Renault is a pioneer in electric vehicles in Europe, but while the French carmaker offers more EVs than any other local brand (Twizy, Twingo, Zoe, Kangoo and Master), it has lacked a model that can rival its ICE cars when it comes to sales.

That is about to change as Renault prepares to start deliveries of the Megane E-Tech Electric, unveiled at the IAA Mobility show in Munich two months ago. This is arguably Renault’s most important EV to date, and for several good reasons: it’s family-sized, it looks great, it comes at the right time, and most importantly, it’s built on a bespoke EV platform.

The first reviews posted on YouTube allow us to see what Renault’s electric compact hatchback is made of—yes, chief designer Laurens van der Acker insists this isn't a crossover. CarGurus UK and ThomasGeigerCar are among the first English-language channels to offer first drive reviews of the electric Megane, and both have positive things to say about it.

For starters, the Megane E-Tech Electric is roomy inside thanks to the efficient packaging, long wheelbase and short overhangs made possible by the CMF-EV platform. Even in the rear, tall adults can find plenty of space.

Gallery: Renault Megane E-Tech Electric at IAA 2021

Renault Megane E-Tech Electric at IAA 202126Photos

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Then there’s the way it drives in range-topping 217-bhp (220-PS) guise with the larger 60 kWh battery. CarGuru’s Vicky Parrott says that Renault keeps referring to it as the GTI of this class, which may be a strong statement, though there’s substance to it.

Since Renault paid a lot of attention to weight-saving, the Megane E-Tech Electric weighs as little as 1,624 kg (3,580 lbs). The FWD-only layout alone saves about 100 kg (220 lbs) in cables and cooling components, making the lightest electric Megane some 50 kg lighter than the lightest VW ID.3 RWD model.

The low weight for a compact EV translates into qualities like great handling, agility, comfy ride, and increased efficiency. The onboard tech is also state-of-the-art—and more intuitive than in the ID.3 according to Thomas Geiger.

All in all, the Megane E-Tech Electric is seen as the best electric car Renault has made so far and a fearsome competitor for the VW ID.3 and Peugeot e-2008. The Megane E-Tech Electric is already available for pre-orders across Europe, with orders opening in February 2022 followed by the start of sales a month later (end of 2022 in the UK).