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Renault Megane III Estate - 1.5 dCi and Swift

Stephen Ballard reviewed on 20-08-2017 a Renault Megane III Estate - 1.5 dCi (78 Kw/106 bhp year: june 2009 - january 2016) and a Swift Challenger 480 of (laden) 1441 kg.

We have been using this car to tow for about a year now so feel confident we can write a decent review. Towed in good and bad weather conditions and found this combination can best be described as adequate for quality and exceptional for economy.
Right first a few things, check the nose weight of your caravan, do not put a 110A battery in the battery compartment and full 15kg butane bottle in the front compartment, the megane has a maximum tow bar nose weight of 75kg. Load the caravan carefully and buy a nose weight scale, they are less than a tenner on ebay / amazon. Towing with 95kg as we did on the first occasion is not to be recommended. On a side note, why caravan manufacturers put all the heavy stuff up front (in the swifts case, Gas bottle, spare wheel, Battery, Hot water tank) is a little disturbing. Most people put awnings etc under the front seats to compound the problem.
In decent weather, no heavy cross winds, 55mph is ok...nasty weather and drop it to 50mph. Otherwise you will get battered across the motorways by the lorries. My good lady now like us to drive just at 50mph and to be honest, that’s how we drive now.
The good news, we have done 1000s of mile with this combination, have had amazing weekends away and everytime we go away now the temptation to get a vehicle that can safely do 60mph diminishes. Why, its solid, feels safe and we are getting about 42mpg, on a good day 45mpg.
I use this car for business trips and often get over 60mpg doing the normal 75mph on the motorway without caravan so am extremely pleased with this car.
A trick for better economy, the 1.5dci engine runs best between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm. It has a six speed box to allow this range to work....if you run the car in fifth gear, the car runs at about 1,300rpm doing 50mph. This is below its most economical range, when we first got the caravan we found we were getting 34mpg....so the hint is, drive it in forth and allow it to slightly over rev at 2000rpm. This is kinder to the car, basically I believe at 1,300rpm the turbo is constantly on trying to keep the engine torquey enough to power on, at 2,000rpm the turbo does not engage. I could be wrong about this, however there is a 10mpg difference.
A few other observations. Most of the time we drive around with just 1 bar on the temperature gauge...when towing we have 2 bars..never feels like it is getting hot, so just accept it.
For those that think this car is not powerful enough it most certainly is, it just does not feel heavy enough to tow like a 4x4 or Volvo so by accepting we have to drive below everyone elses speed we get to keep a 3 year old car that continues to work in all other aspects. We will get a bigger car when this one requires replacement, however for the moment, long live the Renault.
So far we have seen no other meganes towing in all our miles and events, would be interesting to hear from others experience with this vehicle.

For weights, we go weekend eventing so do not load the caravan, the 480se challenger 2003 is 1080kg and the max tow weight braked of the megane is 1500kg with a kerbside weight of 1381kg.

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