quotequote all
BenLowden said:
I must have got lucky. You should try coming to Kent hehe
The road you mentioned from Kendal to Sedbergh is a treat. If you find yourself around there again in something fun carry on going a bit to Buttertubs Pass, just watch out for the sheep biggrin

BenLowden

1,883 posts

125 months

PH Marketing Bloke

Saturday 30th November
quotequote all
lee_erm said:
The road you mentioned from Kendal to Sedbergh is a treat. If you find yourself around there again in something fun carry on going a bit to Buttertubs Pass, just watch out for the sheep biggrin
Thanks for the recommendation, will do!

Jon_S_Rally

665 posts

36 months

Monday 2nd December
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
Or you could live with the extra 40kg, get the benefit out of it and mod the kinematics. Getting 2 deg like the R will be very cheap when the usual suspects have machined the top mounts. Ohlins should be easy to get too.
You could, but it would be fun if us normal folk could have a go with Renault's track set up laugh