Renault Megane EV60: Electric family hatchback that's ordinary and desirable
LET’S face it, electric mid-size hatchbacks are a pretty mad-looking bunch.
The Volkswagen ID 3 resembles a folded-card model of itself, and has an ultra-plain cabin. The BMW i3 rocks up with clap-hands doors and a tall, narrow shape. The Nissan Leaf is just a bit gawky.
Drive any of them and you’re proclaiming yourself as a left-field early adopter. Which is all very well, but what about people who just want an ordinary but desirable family hatchback?
Well, check out this new Renault Megane. Its styling won’t frighten the horses. Yet it’s electric only. We drove one of the first examples, in France. Deliveries there start in a few weeks but it will be next September before it gets here.
By then, we’ll know whether there will be enough new charging stations to cope with the expected flood of new electric cars on the road.
Whatever, it’s a smart-looking thing. On the inside, the trim is well-made and a bit designerish, without being in any way far-out.
The two big screens are highly configurable. So you can arrange the info as you want – map, consumption and range, music.
In fact, the main screen is big enough to show them all at once, so unlike too many cars, you don’t have to keep swiping between them.
There are also some metal switches for stuff you might grab often, like heating and air-con.
As with many electric cars, the battery is the shape of a paving slab, mounted underneath.
So the floor is flat and there’s lots of storage space in the cabin and boot.
Only one issue. Foot space in the back seat is cramped. So don’t sit back there. Sit in the driver’s seat, where you’ll have a good time.
The Megane will come with a choice of two motors and two battery sizes. I’m in the EV60, the bigger of the two pack sizes, giving 292 miles range, and it has the bigger electric motor option.
The electric drive propels the front wheels, and it’s pretty brisk. Not quite the spice of a hot hatch, but close.
And it’s always instant, remember electric motors don’t have turbo lag or downshifts to wait for.
It turns corners eagerly. The low-slung weight of the battery means it doesn’t lean over. And even though it’s fairly lively to drive, the suspension cushions you nicely.
Of course, it’s quiet too.
Electric cars are really cheap and easy to run, provided you can charge at home. If you can, but you don’t want an oddball car, this could be for you.
KEY FACTS: RENAULT MEGANE EV60
Power: 220hp, 300Nm
0-62mph: 7.4 secs
Top speed: 100mph
Range: 292 miles
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