Renault Megane Sport Tourer
Is most practical version of new family car best model in range?
They're not as fashionable as SUVs or MPVs, but estate cars shouldn’t be crossed off buyers’ shopping lists. The new Mégane Sport Tourer sticks to the tried and tested formula of offering a large boot and ample passenger space. Add in an impressively efficient diesel engine, and it makes a lot of sense.
The boot has been put into the Renault Mégane! This is the Sport Tourer estate version of the French family hatch – a spacious carrier that promises to be one of the best models in the line-up for buyers who don’t need a full-blown MPV like the Scenic.
With a smartly integrated extended rear end, roof bars and striking tail-lights, the Sport Tourer sits well with the rest of the Mégane line-up.
Open the tailgate and you’re greeted by a generous 520-litre boot. Fold the rear seats and this increases to 1,600 litres.
That’s not quite as big as the Tardis-like Peugeot 308 SW, but it’s better than a Ford Focus Estate. Handily, the rear seats drop down at the touch of a button, and there’s a clever flap that bridges the gap between the boot floor and rear seatbases to ensure the load area is flat.
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Factor in a sturdy cover to keep valuables from prying eyes, a fold-flat front passenger seat plus a low loading lip, and the Sport Tourer ticks all the right boxes.
Room in the back is good, too, with three tall adults able to sit in comfort. Up front, a lot of attention has been paid to material quality, with classy plastics used throughout.
Standard equipment on this Dynamique model includes air-con, cruise control and a trip computer. Our car also had the excellent £450 optional TomTom Carminat sat-nav. It works well, and warns of speed cameras with a beep as you approach.
The driving experience doesn’t major on fun – the steering has strange weighting, is short on feel and seems to self-centre quite sharply. But apart from that, the Mégane is relaxing to drive, with a comfortable ride and a punchy 128bhp 1.9-litre dCi turbo.
There’s some clatter on start-up, but once warm the diesel is smooth, and its 300Nm torque output translates into strong acceleration. Yet the car returns 55.4mpg combined and emits only 134g/km of CO2. It adds up to a decent all-rounder that will swallow anything the average family will throw at it.
Rival: Ford Focus Estate Another no-nonsense estate, the Focus is more fun to drive than the Renault. Yet it isn’t as spacious, and costs £1,300 more in 2.0 TDCi Zetec trim.