Car group tests

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.

• Best hot hatchbacks

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? 

Head-to-head

4Control

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.

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.

Design

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. 

Verdict 

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

Peugeot 308 GT - front tracking

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

Volkswagen Golf GTI - front

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. 

Figures

 Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI 220 DSGRenault Megane GT Nav EDCKia 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%
Depreciation£17,250£16,200£15,483
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/cost29/£755/F/£14527/£625/E/£13026/£611/H/£210
Servicing costs£279 (2yrs/20,000)£299 (3yrs/30,000)£399 (3yrs/30,000)
    
Length/wheelbase4,685/2,680mm4,359/2,669mm4,310/2,650mm
Height/width1,449/1,814mm1,447/1,818mm1,470/1,780mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,984cc4cyl in-line/1,618cc4cyl in-line/1,591cc
Peak power/revs 217/4,500 bhp/rpm202/6,000 bhp/rpm201/6,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 350/1,500 Nm/rpm280/2,400 Nm/rpm265/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd DCT/fwd7-spd DCT/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/£10050 litres/£12053 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)590/1,580 litres434/1,237 litres380/1,318 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,365/542/1,600kg1,463/730/1,300kg1,367/503/1,400kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.4 metres/0.29Cd10.4 metres/0.71Cd10.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs4yrs (100,000)/4yrs7yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/13518,000 miles (1yr)/15810,000 miles (1yr)/187
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.3rd/15th8th/1st14th/9th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars93/86/66/66/5 (2013)88/87/71/71/5 (2015)89/88/61/86/5 (2012)
    
0-60/30-70mph6.4/5.0 secs7.6/6.5 secs7.5/6.5 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.6/3.9 secs3.7/4.9 secs3.2/4.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th5.6/7.6 secs/N/A4.9/6.9/9.5 secs5.4/6.6 secs/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 152mph/2,000rpm143mph/2,500rpm143mph/2,750rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 48.3/35.4/8.6m51.7/38.8/9.4m48.5/35.3/9.3m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph59/58/63/71dB52/67/67/72dB54/61/66/74dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range33.4/7.4/367 miles30.7/6.8/338 miles25.9/5.7/302 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 34.0/52.3/44.1mpg36.2/57.7/47.1mpg29.1/47.9/38.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 7.5/11.5/9.7mpl8.0/12.7/10.4mpl6.4/10.5/8.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket195/146g/km/26%213/134g/km/23%252/170g/km/31%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSeven/yes/yes/£300Six/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB*Yes/yes/yes/£315Yes/yes/yes/£400^No/yes/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£925/£250Yes/no/yesYes/part-leather/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£360/yes/£400£525/LED/yes£530/yes/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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