Renault Megane Sport Tourer: Fourth report

Compact estate is ideal choice as our man tees off with a new hobby

  • Bluetooth connectivity is vital when you spend so much of your working day in the car, and the Renault’s works brilliantly. Like most of these systems, it can be fiddly to set up, but you only have to do this once. After that, your phone connects instantly. What’s more, it allows me to wirelessly stream my music to the car’s stereo.
  • Call me old-fashioned, but I think seatbelts should be worn at all times. Unfortunately, that means the Renault is currently a four-seater only, as the driver’s side rear belt doesn’t work properly. I plan to get this fixed when the Megane goes in for its first service, but for the time being the car is effectively a 2+2.

It wouldn’t be allowed at my local course, but our long-term Megane Sport Tourer would make the perfect golf buggy.

The Renault is proving to be incredibly versatile: my last long-term report was about a track day at Silverstone. The car was in its element on the twisty tarmac of the UK’s premier circuit, but after witnessing its fuel economy plummet and tyre wear increase, I thought it was time to take up something more sedate. So I’ve started playing golf, and the Megane is very much at home in the car park of my local course.

In fact, I think it has to be one of the best cars on the Auto Express fleet when it comes to carting a couple of golf bags and a few friends around on Saturday afternoons. Better still, it stands up to scrutiny from the well heeled members of my club.

You could almost say it’s up to scratch – which isn’t how you would describe my golf game.

In GT trim, the Sport Tourer features a few stylish touches, including smart 18-inch alloys, so I never feel I need to park it out of sight. And the spacious boot swallows all my kit with ease.

It’s easy to get blasé about the space available, because I can even afford to leave my clubs in the car during the working week, when I also have to carry large boxes of lighting equipment, car cleaning gear and assorted tripods and camera bags.

And if things get cramped, I simply fold down one side of the split rear seats. Plus, the tinted side windows (standard on our GT model) ensure that my valuables are kept hidden.

The estate car design also comes into its own at the beginning and end of each round, as I can perch on the lip at the back to change into and out of my golf shoes. The tailgate is a welcome rain shelter, too.

In addition, the load area serves as a safe and spacious platform for me to sit on as we do car-to-car photography for the magazine. But I don’t like letting others behind the wheel.

Away from the fairway and the race track, I’m still enjoying the Megane on the road. Whether it’s clocking up miles on a magazine test, helping me to enjoy a decent B-road or carrying the weekly shopping, I’ve yet to find any cause for complaint.

I’m always aware of the firm suspension, but I can live with this, as the reward is sporty hatchback handling on twisty roads. Family buyers could find the ride a bit too firm, but the simple answer to this is to ignore the racy GT trim level altogether and look at one of the more comfortable models further down the range.

Taking up a relaxing sport such as golf is already paying dividends at the pumps, as I’ve now adopted a gentler approach behind the wheel that has seen me hit 37.2mpg. That should mean there’s enough spare cash left to replace the numerous golf balls I lose every time I venture out for a round...

Thanks to: West Parley Golf Centre (www.parleygolf.co.uk)

Extra Info

“I’m a big fan of fast estate cars, but unlike Otis, I couldn’t live with the Megane’s firm ride. That’s a shame, because the Renaultsport model makes a stylish, rapid and well equipped choice for family car buyers.”

Dean Gibson, Deputy chief sub

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