Ahead of its much anticipated world debut at the Paris Motor Show next week, Renault has released UK pricing for its stylish New Megane Hatch range, with ordering due to open on 2nd October 2008. With prices starting from £13,995, the chic and sporty newcomer has been priced aggressively to take on perennial rivals such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf.

  • New Megane Hatch range launches with 11 versions across three trim levels: Expression, Dynamique and Privilège, priced from £13,995 to £18,795
  • New Megane Hatch 1.6 Dynamique offers significantly better value than key rival, Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec
  • High standard equipment levels include air conditioning, ESP with ASR (Anti-Skid Regulation) and CSV understeer control, six airbags, electric heated body coloured door mirrors and front and rear electric windows
  • Raft of new equipment including Arkamys 3D sound system, dual zone climate control, plus a wide range of options and styling accessories. Among them are full bodykit, five options packs and individual options such as leather upholstery, heated front seats and panoramic sunroof
  • Six engines at launch: three petrol -1.6 VVT 100, 1.6 VVT 110 and 2.0 TCe 180, three diesel -1.5 dCi 86, 1.5 dCi 106 and 1.9 dCi 130. More developments to follow in 2009
  • Further Megane family variants to join the line-up in 2009, including striking Megane Coupe in late January 2009
  • New Megane Hatch available to order from 2nd October, with launch on 26th November 2008

At launch, three trim levels will be available: Expression, Dynamique and Privilège, priced from £13,995 to £18,795. The new range features an impressive equipment list as standard, with a significant amount of comfort and technology features which are otherwise considered costly optional extras amongst much of the competition.

Standard kit includes air conditioning, six airbags, electric heated body coloured door mirrors and front and rear electric windows.

Also taken to the next level on New Megane is safety, with ESP with ASR (Anti-Skid Regulation) and CSV understeer control standard on every model, along with six airbags, of which the driver and front passenger are now two-stage auto-adaptive, allowing them to work in harmony with the size and weight of both occupants. New larger lateral airbags are also incorporated into the new five-door’s design to protect the thorax region, along with Renault’s latest generation headrests. For the latter, the fixation rods slide within the headrest and no longer within the upper part of the seatback and ensure enhanced protection of the cervical vertebrae in case of impact from the rear. In addition, since the rods no longer form a rigid element in the seatback, the occupant’s back can sink into the seatback until their head comes into contact with the headrest, resulting in less movement of the head and thorax.

Looking at the three trim levels in detail, the entry-level Expression offers: 4x15W RDS radio CD, air conditioning, Brake Assist, electric heated body coloured door mirrors, height adjustable driver’s seat, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, Keyless car with Renault card and trip computer.

Moving up the range to the likely best-seller, Dynamique, the comprehensive equipment tally takes account of a sportier angle, adding: 16″ ‘Sport’ alloy wheels (17″ for 2.0 TCe 180), 4x15W RDS radio CD with Bluetooth and multi-function TunePoint, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, Hands free Renault card, height adjustable passenger seat, leather steering wheel and front fog lights.

Compared to its most likely nemesis, the Ford Focus, the New Megane leaves it trailing in its wake, arguably not just in how it looks, but also in terms of its price and equipment.

For example, on a like-for-like comparison for core models, at £15,845, the blue oval’s Focus Zetec 1.6 Duratec, is already at a £600 disadvantage to the Megane Dynamique 1.6 at £15,245, even before taking into account its sparser equipment level compared to its keenly priced French rival. Such apparent luxuries conspicuous by their absence on the Focus equipment list include automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and rear electric windows, all equating to well over £500 worth of equipment and a sizeable £1,100 premium once the purchase price is also taken into account. Adding insult to injury for the Ford best-seller, the svelte French newcomer also happens to be significantly more powerful, with a 10hp advantage and a six-speed gearbox as standard.

In a sector keenly contested for fleet customers especially, higher mileage drivers will no doubt appreciate and benefit from the wealth of additional features on the Renault when it comes to everyday driving.

In terms of engines, as the sport-oriented model in the range, Dynamique trim gains the potent new 2.0 TCe 180 engine and the highest power diesel at launch, 1.9 dCi 130.

In keeping with the current trend of more fuel efficient petrol-engines based on the use of small turbos, the latest Renault TCe (Turbo Control Efficiency) powerplant builds on the success of the current 1.2 TCe 100, offering remarkable performance and refinement, with low emissions and high fuel economy. The 2.0 TCe 180 delivers torque of 300Nm at 2,250rpm and CO2 emissions of 178 grams per kilometre. Later in the model’s life, New Megane will receive the 1.4 TCe 130 engine to complete the new petrol engine family to emulate the success of the company’s award-winning dCi diesel range.

Elsewhere in the range, the 1.6 VVT 100 5-speed is reserved for Expression only, while all three of the diesel engines (86, 106 and 130hp) are eco-friendly, forming part of Renault’s eco² range. Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard across the range with the exception of the Expression 1.6 VVT 100 and 1.5 dCi 86 which are five-speed. Automatic versions follow in Spring 2009.

Completing the five-door range with a luxurious touch is Privilège, offering: 16″ ‘Spirale’ alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, electrically operated folding door mirrors, electrochome rear view mirror, rear armrest with storage and rear parking sensors.

As well as its ample equipment list, the New Megane Hatch range offers ample opportunity to tailor versions to individual tastes through a broad range of options:

£840 Arkamys ‘3D’ Sound 4x30W RDS radio CD with Bluetooth and mutli-functional TunePoint (for USB keys and portable music players)
£250 Cruise control and speed limiter
£400 Dual zone climate control (Dynamique only in lieu of air conditioning)
£100 Extra tinted rear and side windows
£180 Front fog lights
£200 Heated front seats
£900 Leather upholstery (beige or carbon depending on version)
£375 Metallic paint
£600 Panoramic sunroof
£300 Rear parking sensors
£1,600 Satellite navigation – full colour 2D screen with 3D sound 4x30W RDS radio CD with Bluetooth

Five cost-effective option packs are also available:

£1,000 Technology (4x15W radio CD with Bluetooth and multi-functional Tune Point, rear parking sensors, cruise control and panoramic sunroof)
£500 Hands Free (Hands Free Renault card and electrically operated folding heated door mirrors)
£460 Climate (climate control with automatic lights and wipers)
£800 Sunroof Plus (panoramic sunroof and Hands Free Renault card)
£650 Xenon (Xenon headlights with headlight wash)

To enhance the already svelte lines of the new Hatch, four styling accessory options are also available at launch: £1,350 Sport Styling Pack (front rear and side skirts, rear sport spoiler, Megane Coupe-style silver front grille trims), £985 Body Kit (front, rear and side skirts), £150 silver front grille trims and £325 rear spoiler.