From £16,5507
Sports Tourer estate is competent enough, but its best rivals provide more space and better dynamics

Our Verdict

Renault Megane Dynamique Nav S

New platform, fresh looks and a better cabin raise its game. Is it now a front runner?

30 November 2016

What is it?

Here we have the distinctive fourth-generation Mégane in more practical Sport Tourer form. Since the last-generation version appeared on our roads, the C-segment estate class has been infiltrated by newcomers, most notably the Seat Leon ST, which, like the Leon  hatch, ticks many boxes. The new load-lugging Mégane has some ground to make up, then.

Behind its distinctive nose, you’ll find a selection of four engines from which to choose at launch. They are two petrols and two diesels, including the Renault Sport-tweaked 202bhp turbocharged petrol engine, which is mated to a dual-clutch automatic transmission and four-wheel steering. However, our slightly less energetic test car comes with the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Renault will expand the Mégane’s engine range in 2017, with a more powerful diesel and a hybrid assist powertrain joining the fray. The latter will pair Renault’s 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi unit with an electric motor.

The new Sport Tourer dimensions is slightly longer than its predecessor but remains the same width, while Renault has gone to great lengths to give its new estate a more aggressive stance. It has achieved this by lowering the suspension and revising its geometry to reduce the roofline by 20mm, as well as widening the front and rear tracks.

Inside, the Mégane Sport Tourer is similar to the hatchback. It features Renault’s R-Link 2 infotainment system, with a higher-specification unit, which uses an 8.7in portrait touchscreen display, fitted to pricier trim levels. The rear seats have also been revised, with leg and knee room all being improved thanks to an 11mm extension of the wheelbase over that of the old Mégane.

The boot, however, comes with 521 litres of space available with the seats up, which makes it less capacious than the outgoing version.

What's it like?

Renault's 1.6-litre diesel engine is surprisingly inaudible, even during a cold start on our sub-zero test drive, and remains so until you exceed 3000rpm, at which point it goes from grumbling to clattering as you rise through the rev range. There's plentiful torque to exploit from as little as 1400rpm, making painless work of getting up to speed and carrying out safe overtakes. Progress is further aided by the relatively slick six-speed manual gearbox.

The Mégane's steering is light and precise, making it easy to turn in and judge how much lock is needed. It's relatively numb, however, which, in addition to pronounced body roll, means it's not as engaging to drive as some of its closest rivals.

However, out on rutted British roads, the Mégane does a remarkably good job of providing a cosseting ride. Only larger potholes cause thuds and vibrations to pass through the cabin, and it never loses its composure outright.

Inside, everything is logically laid out. Our mid-spec Dynamique S Nav test car sported a decent amount of soft-touch plastics and premium-feeling trim materials, with the lower-rent plastics left mainly out of sight.  

Space is good, too, with plenty of room and adjustment for the front passengers. The rear seats provide ample knee room for even tall adults, but head and shoulder space is at more of a premium given the slightly sloping roofline.

As already mentioned, the ST's boot is slightly smaller than before, leaving it trailing behind the likes of Vauxhall Astra and Leon, not to mention the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia estates. That said, the available boot space is quite practical, with a wide opening and no load lip making it easy to lift bulky items into the back. There's a quick-release function for the folding rear seats, too, adding to the convenience.

Should I buy one?

If you are looking for a practical family-sized estate then look elsewhere first: the Seat Leon and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourers both offer far more boot space and practicality. However, given the Mégané's easy-going nature and supple ride, it's a viable alternative, but consider what your priorities are first: an easy life or more boot space?

If only a Mégane Sport Tourer will do, then this more powerful 128bhp diesel is the one to go for. it loses out slightly on economy and emissions, but its refined and torquey nature makes it the more compelling choice.

Renault Mégane Sport Tourer  dCi 130 Dynamique S Nav

Location Gloucestershire; On sale Now; Price £26,950; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, diesel; Power 128bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1429kg;  0-62mph 10.0sec; Top speed 123mph; Fuel economy 70.6mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK 128g/km, 20%; Rivals Seat Leon Sports Tourer, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Join the debate

Comments
9

JRL

30 November 2016
I don't understand the pricing of the new Megane. The Vauxhall Astra Bi-Turbo Estate is faster, just as economical, better for the environment, has a bigger boot and is over £3,500 cheaper.

This car significantly out-prices its vastly superior rivals, I'll be surprised if I see many of these on the road, despite how good it looks.

30 November 2016
JRL wrote:

I don't understand the pricing of the new Megane. The Vauxhall Astra Bi-Turbo Estate is faster, just as economical, better for the environment, has a bigger boot and is over £3,500 cheaper.

This car significantly out-prices its vastly superior rivals, I'll be surprised if I see many of these on the road, despite how good it looks.

Its just a spec level. You can have the same 1.6 diesel engine in a lower trim (still with nav) for a lot less

JRL

1 December 2016
I get that, however the Astra Elite (top spec model) is £24k with the 160 bi-turbo engine, the base spec Megane is £22k with the DCi 130 engine, I would argue that this really is a pricing own goal.

30 November 2016
This new model already looks like an also-ran from well down the list of 'best choices'. I finally saw one of the hatches on the road today and - rear light signature aside (which is the most gaudy LED strip this side of a Poundstretcher Xmas display) - there is nothing memorable about it. Contrast with the Le Quement work of genius of the last but one Megane and its siblings, which was popular and stylish, if a little so-so to drive (RS version excepted).
The car-buying public gets what it deserves, unfortunately ...

30 November 2016
Bishop wrote:

This new model already looks like an also-ran from well down the list of 'best choices'. I finally saw one of the hatches on the road today and - rear light signature aside (which is the most gaudy LED strip this side of a Poundstretcher Xmas display) - there is nothing memorable about it. Contrast with the Le Quement work of genius of the last but one Megane and its siblings, which was popular and stylish, if a little so-so to drive (RS version excepted).

Sad indeed, not just for the Mégane but for the entire range, up until the last few years I cannot remember a time when there wasn't a Renault, any Renault owned by someone in our family, now no one owns one.

jer

30 November 2016
One of these as hire car. I think it drives really well. Better steering than springy focus. I didn't notice much roll and was driving the wheels off it at times,mature ride feels a stiff platform, even when pushing, decent enough build, a few navigation ergonomic issues. Dreadful French style vague gearbox. But overall better than you may think.

1 December 2016
Can't understand the pricing because for £24,750 i.e. £2,000 LESS you could have a 2.0 petrol turbo GT NAV with 220 hp. OK you'd have less bling and after 1 and half years you'd be equal on cost and the next 18 months will cost you more in fuel but then you'd recoup that at resale time.
Life's to short sometimes to worry about a few hundred quid over 3 years

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 December 2016
Not an attractive or appealing car, inside or out. Even though it's an estate it doesn't do anything for me.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

21 December 2016
What is going on with Renault on CO2 levels?

For a 130bhp diesel they're talking 128g/km - Vauxhall will sell you a new Astra Sports Tourer of 101g/km.

If you're a company car driver it's a no brainer - the Vauxhall is cheaper on the P11D and much lower on the CO2 - which means far less tax.

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