Renault Megane ST vs Peugeot 308 SW vs Vauxhall Astra ST
Renault’s stylish new Mégane Sport Tourer faces up to its Vauxhall and Peugeot rivals. Which of our trio comes out on top?
In a logical world, estate cars would reign supreme. Mixing a standard hatch’s comfort, handling and running costs with plenty of space, they should be king of the family runarounds. Yet the recent glut of trendy SUVs and crossovers has left these traditional load-carriers in the shade.
However, Renault is hoping to reverse that trend with its new Mégane Sport Tourer. Based on the desirable five-door model, it’s turned on the style in an effort to prove that you can buy a sensible estate with your heart and head.
It’s not the only compact estate that’s vying to prove big doesn’t mean boring. Vauxhall’s sleek Astra Sports Tourer sets the standard for fun, and is packed with cutting-edge kit and a robust cabin. Then there’s the Peugeot 308 SW, which packs the sector’s biggest boot. We test all three as diesels; which of our great estates tastes victory?
Renault Megane Sport Tourer
|Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 108bhp|
|0-60mph: 11.1 seconds|
|Test economy: 49.6mpg/10.9mpl|
|Annual road tax: £0|
Renault’s latest Mégane made a winning debut in hatch form, so the pressure is on for this practical Sport Tourer. Featuring the same engines and trims as the standard car, the spacious newcomer certainly has all the right ingredients. For its first road test assessment, we sample it in expected best-selling £22,350 Dynamique S Nav guise.
Car group tests
Tester's notes: Sport Tourer is available with 4CONTROL four-wheel steering, which can turn rear tyres by up to 2.7 degrees, boosting agility and stability. It comes only on £27,450 flagship.
Peugeot 308 SW
|Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 118bhp|
|0-60mph: 9.7 seconds|
|Test economy: 51.7mpg/11.3mpl|
|Annual road tax: £0|
The 308 SW is one of the leading contenders in the compact estate class, thanks in no small part to its cavernous boot, low running costs and generous amount of standard kit. The load-carrier line-up mirrors that of the standard hatchback in terms of engines and trim levels, and here we test the mid-range £23,375 1.6 HDi Allure – although the car in our pictures is a lesser Active model.
Tester's notes: Standard Allure models get stylish 17-inch alloys as standard, but in an effort to reduce aerodynamic drag and boost efficiency, the 1.6-litre HDi 120 gets smaller 16-inch rims.
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
|Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 134bhp|
|0-60mph: 8.9 seconds|
|Test economy: 50.4mpg/11.1mpl|
|Annual road tax: £20|
The Sports Tourer Estate was the second bodystyle to be launched in the Vauxhall Astra range, and the line-up largely follows that of the five-door hatchback, with power coming from 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, plus 1.6 diesels. Here we test the £23,390 134bhp 1.6 CDTi SRi Nav, but the car in our pictures is a more luxurious Elite version.
Tester's notes: The £1,250 LEDs look pricey next to Renault’s £500 upgrade, but are more sophisticated. Adaptive matrix system automatically alters beam to suit road, conditions and motorists.
First place: Renault Megane ST
By adding a roomy and versatile estate, Renault has further broadened the Megane's already impressive appeal. Handsome, roomy, refined, well equipped and cheap to run, it's a fine alternative to more fashionable crossovers. It's also supremely comfortable with class-leading refinement
Second place: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
If you value driving thrills as much as lugging loads, then the Astra should top your shopping list. It can't match its rivals here for outright space, plus it trails on kit, but its engaging handling and punchy performance make these issues easier to overlook. Factor in the Vauxhall's lengthy list of safety kit and OnStar service, and it runs the Megane very close for victory.
Third place: Peugeot 308 SW
It's a measure of how competitive this class is that a car as capable as the 308 SW takes third place. It still leads the way for space, while Allure trim is loaded with kit. Factor in cosseting comfort and low running costs, and its appeal is clear. However, time is catching up with the Peugeot, and it's let down by its dated infotainment, weak residuals and lack of family-friendly touches.
Ford Focus Estate 1.5 TDCi ST-Line
The Ford Focus is getting on a bit now, but racy new ST-Line trim helps boost model’s appeal, while sharp handling makes it a top choice for keen drivers. Frugal 1.5-litre diesel engine is smooth and costs peanuts to run.
Kia Cee'd SW 1.6 CRDi GT-Line
Recently revised Cee'd SW gets sporty makeover with GT-Line models, while the 1.6-litre diesel engine matches the Astra for power. It lacks the sophistication of its rivals here, but it is great value, well equipped and spacious too.
Facts and figures
|Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.5 dCi Dynamique Nav S||Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi 136 Sri Nav||Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 Hdi 120 Allure|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£22,350/£24,875||£23,390/£23,390||£23,375/£23,375|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£8,202/36.7%||£8,233/35.2%||£7,550/32.3%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£847/£1,694.4||£933/£1,867||£840/£1,679|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,330/£2,216||£1,309/£2,181||£1,276/£2,126|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||15/£705/A/£0||15/£500/B/£20||21/£823/A/£0|
|Servicing costs||£299 (3yrs/30k)||£636 (3yrs/60k)||£12.99 p/m (3yrs/35k)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,461cc||4cyl in-line/1,598cc||4cyl in-line/1,560cc|
|Peak power/revs||108/4,000 bhp/rpm||134/3,500 bhp/rpm||118/3,500 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||250/1,750 Nm/rpm||320/2,000 Nm/rpm||300/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||47 litres/foam||48 litres/foam||53 litres/space-saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||580/1,695 litres||540/1,630 litres||660/1,775 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.2 metres/N/ACd||11.1 metres/0.28Cd||10.8 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||18,000 (1yr)/158||20,000 (1yr)/338||16,000 (1yr)/283|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||8th/1st||25th/22nd||17th/10th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars||88/87/71/71/5 (2015)||86/84/83/75/5 (2015)||92/79/64/81/5 (2013)|
|0-60/30-70mph||11.1/10.7 secs||8.9/8.4 secs||9.7/9.3 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||4.0/6.2 secs||3.3/4.6 secs||4.3/6.9 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||8.9/11.5 secs||6.2/8.1 secs||8.4/15.8 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||116mph/2,000rpm||127mph/2,000rpm||121mph/1,600rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||68/42/62/69dB||66/44/62/71dB||66/48/60/68dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||49.6/10.9/513 miles||50.4/11.1/532 miles||51.7/11.3/603 miles 78.5/88.3/85.6mpg|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||153/96g/km/19%||150/104g/km/20%|
|Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEB*||£1,200/y/y/£400^||£1,320/yes/yes/yes||Yes/£1,500/£1,500**|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/£1,000/no||£405/no/£355||£525/yes/£415|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go||£545/£500/yes||£555/£1,250/£405||Yes/yes/yes/yes|