Megane 225 - new owner's review
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  1. #1
    NFG
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    Icon14 Megane 225 - new owner's review

    So my Megane 225 finally arrived, and it's in my garage. I've put 700km on it in less than a week, and I love it to bits so far. Here's my mini-review:

    My Renault background goes back to the early 70s when, as a baby and child, my dad worked at and then owned a Renault (and European) specialty repair shop. We always had Renaults. My dad tells the story of calling Renault in Vancouver, asking for a front bumper, fender, hood and door for a brand new, just-released only-one-in-the-region Renault 5 'cause he went ice-racing in it and stuffed it into a snowbank. Always driven Renaults. Love 'em, we do.

    Got my first R5 when I got my driver's license. Drove the crap out of it, on the highway at a whopping 140km/h, around corners so hard the body would twist and the rear windows would shatter from the tension. We used to take it up into the mountains into the four-wheel-drive trails and drive around all night looking for new things.

    After a few R5s I graduated into an Alliance GTA, which was fast enough at the time and did a whopping .89g in the corners, which I tested more or less daily.

    And then my baby, my pride and joy, a 1989 R5 GTE, rare even in Europe, rarer still in North America where car imports are basically completely forbidden. Some Romanian immigrated with it as 'personal effects', and found a sympathetic ear at the gov't run insurance company that registered it as a 1987 Encore. My dad sees this car in Vancouver, runs around until he finds the guy who owns it, and gets to know him. Few months later guy calls up - he's crashed it, can't afford the time to get it repaired, would we swap my mom's GTA for the wreck? Cue much body work and a massive order of parts from the UK and we're on the road. Few years later my dad moves home to .au and the car is passed to me. I drove it for half a decade, and it was the very best car ever made. Fast, stiff, comfortable. When I moved it was one of two things I wished I didn't have to leave behind.

    Anyway, after a few years in Japan I settled on Australia as a place to move to 'cause, among other things, you guys speak a variant of English and you have Renault. And the Megane.

    So here I am! With a Megane.

    It's bloody great, really. Fast like nothing else, corners like it's on rails, and is supremely comfortable.

    The seats aren't as comfortable as the GTE, they're a bit stiffer and don't have the same deep sides that gripped you so securely like the GTE. The shifter took a while to get used to, I kept going from first to fourth instead of second, and when I wanted to go from sixth or fifth to fourth I'd always go into sixth instead. I reckon it's a side effect of having the shifter on the wrong side. I'm used to it now, though I still have a bit of trouble getting going smoothly in first gear.

    The headlights aren't very bright, really Thought it was odd they had a range of about ten meters until I found the adjustment wheel to set 'em back up right. Needs a set of driving lights I think. The interior lights are all very nice, and the instruments look great in the dark. The stereo controls near the windshield wipers are great, once I remember they're there.

    I wonder how hard it would have been to put the turn signal (indicator) lever on the right side of the bloody wheel? I finally get used to driving on the wrong side of the damned road and I buy a car with a backwards set of levers. ANd it's tricky having to activate the indicators and shift with the same hand. Drives me a bit crazy, actually, though I'm getting used to it.

    The stereo's nice enough, lacks the low-end solidity of the surprisingly awesome Toyota Spacio I drove in Japan though. And the damned thing hates CDRs, 50% of my discs skip, dunno why. And no aux input, my poor MP3 player thinks I've disowned it. Haven't worked out some of the features yet - itraffic and isomething-else, dunno what they do.

    I can't quite get used to the lack of visibility. Especially compared to the GTE which was basically a fishbowl to drive. The Megane's got some always-in-the-way pillars when you get into the twisty bits, and the rear visibility is a neck-snapping bit of fractured vision, a bit like a 3-lens insect eye, always trying to put together an accurate view from three pieces.

    The car corners fantastically, though it definitely has a preference for straight lines. I'm not as comfortable doing high-speed turns as I was in the GTE, which was a real devil in the turns. But it's fast, wow. The Megane's so fdamned fast it frightens me. A nice healthy fear of the speed, especially in ticket-happy Australia, should keep me safe and on the road. And the speed limiter - a seriously good idea, it's saved my ass twice so far.

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    One concern I have is all this soft rubber coating on all the surfaces. That stuff does NOT age well. No matter how good it feels now, in a couple of years it'll be a sticky horror, like my old MD player, my computer mouse... Let's hope Renault used a better quality material!

    Air conditioner's a bit weak, and I think I'll go get the windows tinted before I scratch all the windows up. You guys live under a different sun, you're all mad for putting up with it, really.

    More reports as events warrant. =)

    A small gallery
    Last edited by NFG; 3rd October 2005 at 11:21 PM.

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Europa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review, very interesting!

    In your gallery, Photo 2, is that a Megane I see parked in a driveway down the street (on the right?)
    '05 Pearl Black Mégane 5-Door LXR(Daily Driver), '75 Trak Yellow R16TSA (Parts Car), '74 Midnight Blue R17TS (Rebuilding), '73 457 Blue R17TL (Parts Car), '72 Alpine White R16TL (Retired), '69 Sunburst Brown R16TS (Awaiting Rebuild), '68 "Appliance White" Europa (Stored)

  3. #3
    NFG
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    There are no other Meganes in the picture. It'd be quite a shock to have more than one Megane in the neighborhood - as it is I'm surprised I see one more in the entire suburb now and then.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger!
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    nice colour. I saw an Arctic Blue 225 for the first time a few weeks ago andd I reckon it brings out the shape very nicely. better than a black or silver.

    that car on the right looks like a current Pulsar hatch.

  5. #5
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    Great looking car very euro styling hope you are happy with it.

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