AFTER many weeks of flawless reliability, I was beginning to wonder whether anything would break or fail in my Renault Megane GT. Just like the Peugeot 308 Active I ran for nearly 17,000km a few years back, here was another French car stubbornly refusing to misbehave.
Then a large crack appeared like an earthquake fault line across the lower windscreen, just like that.
There’s no blaming flying stones from speeding semis coming the other way. Nor any errant deep potholes – certainly the unmarked tyres and 18-inch alloys would attest otherwise.
A phone call to Renault had the car quickly booked in for a replacement. I was informed that sudden windscreen cracking is a known problem with the fourth-gen Megane, and that as a result parts are in short supply.
Maybe it’s a body flex issue? I hear occasional creaking from around the sunroof. Anyway, the dealer organised a replacement GT wagon (a lovely grey example) for the week or so it would take to rectify. I’d be ed when it was complete.
However, some days later a call from the friendly and helpful service desk revealed that the wrong type of windscreen was delivered from France and that another one was already on its way post-haste.
Amusingly, the ordered item turned out to be for a Renault Scenic people mover not even sold in Australia. Such unexpected frankness from the remorseful dealer came as a surprise, but was truly appreciated, because any BS could have been spun.
Anyway, two weeks later I was back in my striking blue GT with a clean and crack-free screen, and that would have been that.
I would’ve forgotten all about the ordeal but for one related consequence: not only had the dealership failed to refill the washer reservoir (it was completely empty), the spray jets had been misaligned, shooting up towards the sky like a gun-slinging B-movie cowboy.
I discovered both at 6am rushing towards the airport after a night of drenching rain. Not just the windscreen was smeared.
The bottom line is, no matter how good the product is – and the Megane GT wagon has truly exceeded my expectations so far, both as an involving semi-sporty hot-hatch-style runabout and a comfortable, spacious and practical carry-all – if the after-sales service is not up to par then the whole brand experience is soured.
Like its cars, Renault has to ensure its dealers step up too.