The latest Mégane has an extremely stable body that protected its occupants. It scored full marks in the side impact and lost only two points in the frontal impact. The dual seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters greatly reduced the distance that the driver’s knees could move forward. Protection for children was good and the restraints met almost all Euro NCAP performance limits, but safeguards for pedestrians were only average.
The frontal airbags inflated in two stages to increase protection in severe accidents. The car also ‘sensed’ the weight of drivers and if they are light reduced the aggressiveness of the airbag . The lap belt and the diagonal belts had separate pre-tensioners. There had been much design effort to increase protection for the driver’s knees and upper legs. The footwell suffered very little intrusion and has extra padding. The centre rear seat had a three point belt that is much safer in a frontal impact than a lap-only belt.
A very impressive system included a thorax side airbag and a head curtain to protect front and rear occupants. The car lost no marks in the side and pole impact tests.
A manual switch for the passenger frontal airbag was fitted. Renault provided good warnings about the danger of a rear-facing seat placed opposite an airbag. The Renault-branded forward-facing Britax Romer Duo and rear-facing Kiddy Easyfix restraints used ISOFIX mountings in the adult seats and these had good, clear fabric labels. The 3-year-old’s restraint used a tether from the top of the restraint over the car seat back and secured to a buckle in the boot. The other restraint had a leg support and a strap tethering it to the floor. The children’s heads were fully protected in side and frontal impacts, which is hard to achieve, but the older child’s chest load was on the high side.
Pedestrian protection had not improved as occupant protection has. Although the bonnet leading edge and an area where an adult pedestrian's head might strike were fairly compliant, the rest of the bonnet, wings and bumper were 'unfriendly' towards pedestrian's.