From £15,920
Capable but far from perfect mid-size estate car

Our Verdict

Renault Megane
It's hard to make a case for any of the non-sporting Megane range

The Renault Megane looks bland, and it's not that good to drive either

What is it?

This is the Renault Megane Sport Tourer, which most people would refer to as an estate. It’s the fifth Megane derivative to go on sale, after the hatch, coupe, Grand Scenic and Scenic.

The Sport Tourer is 62mm longer than the hatch, and Renault is hoping it will lure potential Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra buyers away thanks to its combination of space, practicality and good looks.

Buyers face a dizzying array of 21 engine and trim combinations. We tried the 158bhp 2.0 litre dCi 160, which is the most powerful diesel in the range, and the Dynamique trim level. Unfortunately this combination won’t go on sale in the UK – but the two will be available separately.

Next generation Renault Megane Sports Tourer unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow

What’s it like?

No matter how hard Renault tries to get away from the fuddy-duddy associations of the estate name by calling this the Sport Tourer, it still has to be judged by the same standards. First and foremost that means trying to lure buyers looking for space and practicality.

Those 62mm over the hatch have been used well. There’s lots of knee room for rear-seat passengers and the boot opens out to an impressive 1600 litres. The front passenger seat also folds forward to open load length up to an impressive 2.55 metres – good enough for most DIY needs.

Opening up this space isn’t entirely practical, though. To fold the rear seats back you first have to flip up the seat bases (and make room for them by pushing the front seats forward), and the space you are then left with has a step in it that dents usability.

The interior of the car is pleasant, without being dazzling. The materials and dash layout are simple and effective, the range of adjustments good for any size or shape of driver and the array and type of storage areas impressive.

However, no matter how comfortable the driver, it’s still tricky to see out the back thanks to the sloping roofline and thick rear pillars. If the headrests are up, this problem becomes even worse.

Cabin comfort is also dented by slight wind and road noise, the latter in particular rising to the point of being irritating as the road quality deteriorates. The ride and handling are adequate at all times, but never stand out as being anything better than average.

The 158bhp 2.0-litre unit is the most powerful diesel in the range and, while it’s clear it would cope with a fully-laden car comfortably, it always feels punchy rather than fast. It also sounds a little gruff if you work it hard. Its economy and emissions figures should mean it doesn’t cost a lot to run, though.

Dynamique is the second trim level up, and adds £1600-£1700 to the price of the base car. Extra kit includes 16-inch sport wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth and MP3 connections, a leather steering wheel, front fog lights, a hands-free key card and cruise control.

Should I buy one?

Maybe. The Renault Megane Sport Tourer is a reasonable car at reasonable money. It carries a £950 premium over the hatch, and that makes it around £500 less or more than comparable models from the rival Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra ranges, depending what level you go for. However, it does have the benefit of being newer than these rivals, and if you can live with the compromises and shortcomings, it could be the car for you.

Join the debate

Comments
19

19 June 2009

Curiously enough, in France, they market this as the erm, Megane Estate...

19 June 2009

At nearly £22,000? They must be joking!!

19 June 2009

[quote Squonk61]Curiously enough, in France, they market this as the erm, Megane Estate...[/quote]

Ah, but the French don't have a brand and labeling hang-up like the Brits do;)

Plus, it's almost funny how Autocar knocks Renault for using the term Sport Tourer, but lets Audi and Co get away with calling their overpriced hatchbacks "SportBack" or some such bo11ocks.

20 June 2009

[quote Dan McNeil]Ah, but the French don't have a brand and labeling hang-up like the Brits do;)[/quote]

Spot on Dan - and the Renault IMHO is way better looking than the Astra/Focus/Golf estates, even if it doesn't have their on-track abilities.

Perhaps Renault should call it an estate in the UK as well - but then it would be criticised for having a tailgate that sloped too much and was more akin to a Sports Tourer...

20 June 2009

[quote Squonk61]Spot on Dan - and the Renault IMHO is way better looking than the Astra/Focus/Golf estates, even if it doesn't have their on-track abilities. [/quote] Agree with that. Focus: dull. Golf: duller. Astra: So unmemorable, I cannot recall what one looks like. Does it even exist? As for the overrated on track abilities that car journos obsess about, in my experience, it's mostly down to driver ability (or sheer insanity) rather than chassis ability - unless the car is a complete dog chassis-wise (which no car today really is) when it comes to tearing across country.

20 June 2009

The Megane ST is a handsome beast, i love the grille - less nose, very french. But then i am in a minority who find the new Magane hatch very attractive (more so than the previous model).

I wish people would take time before condemning new models for the way they look just because they are a departure from whats gone before (Ka, Megane etc) .

The new Megane has an excellent stance on its long wheelbase (again very french) and its interior is classy and well made on the model i drove.

I dont care if it only gets within 8/10 of the drving capabilities of the Focus most of us will never take a car anywhere near its limits, there are other more subtle pleasures to be had from driving.

20 June 2009

Renault.

A car company losing their way. Want an example of how not to do it? - Renault or Porsche.

20 June 2009

Renault have done well to say it's still a family type car. Enough space in the back large boot and yet this is the Sport Tourer Mégane. I think the reason for this is they just can't make a good sporty type car. They are trying hard but the results aren't exactly sport car quality. I don't think can ever make a great sporty car.

20 June 2009

[quote Winston]Want an example of how not to do it? - Renault or Porsche.[/quote]

I think differently. Renault has changed direction. Sure the economic downturn is holding back plans but if you look through whats in the pipeline its pretty good for when things look up.

Links with Nissan have proved very fruitful for both parties.

Dacia - has proved massively successful the world over

Lada - We have seen nothing yet but Russia is potentially a huge market and linking with a home producer is a smart move.

Samsung - Links with a Korean manufacturer an equally smart move.

Renault are closer than many with electric power and moving out of the "premium" sector is not such a bad move no French car in my memory had ever proved successful so why waste the money.

Finally and by all accounts the new Renaultsport Clio 200 is sublime, top marks Renault.

Porsche have just been greedy, you cannot compare the two.

20 June 2009

[quote Winston]

Renault.

A car company losing their way. Want an example of how not to do it? - Renault or Porsche.

[/quote] You must work in marketing, because that's just noise. Care to offer some objective and well argued criticism instead?

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