Renault Megane CC
The Renault Megane CC is a so-called "Coupé Cabriolet". That means the car doesn't have a cloth drop top, but a pivoting metal roof construction. The advantage of such a construction is obvious. With the roof closed the Megane CC looks like a coupé and is just as comfortable as a normal Megane.
By simply pressing a button the roof is opened (if necessary this can be done while driving up to a speed of 5 km/h). 21 seconds later the Megane is a true cabriolet. And Renault has learned from the past: the windscreen doesn't go all the way over the occupants heads decreasing the feeling of freedom.
Thanks to the standard "anti-turbulence window" between the rear headrests, the Megane CC is even comfortable with the roof open. Even on the highway people can have a conversation without having to raise their voices. The "Arkamys" audio system (including a well-functioning iPod interface) is extra powerful, so the music can stull be fully enjoyed with the top down. Therefore the Megane CC is also convincing as a convertible.
However ... the versatility does have a downside. While a cloth roof can be folded up into a compact package, a metal roof requires a lot of space in the boot. The luggage compartment needs to be at least as large as the largest part of the roof and that is why the Megane CC looks out of proportion when seen from the side. With the roof up it shows that the boot lid is almost longer than the bonnet.
To make things even worse the front wheels hardly have any overhang, while the rear wheels have a lot. To make space for the roof the wheelbase of the Megane CC has been shortened, which doesn't contribute to dynamic looks. It also makes for very limited space on the back seats. Only when the front seats are move do adults have sufficient legroom in the rear.
To make matters worse, the roof is noticeably heavy. While opening or closing, all weight briefly rests on the rear axle making the car tilt over backwards! Handling makes it obvious that the Megane CC is a very heavy car. Steering itself isn't heavy, but when driving into tight, fast corners the car can easily skid on all four wheels.
Luckily, the standard electronic stability program (ESP) manages to prevent the car from skidding, so safety is never compromised.
The extra weight is also caused by the many torsion beams. With a traditional car the roof is an integral part of the safety cage. With a convertible the doors have been reinforced to make the car just as strong. Despite this, the Megane CC doesn't feel as solid as a traditional car on bad roads.
The performance again reveals that the Megane CC is a real "heavyweight". First the 160 PS / 380 Nm diesel engine was tested. The Megane Estate can also be fitted with this engine, making it a very fast and even exciting company car. This same engine has to work very hard to even propel the Megane CC. The liveliness and sportiness of the Estate are completely lost and in the CC, performance of the "2.0 dCi" is no more than adequate.
The "TCE 130", on the other hand, is highly recommendable. This petrol engine runs with more refinement than the diesel. Next to that the gear ratios match the engine better, so it always revs and is eager to perform.
The downside of this choice is that the car is tiresome on long distances. For example: 62 mph means 3,000 rpm and that is a lot for a car like this. Despite the fact that the TCE 130 has to sweat to perform, it does consume exactly to factory specifications. Renault promises the Megane CC uses 7.3 litres per 100 km, which was exactly matched during this test drive. This is easily done thanks to a shift indicator, which shows the most economical moment to either shift up or down.
Finally: the Megane CC simply isn't an exciting car to drive (the set-up of the suspension is equal to the Megane sedan, not the sporty Megane coupé). This Megane is made to drive calmly so one can fully enjoy the landscape. When weather doesn't permit to do so, the large glass roof still gives a greater feeling of freedom than most other cars.
You're looking for a special car, but at the same time a well-known car? In that case a drop top roadster may be too radical. A special version of an existing family car may be a better option. The Renault Megane CC offers the same technology and safety levels as every other Megane, but not the space. With the roof up, the Megane CC offers all the comfort of a coupé. At the touch of a button this Megane turns into a fine convertible.
Although this means that Renault does live up to all of its promises, the complicated roof construction does have some drawbacks. The most important is that the car is very heavy and than means poor performance and dull handling. That does sound more negative that it actually is, because all coupé cabriolets suffer from overweight. The Renault Megane stands out with more emphasis on comfort, excellent scores in crash tests and an unmistakable French charm.