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First 100.000 km test-drive in Egypt & Middle East: Renault Megane 1.6 16V: Bon Voyage

As always AUTO ARABIA tries to offer its readers something new and something different. Paired with our aim to develop and improve the motoring media in Egypt and the region we never sit back and relax. On the contrary: We always try to set the bench-mark higher by continuously improving AUTO ARABIA and ourselves in order to get closer to the standard and level of the European car magazines and automotive online platforms. Not only is AUTO ARABIA represented through its Managing Editor as a jury-member in several internationally renowned automotive awards like the International Engine Of The Year Award (London) and the Arabian Car Of The Year Award (Bahrain), but AUTO ARABIA is also organizer of the Egyptian Car Of The Year Award as well as founder and member of the influential Egyptian Automotive Media Council.

By introducing and conducting the first 100.000 km test-drive in Egypt and the Middle East region we are now one step closer to our goal and have surely set up the bench-mark in Middle East even higher now.

Therefore we are proud to announce that AUTO ARABIA is the first magazine and automotive portal in Egypt and the Middle East region to start a 100.000 km long-term test-drive like most of the leading car magazines in Europe and USA do. During these 100.000 km we will keep track of all the regular and un-regular services, write down the opinions of our different editors testing this car and will update our readers with a brief summary in every upcoming issue of Auto Arabia magazine as well as have regular updates on our websites, together with printed comments as well as video-comments and video test-drives, which are also a Middle-East-first for Arabic automotive media.

At the end of the 100.000 km test-drive we will publish a complete summary and round-up about the Renault Megane, including our recommendation if this car is suitable for the road and weather conditions in our region or not and last but not least also evaluate the after-sales service of the importer and dealership.
We will also include reader-letters of Megane-owners sharing with us their experiences with the Renault Megane. And will also share our experiences with the group members of the AUTO ARABIA Facebook group, which proved to be one of the most active and popular groups on the fast-growing and famous Facebook platform.

Some readers will probably ask about the usefulness of such a 100.000 km test-drive as they have never seen or read about such a test in Egypt or the Middle East. Well, it's very easy to explain. First, we will give our readers a full summary about how this car will look like, behave, drive, suffer and last but not least will be worth after 100.000 km. This is a very important and vital recommendation for someone planning to buy such a car. Secondly, such 100.000 km test gives you an indication on how much the car manufacturer himself believes and is confident with his product when he supports and acknowledges such a long-term test-drive. Any manufacturer afraid of such a test has surely something to fear or worry about. This also is a very important indication for someone planning to purchase a new car.

Now back to our Megane. So, how come we decided to use the Megane for this exhausting test-drive?
Due to our high safety concern I decided to start our 100.000 km test-drive series with a car which is affordable, somehow popular in the Middle East and at the same achieved a good EuroNCAP crash-test result. So I ended up choosing the Renault Megane.
Now I only had to choose the engine. I knew the Megane engine line-up ranges from 1.4 litres (80 horsepower) to 2.0 litres (165 hp). The 1.6 petrol and the 1.5 turbo-diesel (which was recently introduced in Egypt) reward a relaxed driving style, as does the 1.9 turbo-diesel which in addition to that provides also an impressive acceleration. The 2.0 petrol has plenty of punch. The face-lift introduced a Megane equipped with a 2.0 diesel 150 hp), which is quiet, smooth and powerful, but expensive. Yeah sure! And at that point I had to wake up from my French MEGAne dreams: We had only limited choices at our Renault dealer in Cairo, which at the end forced us to choose the Made-In-Turkey Megane with 1.6 V16 engine. But at least we chose the 'high-line' version.

100.000 kilometers full of stressful and hectic driving through jammed Cairo streets, on Sinai roads, on the Alexandria desert road on the way to Marina at the North Coast and trips to the El-Mansoura are waiting for our test-drive Megane. That's how the coming months of our long-term test-drive Megane will look like, of which it already did 20.000 km without any big problems, though we did complain from some smaller technical problems. Other 'small but annoying' problems like a rusty noise when opening or closing the electric mirrors displeased us a little bit. We also found the sliding roof making a squeeze noise when opening or closing since the first day. Unfortunately we put our hands on one of the Megane models which were recalled due to problems with the gear-box, but so far nobody from the Egyptian Renault dealer contacted us yet or told us about it. We will just continue driving with the old gear-box software and see what will happen. Another annoying Renault habit is the insensitive braking system. After being very smooth at the beginning the brake pads suddenly snap the brake-disc in the middle of the braking process, which makes is very difficult to find the correct dosing even after driving 20.000 km.

If you are taller then 1.80 cm you might consider the head-space of the driver's seat to small. Other then that the ride is very smooth and comfortable and the electric power steering very easy but with a wide turning circle. Needless to say is that the Megane design is 'très chic' and one of the most popular and well-liked designs in Egypt.

In the next issue we will explain the active and passive safety features which enabled the Megane to win five stars out of five in the EuroNCAP crash-test and describe what we experienced in the next 10.000 km. We will also update you in approximately 10 days about the recent developments, results and actions taken by Renault Egypt and Renault France after a some-how 'unlucky' regular 20.000 km service just taken place a few days ago, which at the end resulted in some 'unexpected' developments of our test-car condition.

By Mohamed Sheta

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Readers Comments:

Ahmed Wahid from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
Dear Mohamed , i need your advise since i want to by the Megan so will i buy it or not


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