Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
10:02 AM 26th September 2020

Renault’s Charge To Full Electrification

Like most manufacturers, Renault is introducing an increasing number of hybrid cars, some with the ability to plug in. Renault is better placed than most to do this as it has offered a variety of fully electric cars for some time. It has been ahead of the game.

So, what is new? At a recent media drive day, I had the chance to find out!

Renault Clio E-TECH Hybrid

The Clio has been a popular car in the UK since it first appeared way back in 1990. It is the best-selling B-segment car so far this year in Europe, racking up 102,949 sales.

The current model has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating, good news for those seeking a safe family hatch to transport their loved ones.

The new hybrid version pairs two electric motors with a 1.6-litre petrol engine. The figures look extremely attractive:

Power - 140hp
Emissions – 98g/km CO2
Economy – 64.2mpg
22% BIK
£125 VED
0-62mph in 9.9 seconds

The lithium-ion battery is cleverly packaged so as not to compromise passenger space and when it is full, pressing the EV button allows periods of 100% electric drive. If you are not in a rush, selecting Eco mode alters the accelerator and adapts the gear changes to improve economy. It is ideal for pottering around town, with either Sport or MySense modes better when free from the urban environment.

The latest Clio boasts an all-new ‘Smart Cockpit’ which will delight the techies amongst us. Regular instruments are displayed on a 10-inch customisable display, with many of the car’s functions controlled by a 9.3-inch multimedia screen. It works well enough once you have acclimatized.

To drive, the Clio Hybrid is undemanding with a comfortable ride, safe and secure handling and a well-insulated cabin.

Prices start from £21,595 OTR with customer deliveries starting any day.

Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid

We seem to have fallen out of love with the estate car, once staple family transport. Renault has sold around 24,000 Megane Sport Tourers since 2004 and the attractively styled current model deserves to do well. It is spacious, practical and refined, but I suspect UK buyers will overlook it in favour of an SUV.

The plug-in hybrid version I briefly tested should suit the lower mileage driver with the facility to charge at home. Buyers will be offered a free wallbox which is capable of charging the 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery from zero to 100% in just three hours.

Power – 160hp
Economy – 217.2mpg
Emissions – 30g/km CO2
10% BIK
£0 VED
0-62mph in 9.8 seconds

The plug-in hybrid Megane is capable of up to 30 miles on battery power alone, enough for local running and perhaps a short commute. Thus driven, the car is hushed and refined with just a little wind and road noise to disturb the proceedings.

If full power is required or when the battery is depleted, the 1.6-litre petrol engine seamlessly fires into life and takes over the propulsion.

Prices start from £30,685 OTR with deliveries expected to begin in November.

Renault Captur E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid

Probably the most interesting of the three cars on test, the Captur is Renault’s best-selling car in the UK. Incidentally over 1.5 million have been sold globally.

The second generation Captur builds upon the cars successes and has been refined in many ways. Existing customers will be delighted with the upgrades, all designed to make the car easier to live with. And with sales of SUVs showing no signs of slowing down, Captur is likely to be in the shopping list of many family car buyers.

It operates in the same manner as the Megane with a similar electric driving range etc:

Power – 160hp
Emissions – 34g/km CO2
Economy – 188.3mpg
0-62mph in 10.1 seconds
10% BIK
£0 VED

The light and spacious interior will doubtless please, and the raised seating position means that all-important enhanced view out for both driver and passenger.

The ‘Smart Cockpit’ is fitted bringing with it the 9.3-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment display. Wireless smartphone charging is a standard fit and Renault’s EASY-LINK system ensures simple connection to multimedia services.

Prices start at £30,495 OTR and customers will be taking delivery any day now. This model will make sense if you can charge at home.