Renault Mégane E-Tech electric vs Tesla Model 3: unexpected duel

After discovering its prices, Auto-Moto decided to confront the new electric Renault Mégane E-Tech with a competitor that we had not imagined: the Tesla Model 3.

Comparing a Renault Mégane and a Tesla Model 3 would not have occurred to us a few years ago. But since the official presentation of the new electric Mégane E-Tech at the Munich Motor Show in September 2021, confrontation seems possible. Both models are only offered with electric motors and, although they belong to a different segment, they meet in certain points. The publication of the official prices of the French finished convincing us to organize this first virtual match, while waiting to be able to compare them “in real life”.

A different stylistic approach

In terms of style, the two vehicles of course have a totally different approach. The American, slightly redesigned in 2021, has a traditional sedan look with a trunk and not a tailgate. The new Mégane, radically different from the compact saloon that we know, adopts a crossover design, close to an urban SUV, with 4.21 m long (15 cm less than the thermal Mégane IV, which will be sold in parallel until 2024) and 1.50 m high. Thus, the Mégane is well below the 4.69 m of the Model 3, which should logically offer better habitability. But not so fast…

Indeed, electric vehicles generally gain space on board with their new, more optimized architecture. Thanks to batteries integrated into the floor and wheels placed at the four corners, the wheelbase becomes maximum. The Mégane E-Tech, despite its size below a Captur, therefore offers a wheelbase of 2.70 m! It’s almost as much as the Tesla, which has 2.87 m of wheelbase despite being 48 cm longer than the French.

Good roominess in a pocket format for the Mégane

The Renault can therefore boast of a good habitability, close or even superior to that of the thermal Mégane, however longer by 15 cm. The floor, devoid of a transmission tunnel, frees up legroom for three passengers in the rear. The trunk is much larger with 440 liters against 384 liters for the thermal Mégane. At Tesla, a trunk volume of 649 liters is announced thanks to the use of a large double floor and an additional trunk at the front (the “frunk”) on the rear-wheel drive version.

On board, the electric Mégane also makes a big presentation effort. It inaugurates the brand’s new dashboard, with a double L-shaped screen, which will then equip other models such as the Austral (replacing the Kadjar in 2022). Enough to give a few buttons to the Tesla Model 3, which has made its huge central screen a shocking argument for technophiles. Renault has chosen to partner with the giant Google for its multimedia system, while the screen is in 4K quality.

A dynamic Mégane, a powerful Model 3

During the first test drive of the electric Mégane, our journalist Nicolas Briouze wrote that the vehicle has a “soft and precise road feel with very direct steering”. The model, with firm suspensions and large 18 to 20-inch wheels, however, has good comfort. The performance is convincing despite a high weight of 1.6 tons. The 0 to 100 km/h is displayed in 7.4 s for the most powerful version. The Mégane offers two variants: one of 130 hp at the entry level, and the second of 220 hp for the top of the range. The first has a 40 kWh battery, while the second comes with a 60 kWh battery. Autonomy therefore varies from 300 to 470 km depending on the brand.

At Tesla, the entry-level has recently had a battery pack of around 60 kWh, allowing it to display a range of 491 km on the WLTP cycle. The official power is not communicated by the brand, but we are talking about 275 hp on the single rear engine for the basic version, and more than 500 hp for the Performance variant. On the entry-level version, the exercise from 0 to 100 km/h is thus performed in 6.1 s, while the top speed is 225 km/h. The Mégane stops well before since it is limited to 160 km/h.

Prices not so far apart

At the entry level (now called Model 3), the Californian sedan has a first price of €43,800 currently, excluding bonuses. This allows him to benefit from the maximum bonus of €6,000 until July 2022. Thus, the standard Tesla has a price similar to that of the Mégane in its most chic versions, since the French starts at €35,200 and climbs to €47,400 for the top-of-the-range Iconic equipped with the Optimum 22 kW / DC 130 charger and the 220 hp engine.

Pictures: Renault, Tesla.

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