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Renault MeganeSaturday 14th June 2008
For the last 20 monhs I've been driving a55 plate Renault Megane 1.6 Dynamique VVT. This was a welcome step up from my 1.9 VW Polo diesel (no turbo). Well, that's what I thought.

It's a bigger class of vehicle, a small - adult car. Where the Polo is a "super mini" class. And, with a petrol engine, it is faster, unless going up the hill on the way home - then it's about the same. The Polo had massive torque.

When I first got it I found it very difficult to use the clutch; often jumping along the road when I pulled off, and easy to stall. I was happy to find out that I wasn't the only person to find this - being a company car there were a number of people who had got the exact same come from the same batch. I no longer stall the car, but still have great difficulty to get it to pull off smoothly.

It has lots of nice things, such as automatic lights and windscreen washers. A funny card thing and a Start/Stop button. It is very quiet at 30, and very smooth. I can drive it one fingered. At 70, very noisy as the little engine just can't do it under 3000rpm.

Of course, going from a German VW to a French Renault meant I had to sacrifice reliability:

It started with the rear heated window not heating. This required a complete window replacement.

Then there was a nasty noise from the engine, which refused to go away. Had to have the cam-belt replaced at 13,000 miles. More worryingly, the whole batch seemed to make the same noise.

Then the air-bag warning light kept going on - turned out to be faulty.

The electronics for the indicators packed up. And it came out the garage with the engine management warning light on - that went over the weekend and hasn't come back (probably a faulty bulb).

The steering wheel now will only lock one way, if I turn it the other way, the lock breaks.

There is now a bent bolt hanging suspiciously from the bottom of the front bumper.

All that and it's still under 3 years old. Really enjoyed having that car (as it was very cheap) - just would never buy one. So I've bought a new car... yes, it's German.

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