Smart Renault Megane Sport Tourer estate well suited and booted
PUBLISHED: 09:53 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 24 April 2017
If looks are as important as carrying loads then Renault's new Megane Sport Tourer estate won't disappoint and it drives well too, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
The load-lugging version of Renault’s Megane’s has never done itself any favours in the styling stakes. Against the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, the estate always played second fiddle and, despite keen pricing, struggled to get noticed.
That has all changed with the latest Megane Sport Tourer picking up the pace of Renault’s resurgence with the Kadjar sport utility, Megane hatch and Scenic and Grand Scenic people-carriers.
The French car-maker has hit a rich vein of form when it comes to its new family - reflected in growing sales.
Looks and image
The new Megane hatchback is a looker and the Sport Tourer hasn’t sacrificed style for space.
So often ‘stretched’ estates look dumpy but this Megane is well proportioned with a bold face and distinctive signature lights making it instantly recognisable, day or night, while wide rear lamp clusters accentuate the width – it’s the lowest vehicle in its class with the widest track – making for a dynamic design.
Space and comfort
There’s sufficient head and legroom in the back, unless you’re seriously the wrong side of six foot, helped by recessed front seat backs freeing up maximum millimetres. The back doors are quite narrow at the bottom, and the sill high, so you need to take more care getting out until used to it.
The 580-litre boot is not quite the biggest in the class but is well shaped, practical and versatile with a twin-level floor panel – sill height for easier loading or lower or removed altogether to create more depth – and there’s some underfloor storage around the tyre inflation kit in what would be the spare wheel well.
Nice touches are a boot divider to stop loads sliding about, side storage bins next to the wheel arches, hooks to hang bags on and being able to stow the soft luggage cover when not in use beneath the floor.
Handles in the boot drop the 60/40 split rear seat backs flat with the boot floor in its higher position for a long, uninterrupted 1,695-litre cargo bay. The front passenger seats also fold flat so you can get in items up to class-leading 2.77m long.
How it drives
The low-speed ride is lumpy bumpy on rough roads, along with noticeable suspension noise, but more supple and quieter when travelling faster so is a comfortable cruiser.
Mainstream models are a satisfying drive through the twists and turns, whether light or loaded, with agile, well-mannered roadholding. Range-topping GT gets 4Control four-wheel steering to improve low-speed manoeuvrability and high-speed stability.
Under the bonnet
Renault has a cracking range of sensible engines.
Petrol offerings are 130hp 1.2-litre and 205hp 1.6-litre turbo petrols, the latter reserved for GT, but diesels will be the favourites.
As well as 110hp 1.5-litre and 130hp and 165hp 1.6-litre diesels, again the latter GT only, the 1.5 unit is boosted with an electric motor in a hybrid assist model.
The 130hp diesel punches above its weight, pulling strongly from low revs and spinning freely at the top end, for sprightly acceleration without getting harsh or boomy.
Spirited driving returned 50 to 55mpg.
At the wheel
Renault has lifted cabin ambience too with the modern design benefitting from quality, soft-touch materials where it matters in contrast to hard, scratchy plastics lower down.
The more I used the R-Link 2 connected control centre – effectively a big tablet-style, multi-display touchscreen on the fascia to control most functions – the more I liked. The downside is that the gloss black finish does show finger marks so, if car-proud, keep a duster handy!
Selecting different Multi-Sense and driving modes – eco, neutral, comfort, sport – changes the feel of the car, appearance and colours of the instruments and even the engine note. You can play with it for ages.
I found the high front to the driver’s seat and my short legs meant cranking it up higher at the back than I like. Fortunately there’s good steering wheel adjustment.
This new Megane estate is a big improvement, making its predecessors look dull by comparison. It’s a practical family holdall with good looks and driving dynamics to match.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Renault Megane Sport Tourer Dynamique S dCi 130 £23,840 (range from £18,840)
Engine: 1,598cc, 130hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 10.6 seconds; top speed 123mph
MPG: Urban 60.1; extra urban 78.5; combined 70.6
CO2 emissions: 104g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 22%
Insurance group: 19E (out of 50)
Warranty: Four years or 100,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,626mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,058mm; H (with roof rails) 1,457mm