The French citizen enters the Almost Cars Ring to save the image of onion eaters. Renault Megane II – one of the few French cars that actually function.
Yes, it won’t win any beauty or reliability contests, but the Renault Megane II remains a popular presence on the streets of France and beyond, given that french cars usually stay in France. It’s one of the few French cars that frequently roam Europe’s streets and potholes, with dignity even.
Launched in 2002 to break the mould, the Renault Megane II came with as many stars for safety as available back then and a design to stay relevant for as long as possible. I remember always wanting a Renault Megane II saloon and even today it feels like a it passed the test of time with decent colors. Of course, now all the brainwashed europeans who appreciate german cars will tell me otherwise.
“eeew Megane II. I have a Golf 1.9 TDI and it goes round the world without using an ounce of diesel. You’ve just got a garlicky stick shoved up a mime’s arse.”
On the contrary, unlike the VW Golf, which arrived reliable and now it’s full of issues, the Renault Megane II came with issues straight out of the factory gate and left with them solved. Of course, don’t think the Renault Megane II is the best French thing since Sauvignon, the car being decent and all. Still, it did and does its job decently. However, good to know is that you want to buy the facelift model launched in 2006 that fixed most of the issues. The early models are as shady as the people on dark alleys asking you if you want to buy something.
Renault Megane II Engines
- 1.4 16v of 80 or 98 horsepower – A bit small and expensive for the Renault Megane II. No noticeable issues, no pep, nothing to show for the party. As cheap as a used Megane II is, you can afford more than that. Plus the engine is as old, powerful and stiff as Betty White, having been launched on 4 July 1187, after the Battle of Hattin.
- 1.6 16v of 115 horsepower – A gem of an engine, the naturally aspirated 4 cylinder 1.6 petrol engine proves once again to be the best choice for 2000s hatchbacks. Ford Focus II had a very good 1.6 petrol, Opel Astra H had a very good 1.6 petrol, VW Golf V had a very good 1.6 petrol. A successful engine, well worth buying.
- 2.0 16v of 136 horsepower – Pretty good and fast, but good luck finding a Renault Megane II 2.0 petrol in a world where we knew to say “diesel” before we said “mother”. Watch out for oil consumption which is higher than in other engines.
- 2.0 Turbo “RS” of 225 horsepower – Reserved for the Renault Megane II RS, which is so different it deserves its own article.
- 1.5 dci “K9K” 80, 86, 100 and 106 horsepower – The legendary K9K that’s been bolted on everything from the Logan to the B Class. A very reliable engine, very economical and decent on power. A Renault Megane II 1.5 dci is very likely to get under 4L / 100 kms ( 60 mpg ) extra-urban consumption. One of the best engines in recent history. Beware however that engines up to 90 horsepower use Delphi injectors which are as robust as a Sauvignon soaked wand and go bust in the first 100 meters driven with bad diesel. Over 90 horsepower versions use Continental injectors and those shouldn’t make you sweat. Ah yes, the engine needs regular oil changes otherwise you’ll have issues and it’s a shame to mess with the famous K9K. There are enough cabbies who abuse them and the engines are fine. Don’t be a jellyfish, it shows you have brains.
- 1.9 dci “M9R” 120 and 130 horsepower – Not as mythical as its little brother and not as reliable. Issues encountered with EGR and intake manifold. Remember the engine code because we’ll discuss it on general issues.
- 2.0 dci “M9R” with 150 and 175 hp – An engine that is more likely to be found in the disastrous Laguna, however, it can also be bought in the Renault Megane II. Remember the engine code here too.
General issues Renault Megane II
- For pre-facelift versions, 2002-2006, crickets are reported singing in the dashboard and everything creaks worse than a student’s bed after they’ve finished their exams, gone to the club for 10 beers and come back to the dorm room all fired up. But, like many students who go to the club hoping something will happen for them but come up empty-handed, not all Renault Megane II models suffer from a creaking and shaking interior.
- Everything electric and electronic can and will break down. Check that absolutely all buttons and functions work. Also, moisture collects on the fuse box and it’s good to clean it occasionally.
- Speaking of electrics, special mention should be made of the front windows which have a habit of breaking. Just like a cat climbing up a tall tree, windows can be raised but not lowered. Like a Good Charlotte listener whose spirits can only be lowered, not raised, so are the front windows of the Renault Megane II.
- The car’s ignition card needs to stay away from moisture and care needs to be taken with it. If it has been discharged or if it breaks, the car will not start. What’s more, that card costs about 150 euros, which is almost half the car’s value. Why would the cheese eaters make a normal key? Nooo, why make a normal car, we’d rather have a revolution, a protest, a reflective jacket or something. No matter how hard they try, the French are still French.
- The 1.9 DCI and 2.0 DCI engines code “M9R” send their bolts for a stroll through the engine. That just means sudden engine death, and if you’re speeding when that happens, Vanilla Ice will come out of the glovebox with a sign saying “Bad luck!”.
- Petrol engines are naturally aspirated and like any self-respecting, naturally aspirated petrol engine are spark plugs and coilpacks enthusiasts.
- The Renault Megane II is a headlamp bulb eater, and the bulb changing operation is complicated. Very complicated. So complicated that the whole front assembly has to be removed.
Renault Megane II Verdict
The Renault Megane II is a decent car and an excellent second-hand choice. It breaks the stereotype of the French car that’s made of cast iron and that protests and goes on strike every 100 metres. It doesn’t even have a design that inspires the dubious sexuality of the French. The Renault Megane II is a decent car, well worth putting on your shopping list when looking for a cheap and cheerful saloon or hatchback. And unlike the Peugeot 307 where you can only go for the 90-horsepower 2.0 HDI, here you have plenty of choice on the engine side.
My recommendation? If you’re a petrol fan, the 1.6 petrol engine is cheap to buy and maintain and gives you a decent car. If you’re a diesel fan, the legendary 1.5 dci K9K with over 90 horsepower.