I like a bit of a convertible. There is nothing like an open road, the wind in the hair, and the sun on your skin, as long as the day isn’t too hot — or wet.
The Mégane CC convertible is a bit of a mixed bag. The little “roof dance” attracts people every time it is performed, but make sure you have enough room in the rear. When the boot cover swings backwards it needs quite a bit of space.
The Mégane also has the same trouble disguising the ample rear end that all four-seater CCs have. It has to be thick and bulbous in order to hide all that metal and glass which magically disappears. If you don’t like that look then this isn’t the car for you. With the roof up, the acres of heat deflecting glass look very impressive. It’s hard to believe all that glass folds away neatly in around 20 seconds. When it does, you’ll still have about 200L of boot space which is better than some other cars we’ve tested.
The exterior looks good even with the big bum, while the interior is comfy with a slightly retro feel. Although the CC is marketed as a four-seater, two of those seats should be considered emergency seating only.
The 7” touch screen allows a driver to input directly, or via the rotary control between the front seats. The screen is mounted a long way away from the driver on a deep dashboard. it requires an uncomfortable reach forward, and it is not the sort of thing you want to be doing while at 110km/ph. All of the inputs can be done by a toggle arrangement on the centre console which is much easier at speed. Once you learn the buttons you don’t need to take your eyes off the road.
The leather feels decent and the seats comfy. The only beef is the heated seat controls which are on the sides of the plinth the seat is mounted on. To roll the dial to the various settings you must first slide your hand down between the door and the seat and feel around. It is awkward and while there won’t be too many times when we Australians would reach for it, it is hard to use at first. The rotary dial is easily knocked to the “on” position, but you won’t know it until your bum feels like it’s spent the afternoon baking under a Saharan sun.
What you won’t be doing is whipping the Mégane CC through tight corners and mountain passes. That is not her natural habitat. Although Renault has a fabulous manual gearbox, it isn’t available in Australia in the convertible. Instead, we have the CVT which is a gear-less form of automatic. The soft touring suspension lends itself to highways but is a bit scary in tight bends. It is very comfy but doesn’t make for “quick” changes of direction. Everything feels as if it is happening in slow motion and that’s the best way to drive it.
100km/ph is reached in a leisurely 11.7 seconds with the poor 103kw 2L motor. 103kw isn’t normally a problem, but the Mégane is a hefty lassie and has a kerb weight of 1631kgs. I suspect a substantial chunk of that weight is the roof with its glass and folding mechanics. There is a fair amount of flex in the body too, especially with the roof down. You can hear the windows moving against the rubber seals when negotiating driveways etc. It’s not off putting but it doesn’t make for a tight sporty chassis, and I rather like a tight, er, chassis. We all associate sportiness with convertibles, but it is rarely the case.
It took a while but I got used to the steering and handling and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it is a horses-for-courses moment. There is nothing like open-top motoring. You feel part of nature with every smell, every temperature change and every shard of light having a sense of urgency about it.
It was in the city where the CC felt least at home. The lack of power make her feel a bit heavy. You don’t notice it so much on the open road but around town it only adds to the feeling of a car out of it’s depth.
Despite all that, I like the Mégane, but not enough to buy it. It is an awful lot of car for the price. In the price range we have the Toyota 86 and while not a drop-top, is a proper sports car. For a little extra you could have a Golf GTi which blows the Mégane’s doors off. If I absolutely had to have open-top motoring, there’s Golf Cab. It feels light and nippy and is a joy to drive.
Renault Mégane CC: $39,990-$47,790 drive away