New car development budgets may sound huge, but they typically require some compromises - what's spent on styling can't be spent on dynamics, and so on. The challenge of making the numbers stack up is especially hard on mass market products like the Renault Megane, where profit margins are tight and, therefore, what can be spent in making the product stand out even tighter.

So the first thought to cross the mind when looking at this bland new Megane is that maybe it will be brilliant to drive. The hope is that all the money saved by not inventing or evolving a distinctive design language over the previous generation car could instead be pumped into bridging the somewhat yawning chasm between it and the best drivers’ cars in the class.

Renault certainly has plenty of opportunity to get it right; the Megane is sold in a wide variety of flavours, as a hatchback, a coupé, a coupé/cabriolet, a Sport Tourer (estate) and, of course in legendary Renaultsport guise, where the marque has traditionally excelled.

Engines are many and varied, and not all available on every body style.

They include 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0 petrols and 1.5, 1.6,1.9 and 2.0-litre diesels, all in a variety of states of set-up and tune.

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