Renault Megane GT vs Kia Cee’d GT vs Skoda Octavia vRS
The new Renault Megane GT joins a wave of warm hatches, but can it beat the Kia Cee’d GT and Skoda Octavia vRS?
Not everyone wanting driving thrills and engaging handling is prepared to make the sacrifice a hot hatch can sometimes demand. Many motorists won’t compromise ride comfort or fuel economy in the pursuit of performance, and a group of warm hatchbacks is cashing in on this trend.
When we tested the Renault Megane GT 220 last year, it lost out to the Peugeot 308 GT and the Kia Cee’d GT. But now there’s a new Megane on the market, and after it deposed our family hatch champ, the Vauxhall Astra, we can now find out whether this Megane GT can do the same to its warm hatch rivals here.
Trouble is, the competition has also got tougher, as Kia has updated its sporty five-door Cee’d GT. And then there’s the Skoda Octavia vRS, which matches the Megane’s turbo petrol power and dual-clutch box. Still, the new car stands out with clever four-wheel steering to boost agility. Renault has history here with its Laguna, but recently, such technology has only been available from the likes of Porsche and Ferrari.
So if you want a warm hatch that combines a decent turn of speed with strong practicality and fuel efficiency, there’s plenty of choice. But which one is the best?
Hit the R.S. Drive button to put the Renault in Sport mode, and the four-wheel-steering system adjusts the trajectory of the rear wheels by up to 2.7 degrees below 50mph. It also quickens steering inputs by 40 per cent, so the GT feels like a smaller, lighter car.
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In Eco, Comfort or Neutral modes the threshold is reduced to 37mph, and the hatch feels more relaxed and fluent to drive as the sensation isn’t as noticeable.
This clever tech – a class first – takes some getting used to. It could do with more refinement, but the basic principle works, adding agility when you want it and stability when you don’t.
The latest Megane offers much of the Skoda’s reserved presence with a hint of the more overtly styled Kia’s racy design.
All three cars carry obligatory performance badging, but not surprisingly, the newer Megane looks like the freshest choice in this company, thanks to its neat light treatment. Its restrained design leaves plenty of room for a wilder-looking, full-fat Megane RS in the future, too.
First place: Skoda Octavia vRS
A combination of superior practicality and performance sees the Skoda take victory. Running costs are competitive with the Megane’s, while finance buyers will benefit from stronger deals. And even though a substantial facelift is coming next year, bringing an update to the ageing cabin, we still think the way the Skoda drives and the versatility it offers warrants the extra outlay here.
Second place: Renault Megane GT
Integrating clever four-wheel-steering tech shows what lies ahead in the hot hatch sector, and while it works on the Megane GT, the lacklustre engine and hesitant gearbox take a large chunk of fun out of the driving experience. Still, these cars are about more than just enjoyment, and the Renault will be practical, cheap to run and easy to live with, thanks to its hi-tech interior.
Third place: Kia Cee’d GT
The light tweaks Kia has made aren’t enough to elevate the Cee’d GT to class-leading status, as the car is still neither practical nor efficient enough to rival the best in the sector. It’s fun to drive and good value, but you have to remember it doesn’t feature more advanced tech like the DSG boxes of its rivals. Limited boot space and some cabin quality issues mean it finishes last here.
Other options for similar money...
New: Peugeot 308 GT
Price: £25,030Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 202bhp
It comes with a manual box only, like the Kia, but the 308 GT can rival the Megane with its high-quality cabin. It also boasts a bigger boot and is more efficient, so is worth a look if your main criteria are practicality and performance.
Used: Volkswagen Golf GTI 5dr DSG
Price: £25,000Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 217bhp
At this price, you can afford a 5,000-mile, 65-reg Golf GTI with the brilliant DSG box. It has 217bhp – the same as the Skoda – and is one of the best hot hatches around. And while its 380-litre boot trails the Megane’s, the cabin is classier.
|Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI 220 DSG||Renault Megane GT Nav EDC||Kia Cee’d 1.6 T-GDi GT|
|On the road price/total as tested||£25,850/£27,835||£25,500/£28,575||£23,610/£23,610|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£8,600/33.3%||£9,300/36.5%||£8,127/34.4%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,356/£2,713||£1,072/£2,145||£1,442/£2,884|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,805/£3,008||£1,964/£3,274||£2,328/£3,880|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||29/£755/F/£145||27/£625/E/£130||26/£611/H/£210|
|Servicing costs||£279 (2yrs/20,000)||£299 (3yrs/30,000)||£399 (3yrs/30,000)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,984cc||4cyl in-line/1,618cc||4cyl in-line/1,591cc|
|Peak power/revs||217/4,500 bhp/rpm||202/6,000 bhp/rpm||201/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||350/1,500 Nm/rpm||280/2,400 Nm/rpm||265/1,500 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd DCT/fwd||7-spd DCT/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||50 litres/£100||50 litres/£120||53 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||590/1,580 litres||434/1,237 litres||380/1,318 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.4 metres/0.29Cd||10.4 metres/0.71Cd||10.6 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs||7yrs (100,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||10,000 miles (1yr)/135||18,000 miles (1yr)/158||10,000 miles (1yr)/187|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||3rd/15th||8th/1st||14th/9th|
|NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars||93/86/66/66/5 (2013)||88/87/71/71/5 (2015)||89/88/61/86/5 (2012)|
|0-60/30-70mph||6.4/5.0 secs||7.6/6.5 secs||7.5/6.5 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.6/3.9 secs||3.7/4.9 secs||3.2/4.0 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th||5.6/7.6 secs/N/A||4.9/6.9/9.5 secs||5.4/6.6 secs/N/A|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||152mph/2,000rpm||143mph/2,500rpm||143mph/2,750rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||33.4/7.4/367 miles||30.7/6.8/338 miles||25.9/5.7/302 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||195/146g/km/26%||213/134g/km/23%||252/170g/km/31%|
|Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB*||Yes/yes/yes/£315||Yes/yes/yes/£400^||No/yes/yes/no|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/£925/£250||Yes/no/yes||Yes/part-leather/yes|
|Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£360/yes/£400||£525/LED/yes||£530/yes/no|