Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.9 dCi Dynamique TomTom

Stylish five-door has performance advantage over its competitors

Renault is famed for bringing French flair to the car market – and if one sector needs a dose of this magic, it’s the sensible estate segment. Does the Mégane Sport Tourer live up to expectations? 

Take one look at the rakish rear end, and you’d have to say the firm has come up trumps. 

The prominent light clusters and tapering tailgate give the Mégane a sleek and eye-catching appearance. The Privilège trim car used for our pictures has recently been dropped from Renault’s slimmed down line-up, but it’s visually identical to our Dynamique TomTom test car.

Inside, we have the familiar Mégane complaints, which mainly centre around the lacklustre trim quality and overly complicated controls for the stereo and sat-nav. Yet the navigational aid comes as standard in Dynamique TomTom spec, as part of a raft of useful equipment.

This includes a fold-flat front passenger seat – to help accommodate long loads – air-conditioning and a class-leading eight airbags. Cabin space is similar to rivals, with occupants in the rear getting decent head and legroom.

And a wide range of seating and steering wheel adjustment means the driving position is excellent.

On paper, the Renault’s 486-litre boot is the smallest here, although the load area is the widest of our trio. Fold the rear bench flat, and capacity increases to a healthy 1,567 litres, which is 72 litres more than the VW. 

Trouble is, the car isn’t in the same league as its rivals in terms of trim quality – even the load area feels low rent. The flimsy boot divider, which is overcomplicated and of limited use, is a prime example of the difference in quality. 

On the plus side, there are a number of hooks for shopping bags, a 12V power supply, as well as a couple of cubbyholes set into either side of the luggage bay.

Plus, while the Renault trails its opponents on practicality, it leads the way in the performance stakes. The 128bhp 1.9-litre dCi diesel isn’t the most powerful unit here, but the car has the lowest kerbweight – at 1,366kg, it’s 89kg lighter than the new Vauxhall. 

As a result, the Mégane completes the benchmark 0-60mph sprint in 9.5 seconds – that’s 1.7 seconds faster than the Astra. It continues to impress in the real world, where its hefty 300Nm torque output allows effortless overtaking. 

Guide the car through a series of corners, and you’ll discover plenty of poise and agility, while the supple ride does a good job of isolating occupants from poor road surfaces. However, as with other Mégane variants, the 

estate suffers from a flimsy-feeling gearshift and the steering is short on feedback.

This below-par quality and poor attention to detail could ultimately cost the car a chance of victory in this test – which is a real pity, as the Renault is stylish, spacious and good to drive. 

Details

Chart position: 2
WHY: With its styling flair, long kit tally, safety equipment and big boot, the Renault has a lot to offer.

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