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Megane GT diesel vs Golf GTD

Renault has turned up the heat on its diesel Mégane with a sizzling new GT version. Can it see off VW’s Golf GTD?

Mégane GT diesel vs Golf GTD

The concept of go-faster diesel models is nothing new, but one company has been doing it for longer than most. The Volkswagen Golf GTD dates back to the Eighties, and the latest variant rivals the petrol GTI for all-round appeal. At £24,230, it isn’t cheap, though – which is where the new Renault Mégane GT comes in...

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The French firm has launched its new flagship trim level across the family car range, complete with Renaultsport chassis tweaks and bolder looks.

It is available with the most powerful petrol and diesel engines, and also in three-door Coupé guise, but it’s the 158bhp dCi five-door we’re interested in here. It can’t match the 168bhp VW for outright power, yet costs less and promises Renault’s usual blend of value and style. 

What’s more, the experts at Renaultsport have honed their skills tuning a host of performance models, so the Mégane GT promises sharp dynamics to go with its high-profile looks.

Here, Auto Express hits the road in two of the most economical performance hatchbacks money can buy, in order to pick our favourite choice for upwardly mobile family drivers. Gallic charm goes up against German engineering – and there can be only one winner...

Verdict

There are two ways to beat the Golf GTD; undercut it so heavily on price that you can forgive any failings, or play it at its own game. The SEAT Leon FR TDI scored a success with the former approach and the Renault takes the latter...

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Admittedly, the Mégane GT is cheaper than its rival, but not by much – and that is its downfall. For all the new car’s talents, we think the Golf is worth the extra. While the Renault is better equipped, nearly as potent and just as engaging to drive through twisty bends, the Volkswagen feels like a premium product.

With the optional ACC suspension, the Golf is brilliant in all conditions, from back roads to empty motorways – and this breadth of ability is what sets it apart. Sealing the deal are its bigger cabin, higher-quality trim and lower running costs. The Mégane GT is a great addition to the range – but the GTD is even better.

1. VW Golf GTD
Picking the ultimate Golf is very difficult. The 1.4 TSI, diesel BlueMotion and hot GTI can all claim to be the best, but the GTD should be on the shortlist. It mixes strong handling, pace and comfort with a healthy dose of economy to create a very desirable family hatch. It doesn’t come cheap, yet it holds on to its value effectively. 

2. Renault Megane GT

The Mégane GT picked a fight with one of the biggest kids in the diesel hatch playground – and came off worse. But there’s no disgrace in that. The Renaultsport tweaks add to the fun factor and the hot oil-burner looks the part. It just can’t match its rival’s strong all-round showing.

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