The team over at Auto Express has had the Renault Megane hatch on their hands for six months. Dawn Grant was behind the wheel, putting the Megane through its paces during more than the standard couple of hours allowed for each review.

At the end of the day, here’s how Grant summed up the new model: “It has proven a great family car over that time, and while I’m excited about what’s coming next, I’m still sad to see the trusty hatchback go.”

Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, so let’s go ahead and jump into the details.

Performance

Grant professed to mostly using the Megane for weekends away, noting that it “came into its own in particular on trips to Dorset and Wiltshire”. Riding smoothly and quietly on the motorway, with adaptive cruise control nicely adjusting speed manually up and down, performance seems to have scored high. Grant even noted that the vehicle felt quite fun to drive through twisty roads, especially with Sport mode activated to firm up the steering and make feedback a little more engaging. For motorways, you just slip to the comfort setting.

Technology

Plenty of features are operated through the 8.7-inch tablet-style R-Link 2 touchscreen, which comes as standard with select top-tier trims. A couple of issues were noted, with the home screen getting a little buggy, but there were easy workarounds. Sat-nav and rear-view camera held up in a similar fashion.

Safety amenities are cutting-edge, with systems including hands-free parking, autonomous emergency braking, 360-degree sensors, blind-spot warning, and the adaptive cruise control function mentioned above.

Particular attention was drawn to the Safe distance warning feature, which switches between green, amber, and red to provide a handy visual reminder about how safe the gap is between yourself and the vehicle ahead. It’s just this sort of feature that may have gone underappreciated during the traditional test drive.

Design

The curvaceous body of the new Renault Megane apparently turned plenty of heads. The i.d. metallic paint played its part, as did 17-inch alloy diamond-cut wheels. “A few strangers even came up to me to comment on the attractive design,” notes Grant.

And sharp body doesn’t mean cramped interior. Even with five adults and plenty of luggage, the Megane felt nice and airy.

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