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Renault Megane E-Tech 2022: hatch morphs into electric SUV with 470km range

 

The Renault Megane has been the French marque’s small car since the first generation was released in the 90s, but the latest generation has morphed into an electric SUV.


Officially unveiled at the 2021 IAA show in Munich, the 2022 Renault Megane E-Tech eschews its small car past.

Still, the name isn’t everything, and Renault’s Volkswagen ID4 competitor has some rather promising technology onboard. There’s an all-new design inside and out, though the exterior is certainly more conservative than the cabin. 

The headline range figure of 470km should make the Megane E-Tech a suitable candidate for Australia. The marque will open up order books in early 2022, though the new Megane is not confirmed for Australia.

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022-8
The Megane E-Tech takes the form of a small electric SUV.

What is the Megane E-Tech?

The new Megane sits on a bespoke electric platform developed within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance called the CMF-EV

These underpinnings first debuted under the Nissan Ariya and will form the basis of a whole new, electrified model line for Renault’s electric future in what Renault CEO Luca De Meo dubbed “the Renaulution“.

In size terms, the Megane E-Tech is shorter than the current small car, measuring 4,210mm long. The new car is also narrower at 1,770mm (vs. 1,814mm). However, the EV underpinnings allow more efficient packaging, and the E-Tech’s wheelbase is longer at 2,700mm compared to 2,669mm.

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022-2
The new Megane is shorter, but with a longer wheelbase than the piston car it replaces.

Though LED lighting features are eye-catching, the proportions are rather conventional and nothing like the attractive second and third-generation Renault Meganes. But looks are a subjective topic, so we’ll keep our minds open until we’ve seen the E-Tech in the flesh.

What will power the Megane E-Tech?

The CMF-EV platform currently allows several drivetrain configurations with a choice of two battery sizes. Renault has chosen not to offer the bigger 87kWh battery found in the physically larger Nissan Ariya.

Still, the 40kWh battery should give a real-world range of 300km, while the 60kWh pack extends that to a respectable 470km which betters the Ariya (435km). 

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022-6
With 160kW max power, the Megane isn’t going to challenge a Tesla for performance.

The maximum DC fast-charging rate is capped at 130kW, which is somewhat behind the 300kW offered by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, though a charge from 10-80 per cent can still be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Renault hooks the batteries up to new motors that are more powerful than those found in the Zoe, but won’t trouble the Tesla Model Y for acceleration. They also offer adjustable levels of regenerative braking.

The Megane E-Tech stays in line with the level of performance buyers expect from a Renault small car. That means the lower output version produces 96kW and 250Nm while the gruntier option lifts power to 160kW and torque to 300Nm

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022-5
But the power offered should be plenty for its life as an urban runabout.

Renault is yet to confirm if they will make a sporty model to carry the torch of the Megane R.S., perhaps under the Alpine banner, though Luca De Meo is already touting the new Megane’s sporty credentials saying: “we have created it as the GTI of electric vehicles.” 

The Megane E-Tech will be a tech-fest 

Along with the electrification of the Megane nameplate, Renault has revolutionised the cabin design of the new vehicle. A wrap-around digital dash incorporates a 12.3-inch cluster with a 12-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen in the centre.

Renault has redeveloped its R-Link system, the new OpenR Link uses the Android Automotive operating system which should be more user friendly in operation.

RENAULT MEGANE E-TECH ELECTRIC (BCB)
The Megane promises to be spacious and futuristic inside.

Furthering the quirkiness, Renault has chosen to insert an oblong steering wheel while the door handles pop out to meet the driver when the car is unlocked. 

Renault is touting the use of recycled and sustainably sourced materials. On the entry-level Equilibre and mid-spec Techno models, the seats are upholstered in fabric made from recycled plastic.

Meanwhile, the range-topping Iconic (pictured) will get extended organic leather on the dashboard, seats set off with ‘Nuo’ real wood trim on the door cards and intelligent ambient lighting.

How safe is the Renault Megane E-Tech?

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022
Inside Renault has packed plenty of technology and safety features into the new Megane.

Complementing the cabin technology, Renault has been hard at work on the driver assistance systems for the E-Tech. 

The adaptive cruise control works in conjunction with the lane-keep assist, speed sign detection and satellite navigation to automatically adjust the car’s speed. The Megane can detect and adapt to sharp bends, roundabouts and speed limit changes, along with the usual cruise functionality.

Additionally there is blind-spot monitoring, frontal AEB with pedestrian, cyclist and junction functionality, reverse AEB and safe-exit assist.

Renault Megane E-Tech 2022-9
Digital clusters and rear-view mirrors will feature.

Renault’s new automated parking function is supplemented by a 360-degree camera for easy parking. The rear-view mirror has been replaced with a camera, as in the Land Rover Defender, which should allow clearer visibility.

Finally, Renault has addressed concerns with lithium-ion battery fires by using more robust aluminium piping for the cooling system and protecting the battery with its own crash cell.  

How much will the Megane E-Tech cost?

Pricing has not been confirmed for the Megane E-Tech, though it’s expected to start around UK£30,000, which currently equates to AU$55,750.

Renault will begin accepting orders shortly and the Megane E-Tech should arrive in Europe by the second quarter of 2022, with Australian arrival unconfirmed.