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Hyundai i30 Tourer vs Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer vs Renault Megane Sport Tourer

SUVs may have eaten into small estate sales, but Hyundai’s new i30 Tourer hopes to fight back. But how does it fair against rivals?

Compact estate cars might have become less popular thanks to the rise of the small SUV in recent years, but don’t discount the incredible versatility of these vehicles; the best are spacious, fun to drive and really cheap to run all at the same time.

Hyundai’s new i30 Tourer is the newest model in this market, joining the recently launched Mk3 hatch in the brand’s range. There will soon be a five-door i30 Fastback ‘coupé’ as well, and we recently drove the new i30N hot hatch, but does the station wagon variant have what it takes to come out on top against two of our favourite small estate cars?

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Best estate cars on sale 

The first is the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, a British-built contender that has continued to impress with its great-value price, engaging driving dynamics and low running costs. Second is the Renault Megane Sport Tourer, which is one of the best-looking cars in this class. The French wagon is good to drive, well equipped and spacious, so it’s a tough contender as well.

The victor in this test will need to offer loads of space, but it also has to deliver as a family car and something you’ll be able to drive every day.

Hyundai i30 Tourer

Model:Hyundai i30 Tourer 1.6 CRDi 110 Premium
Price:£23,065
Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl, 108bhp
0-60mph:10.9 seconds
Test economy:42.6mpg/9.4mpl
CO2:99g/km
Annual road tax:£140

Hyundai's latest i30 Tourer builds on the new i30 hatchback which was released earlier this year. Its arrival brought new engines, new tech and a new look. Here we’re testing the estate version in Premium trim with the 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, which starts at £23,065.

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As soon as you climb into the i30 Tourer you’ll need to spend time getting the seat sorted, because we found it hard to achieve a comfortable driving position; unlike in both of its rivals here. The seat also feels quite thin, but at least Premium-spec cars get electric seats as standard, so it’s not too difficult to adjust.

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On the move, the i30 feels set up for comfort more than driver engagement, because the steering is numb and there’s not a huge amount of bite from the front end. The Astra and Megane seem much more lively, with better-weighted steering.

But the i30 doesn’t even manage to win on ride comfort, and both rivals are more settled on the move. The Hyundai is comfy at low speed, but as you go a bit faster it starts to bounce in reaction to bumps in the road. It’s at its worst at mid-range speeds, as it settles down on a motorway, although there’s still an unpleasant jolt if the surface is less than super smooth. 

Its 108bhp diesel engine matched the Renault’s unit and both recorded a 0-60mph time of 10.9 seconds. The more powerful Astra took 8.9 seconds.

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Testers’ notes: “Hyundai’s five-year warranty is a big plus point for buyers, especially as it includes five years of breakdown assistance. The Vauxhall gets a year’s cover and the Renault four.”

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

 

Model:Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi 136 Tech Line Nav
Price:£21,390
Engine: Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 134bhp
0-60mph:8.9 seconds
Test economy:50.4mpg/11.1mpl
CO2:101g/km
Annual road tax:£140

The Vauxhall Astra is one of our favourite family cars, and this Sports Tourer version adds extra luggage space to the mix. You’ll get a more powerful engine for similar money to its rivals in this test if you choose the good-value Astra, so here we’re trying out the 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel model in Tech Line Nav trim. It starts from £21,390.

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Since it’s the most powerful car here, its no surprise that the Astra Sports Tourer comfortably beat its rivals in our acceleration tests. The 0-60mph sprint took 8.9 seconds, two seconds faster than the Hyundai and the Renault. The gap was wider still from 30-70mph, as the Astra took 8.4 seconds, edging the 10.6-second and 10.7-second times recorded by the i30 and Megane respectively.

Thanks to its 320Nm of torque from 2,000rpm, the Astra was also much stronger in gear. In fourth, it took 4.6 seconds to go from 30-50mph, while the i30 clocked 6.9 seconds and the Megane 6.4 seconds. That’s a big difference when you’re going to overtake a vehicle, but it also highlights the Vauxhall’s advantage when carrying heavier loads. 

The four-cylinder diesel is a bit rattly, but because there’s more shove you don’t have to rev it as hard. The Megane’s unit revs with more enthusiasm, but the Vauxhall’s isn’t far behind and has more punch. Both are more enjoyable than the i30’s engine.

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Show the Astra a British B-road and it’ll reward the driver with a fairly sweet ride and handling balance. It’s much more comfortable than the i30 over harsh surfaces, but it’s also more engaging. The steering is well weighted and quicker than the i30’s, which means the Astra feels significantly more agile.

Testers' notes: “The Astra’s six-speed manual gearbox isn’t the best around, but the extra torque and therefore flexibility mean you don’t have to work it too hard.”

Renault Megane Sport Tourer

Model:Renault Mégane Sport Tourer 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S Nav
Price:£22,990
Engine:1.5-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 108bhp
0-60mph:10.9 seconds
Test economy:49.6mpg/10.9mpl
CO2:96g/km
Annual road tax:£140

The Renault Megane Sport Tourer is one of our favourite cars in this class, with a top blend of looks, handling, comfort and space. Here we’re testing the Dynamique S Nav model fitted with the 108bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine. It costs from £22,990.

However, this is still 20Nm down on the Hyundai, so the Renault didn’t quite manage to beat the Korean car’s 30-70mph time at the track; it trailed by just a tenth of a second, taking 10.7 seconds. 

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The in-gear tests showed there wasn’t much in it, though, because in third the French estate hit back at the i30, trumping its 4.3-second time from 30-50mph by a tenth of a second. Still, the Astra showed its muscle in these tests, and needed just 3.3 seconds to complete the same sprint.

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In top gear, the Vauxhall took 8.1 seconds to go from 50-70mph, beating both rivals as expected, but the Megane outpaced the i30 in the same test. It took 11.4 seconds in sixth gear, while the Hyundai clocked 12.1 seconds. On the motorway the Renault does feel more responsive, so it’s easier to keep up with changes in traffic speed without having to shift down. It’s also the most comfortable car of the three at speed, although the Astra isn’t that far behind.

Off the motorway the Renault is nearly as good to drive as the Astra, with quick steering and a grippy chassis, but it’s not quite as sharp as the Vauxhall because it’s more focused on ride comfort. 

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The Megane gets a comprehensive mode selector, offering a choice of Sport, Neutral, Comfort and Eco settings. They change the steering weight and engine response, with a sharper feel in Sport mode and a more relaxed feel in Eco and comfort. There’s also an option named Perso, which is what Renault calls its customisable setting.

Testers' notes: “The digital instruments and portrait-style touchscreen mean the Renault has the most modern feel inside, plus its material quality matches this.”

Verdict

First place: Renault Megane Sport Tourer

The Renault Mégane Sport Tourer offers the best balance of ability. It’s nearly as economical and good to drive as the Astra, while being more affordable on PCP, better equipped and much more spacious. It looks great and its high-quality interior and strong infotainment package seal the win, even if there is a small price to pay when it comes to boot space and performance.

Second place: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

With its engaging handling, strong fuel economy and comfortable ride, the Astra Sports Tourer is a great choice in this company, and only just loses out to the Mégane. It’s a shame it has the smallest boot here, but it’s still very spacious, especially for passengers in the rear. You’ll get more for your money with the more powerful engine, too, which will seal the deal for some.

Third place: Hyundai i30 Tourer

While the Hyundai i30 Tourer’s spacious interior and excellent infotainment system impressed us, the choppy ride, dull handling and plain looks inside and out mean it can’t keep up with the competition here. With the biggest boot on test, it’s very practical – but disappointing economy figures and the driving experience mean it’s hard to recommend over its key rivals.

Other options in this category

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI SE L

Price: £23,825Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 113bhp

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Skoda is known for building great-value, spacious cars and the Octavia Estate is the perfect example. It’s good to drive, very practical and well equipped. A recent facelift has improved infotainment as well, with an eight-inch touchscreen.

Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 BlueHDi Allure

Price: £22,590Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 118bhp

A new Peugeot 308 SW is on the way soon, with a subtle new exterior look and some tech upgrades, including the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It’s as spacious and practical as before, so it should remain a great family choice.

Figures

 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S NavVauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi 136 Tech Line NavHyundai i30 Tourer 1.6 CRDi 110 Premium
On the road price/total as tested£22,990/£25,640£21,390/£23,335£23,065/£23,630
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£8,525/37.1%£8,342/39.0%£8,624/37.4%
Depreciation£14,465£13,048£14,441
Annual tax liability std./higher rate£958/£1,916£932/£1,865£961/£1,923
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,331/£2,218£1,310/£2,183£1,549/£2,582
Insurance group/quote/road tax15/£713/£14017/£814/£14012/£537/£140
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£459 (3yrs/30k)£14pm (3yrs)£599 (3yrs)
    
Length/wheelbase4,626/2,712mm4,702/2,662mm4,585/2,650mm
Height/width1,457/1,814mm1,510/1,809mm1,465/1,795mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,461cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,582cc
Peak power/revs108/4,000 bhp/rpm134/3,500 bhp/rpm108/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs260/1,750 Nm/rpm320/2,000 Nm/rpm280/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel47 litres/£11048 litres/£11050 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)580/1,695 litres540/1,630 litres602/1,650 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,452/700/1,400kg1,435/550/1,500kg1,310/590/1,500kg
Turning circle11.2 metres11.1 metres10.6 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery4yrs (60,000)/4yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr5yrs (unltd)/5yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers18,000 miles (1yr)/15820,000 miles (1yr)/33810,000 miles (1yr)/173
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.22nd/11th23rd/22nd10th/10th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars88/87/71/71/5 (2015)86/84/83/75/5 (2015)88/84/64/68/5 (2017)
    
0-60/30-70mph10.9/10.7 secs8.9/8.4 secs10.9/10.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.2/6.4 secs3.3/4.6 secs4.3/6.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th8.8/11.4 secs6.2/8.1 secs8.9/12.1 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph116mph/2,000rpm127mph/2,000rpm117mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.8/32.7/9.4m45.5/35.8/9.9m48.7/34.3/9.5m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph68/42/62/67dB66/44/62/71dB65/51/62/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range49.6/10.9/513 miles50.4/11.1/532 miles42.6/9.4/469 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined68.9/80.7/76.4mpg62.8/83.1/74.3mpg67.3/78.5/74.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined15.2/17.8/16.8mpl13.8/18.3/16.3mpl14.8/17.3/16.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2 /tax bracket153/96g/km/21%150/101g/km/22%178/99g/km/21%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park. sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/£465/noSix/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB£1,200/yes/yes/£400£1,340/yes/yes/£815No/yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£1,000/noNo/no/noYes/no/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£650/£500/yes£565/no/no£585/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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