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Sleek, Shipshape
Renault Megane Coupe Convertible

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Most people will recognize that the name Renault is synonymous with reliable French automobile and impressive Formula One racecars albeit many will not be able to pronounce it correctly. In Singapore, I used to hear the T sound very prominent at the end when it's supposed to be silent. Fortunately in Dubai, more people are getting it right.

Renault is certainly a much more common sight in the French cobbled streets than in the UAE. For some strange reason, consumers outside of France haven't quite realized how reliable and easy to drive it is. And for the price range of AED 85,000 to AED 95,000 here, it is quite a steal. In fact Renault has to date won several engine awards and their F1 team has won a couple of Drivers', as well as, Constructors' Championships each.

We've recently tested the Megane Coupe Convertible and even managed to try it out with the top down although the weather was getting warmer with the temperatures teasing the 40-degree mark. Surely when you get to test a convertible, you have to have the hood down no matter the cost, which in this case is the heat. Of course luggage has to be carefully stowed to make room for the folded roof, but that aside, the operation is simple and quick. In less than half a minute, the Megane CC looks pretty hot and I don't mean the temperatures this time.

Convertibles seem to be very popular here in Dubai; supposedly because there is so little chance of rain. In tropical cities, you'll need a hood that can go up in 5 seconds as the downpours can be rather sudden and without warning.

The test car was a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, 16-valve machine which, at certain angles, didn't look like a convertible partly because of big overhangs at the front and rear. This is a problem with hardnew top convertibles these days. Designers are instructed to make them look sporty and pretty (sometimes cute even) but the boot has to have ample room to stow the folded top; not an easy feat I'd imagine. Its solid glass roof is light and inside is bright even when the roof is fixed in place. When the roof is raised in swift, scissor-like motion, the already spacious interior looked even more airy.

Renault wants the Megane CC to be a 4-person sporty convertible, which is another difficult feat to achieve. Though spacious for a convertible, large-sized adults will find it hard to fit into the backseats. The body is also a tad bit too heavy for it to accelerate in a speedy fashion. Also, opening the two doors in tight parking spaces was a difficult task since they are rather long and wide and getting into the car after with a pregnant belly proved to be quite a nightmare.

Having said all that, it's a thoroughly enjoyable car to drive with smooth cruising suspension and surprisingly over speed bumps too. It tackles corners brilliantly possibly because of its weight.

The interior is well-appointed with light grey upholstery that looks sleek and shipshape. Both front and rear seats are very comfortable and contoured according to a relaxing sittingbody position, ideal for long stateto- state drives or traffic-stalling streets.


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