Ostensibly I am writing about the Megane. Really I am concerned with something else.
Earlier this week contributer, Chris lamented the sameness of midsized family cars today. This Megane looks like nothing else and only looks better with age. Alas, its durability does not live up to the standard set by the aesthetics. I’m not going to write about that though.
The night-time ambience reminded me of a car moment I had almost 17 years ago: seeing street lights reflect on the gleaming surface of an old Benz in Frankfurt. That in turn connects to the fantastic night photography of Helmut Newton. You’ll have to Google those on your own time. Some of Newton’s photography isn’t suitable for workplaces (although it’s all fashion). Among the statuesque nudes are art photos concerned with urban night landscapes.
When I take a duff photo of a car what I can see is not what my camera can take. As lit the Megane looked beautiful. What Newton could do was to take the image his mind perceived. That’d transform what might appear to be a boring night scene into something lustrous, velvet-black, sodium orange and dotted with the emerald green of traffic lights.
You’ll have to imagine the Megane being beautifully lit. Had I not seen Newton’s work I might not have seen the Megane the way I did.
11 thoughts on “Micropost: 2002-2009 Renault Megane”
I find the lighting in underground car parks can be quite effective and emotive.
Luckily Newton didn’t take pictures the size of postage stamps…
I’ve always liked the design of that generation of Megane. It was a bit of a golden age of car design really. First Fiat offered the unexpectedly interesting original Brava/Bravo, then there was the genius of the first Ford Focus and finally this Megane. I remember how shocking it looked when new, particularly the three door. There’s something about the elongated roof and pert tail that’s already put me in mind of the Citroën DS; both could only be Gallic.
Add the first gen Citroen C4 to that list and you have a very eclectic offering which we can only dream of today.
Funny really, the top brass at Renault probably had a collective conniption when it first saw what Patrick Le Quément had on the drawing board for the Megane. The mark 1 was nicely done, true, but it was also Euro-bland, something the bustle-backed mark 2 certainly was not. Stellar European sales certainly rewarded the courage of their convictions; you may or may not have liked the Megane’s styling, but at least you knew it existed. What really stands out now is how honestly the mark 2 is styled and constructed: the shapes are all made in the metal, with no tacky fillet panels or DLO trickery. I think it’s a classic in the making.
Forgot to link the European sales data: http://left-lane.com/european-car-sales-data/Renault/Renault-Megane/
Again, last week I was looking at the back of a Megane 2 and thinking more or less the same as Chris. I also saw a Megane parked in front of a Vel Satis and it showed how similar in concept they were and how very different in realisation.
I’ve just looked at the Left Lane figures, and they surprised me. Much as I liked Megane 2, I sort of accepted the publicly stated attitude of the toxic Patrick Pelata faction that Renault had somehow offended the public with their wacky designs and paid the price sales-wise. Teach me to believe someone who wears blue button-down collar shirts to work.
The delightful style is let down by the disappointing driving and soggy structure. That is so unfortunate as I think the shapes are so good and so distinctive.
Not to mention the diabolical reliability of Renaults of that era. The Laguna II is the unequivocal standard-setter here – it will go down as the Gamma of its generation – but there are a lot of fragile spots on Meganes too, and the prospect of taking one on as a classic in 15 or 20 years will require a brave soul indeed.
One of the strange things about my time with the Renaultsport Clio was how other Renault owners would come up to me and start volunteering information about the various failings of their cars. One such owner of a Megane of this era gave me a list as long as his arm, including gearbox, electrics, wheel bearings and sensors. He finally got rid of it when the factory fit alarm kept going off in the night, even after disarming it via the fob. It would seem that the Renault ownership experience was closer to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than anything pleasurable. Even now when I see a light on the dashboard my face immediately prickles with panic, until I remember that I now drive a Ford Ecoboost and the light is merely the car asking for yet more petrol.
After ownership of mainly French or Italian cars, I was going to agree with the niggling problems, then add how odd it had been to drive a trouble-free Nissan for over a year. But then I remembered that, this weekend, the rear passenger door suddenly refused to be opened from outside. The Turkish saying goes along the lines of ‘He who sleeps with the blind wakes up cross-eyed’