Five-door small hatchback gets first airing in Paris and gs on sale in UK during November.

Renault is showing off its new Megane at the Paris Motor Show next month. The car begins UK sale in November, in time to take on the challenge issued by Volkswagen’s latest Golf hatchback, which begins sale next year.

The French newcomer adopts the current Renault family look first seen on the Laguna. At the same time it loses the ‘rump’ that’s one of the current car’s defining features. Top-drawer crash protection is a given, as you’d expect because Renault is a leader in the field, while the new car promises many features taken from the Laguna. Notable among these will be the keyless entry system, which enables the driver to enter and leave the car without unlocking or locking it, provided that the credit-card sized ‘key’ is in his or her pocket.

Another feature available will be a parking brake that applies itself and disengages automatically.

The current car rides well but can’t match the best for steering response or handling, and Renault says it has worked hard to make its replacement as good as it gets. The current petrol and diesel engines will, in the main, be carried over. But fuel economy and CO2 emissions levels have been tweaked so that, for example, four of the diesel units not emit 120g/km of CO2 or less.

The five-door hatchback will be the first body style to launch, but the fully family of models – estate, coupe, MPV, cabrio – will follow closely from next year.