Renault Megane Hatch 1.6, Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI Review
A Lesson in Golfing

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang
21 Nov 2010
 

Is the third generation Renault Megane good enough to take on the rock solid Volkswagen Golf? Raymond Lai finds out if the VW needs to teach its French competitor a thing or two when it comes to Golfing.

Introduction, styling

While Singapore and most other Asian markets embrace the four-door saloon over the five-door hatchback, it is the opposite in Europe. Europe on the other hand, is predominantly a hatchback market. Most of the top 10 best selling cars there last year are hatchback models like the Peugeot 207, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Fiesta and the Fiat Punto.

The Golf has been Europe's best selling car for the past two years and despite the availability of the booted Jetta here, the five-door model is increasingly growing in acceptance over here. The Golf isn't the only mid-sized European hatchback model available here though - it has to contend with rivals like the Peugeot 308 as well as newer models like the upcoming Opel Astra and the recently launched, third generation Renault Megane hatchback.

We've already discovered what a brilliant hot hatch the hot, three-door Megane Renaultsport is when we test drove it recently so now we need to find out now if the run-of-the-mill five-door 1.6-litre version is good enough to challenge a Golf.

The closest Golf model to the Megane in terms of price and specs is the entry-level 1.2 TSI. With a sticker price of just over $100k, the Golf is significantly dearer than the Megane so we have to find out if the Golf is that much better than the Renault to justify its price premium or can the Renault do the same job as the Golf whilst saving you roughly fourteen grand? Let's find out.

The styling of the latest generation Renault Megane is quite a departure from its predecessor. The old model was well known for its ‘fat backside' rear styling that divided opinions and is very much an acquired taste, but is at least unique and distinctive. Renault's quirky designers have rid the Megane of its previously awkward rear end in its latest iteration. Up front, the Megane features Renault's latest corporate face that we've previously seen on the Laguna. At 4295mm in length, the Megane is actually longer than the 4199mm Golf. There's a bit of the rather unsuccessful Vel Satis executive model along the flanks and the there's still a curvaceous rump at the rear but it is nowhere near as outstanding as its predecessor's. All in all, the new Megane looks more like a conventional family hatchback in the mold of the Golf ironically which doesn't make it stand out that much from the German car like the previous model did. Strong critics might even label the Megane's styling bland and its cause is further not helped by the puny looking alloy wheels that somehow look lost under its sizable wheel arches.

You can call the Golf's styling bland as well or even boring but there's no denying that its buyers love it as it looks discreet and er... just like a Golf. Ever since its first inception in 1974, every subsequent Golf's styling has always harked back to the Giugiaro-penned 36 year old original.

With the upcoming introduction of the GTD, Volkswagen now offers six different variants of the five-door Golf in Singapore. On the outside, you can immediately recognize the 1.2 TSI from its more powerful siblings via its unique 16-inch five-spoke ally wheels and TSI badge on the boot lid. The latter has its three letters all finished in chrome while the 1.4 TSI features a badge with a red ‘I' and the Sport has its ‘S' and ‘I' in red. Other than the abovementioned, the lack of front fog lamps and a single exhaust tip instead of two, the 1.2 TSI looks like its 1.4-litre siblings on the outside.

To describe the Golf as being prettier than the Megane or vice versa is totally up to individual tastes but I have to say that I'd prefer the Golf's rock solid Teutonic looks over the slightly uninspiring looking Megane. Renault is just playing too safe with the five-door Megane's styling after the controversy it had caused with the previous model's ‘swollen' backside.

 


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 105bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 145Nm @ 4250rpm
Power to Weight 87.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 13.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 180 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 4 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type 5 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4295 x 1808 x 1471) mm
Wheelbase 2641 mm
Turning Circle 10.95 metres
Kerb Weight 1205 kg
Boot Capacity 372 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 1197cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 105bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 175Nm @ 1550rpm
Power to Weight 85.2 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 10.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 190 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 17.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type 5 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4199 x 1786 x 1479) mm
Wheelbase 2578 mm
Turning Circle 10.9 metres
Kerb Weight 1233 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L

Brakes