Renault Megane E-Tech Electric or Nissan Ariya

Renault Megane E-Tech Electric or Nissan Ariya

Megane or Nissan? The all-new Megane is an electric contender – but Nissan, on the same platform, has beaten it to the punch. Here’s how they stack up

All-new Megane: EV for the mainstream

Renault Megane E-Tech Electric

  • That looks absolutely wild! And almost exactly like its concept. Design director Gilles Vidal calls it a pure electric ‘cross-hatchback’. You can see what he’s getting at: chunky presence, big wheels and high nose, but it actually stands only 5cm higher than today’s Megane hatch (and is actually shorter). On sale next year.
  • What’s under the skin? A 40 or 60kWh battery, the latter good for 280 miles of range. It’ll accept the typical 7.4 or 22kW home chargers, but out-and-about it can handle 130kW DC charging. Thermal management cools the battery as you close in on a charger.
  • What makes it special? Renault reckons its target customer is a GTI-lover railing against SUVs and… erm… electrification. So it’s talking up the Megane’s front-drive dynamics: the centre of gravity is 9cm lower than a Zoe’s, there’s a new, quick steering rack and multi-link rear suspension to boost stability and turn-in. It also weighs 1608kg, besting the VW ID.3 by 100+kg.
  • Properly futuristic inside, yeah? Big digital screens, squared-off steering wheel and most fabrics are recyclable. Open-R infotainment uses Google and is seven times faster than Renault’s current system. There’s a fire hatch, too, so emergency services can easily douse the batteries.
  • And the winner is… Renault’s been impressively fastidious with the tiny details of its new electric Megane, and succeeded in making it look near-as-damn-it exactly like the futuristic concept. Usable range, much-improved infotainment and ID.3-besting dynamics? Great, but we’re more excited by the new 5 EV.

Nissan Ariya

  • That looks absolutely wild! Absolutely, even if it’s already been a year since we first saw it. Very much an ID.4 size compared to Renault’s ID.3 rival here, complete with brutalist ‘Vmotion’ grille, glowing Nissan badge and slick turbine wheels. Nissan says it’ll finally be on sale at the end of 2021.
  • What’s under the skin? Nissan proves there’s real flexibility to the platform, offering bigger 63 and 87kWh packs and ‘e-4orce’ all-wheel drive. The thriftiest will do 310 miles and the quickest one sprints 0-62mph a second faster than an ID.4 GTX. Same 130kW DC charging, with 190 miles of range added in half an hour.
  • What’s under the skin? It’s all about the details. Paint is water-based and applied at lower temperatures to reduce CO2 emissions. Boffins at Nissan’s tech centre in Bedfordshire have made adjustments to the car for UK and European roads, the formerly poor NissanConnect app has been given a going over, and e-Pedal is standard, too.
  • Properly futuristic inside, yeah? It’s a mix of Mercedes-like tech with bits of Honda E and Hyundai Ioniq 5 design elements blended together. Touch-sensitive buttons on the dash glow through the panel. Nissan says it’s like sitting in a cafe on a starship. Does that help?
  • And the winner is… It’s the size of a proper family car, quite possibly the best looking Nissan for a long time and can outrun VW’s supposedly performance-tinged ID.4 GTX – what’s not to like? Renault will keep you satisfied in the city, but Nissan’s effectively built a bigger, keener Qashqai. 
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