From £16,5506
With the 1.5-litre diesel, the Renault Mégane Sport Tourer is refined and frugal but disappointing to drive

Our Verdict

Renault Megane Dynamique Nav S

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

What is it?

As a general rule of thumb, style sells. From tables to toasters, eggcups to estate cars and anything else you care to think of, if something looks good, people will probably buy it before something that looks ugly or just plain boring.

In car terms, the stylish option at the moment is, of course, the SUV. Handily, these do a good job of making you look good to a decent chunk of the population whilst also having room for snowboards, surfing gear or (more realistically) the needs of a family.

With that in mind, the traditional estate has to try harder than ever to appeal. That brings us to the Renault Mégane Sport Tourer, here in frugal 1.5 dCi 110 guise. We’ve already had a go in the more potent 1.6-litre diesel, but how does a longer spell in the lesser oil-burner pan out?

What's it like?

Compared with the old load-lugging Mégane, the latest version sits lower and wider to emphasise the Sport aspect of its name. The trouble is that in doing so, Renault has reduced boot capacity so it’s now a little less than an Astra Sports Tourer and significantly worse than a long-roof Octavia. That’s not to say it isn’t practical - there are nice touches like handles to fold the rear seats in the boot, an adjustable load floor and the usual array of optional cargo restraints to make securing a variety of loads easy. It’s also good to see no step up from the boot floor to the rear seats when they’re folded, all the better to load up on flatpack furniture.

Rear seat space isn’t bad assuming you’re not too tall. Leg room isn’t bad at all for the class, but head room is limited by that lowered roof line. As for the front, there’s ample room and the seats are nice and comfy. Although we liked the return of velour, the faux leather felt very plasticky. Our test car came with Renault’s 8.7in portrait orientated touchscreen infotainment system. It certainly has plenty of functionality but we found the menus to be more confusing than they needed to be with many icons that were too small to hit accurately.

As for quality, there’s plenty of soft-touch plastic and of course the luxuriant feel of velour beneath you. The trouble is that there’s an awful lot of unattractive satin finish plastic, especially around the infotainment screen that makes the interior feel a bit cheap overall.

On the road, the Mégane’s suspension setup seems totally at odds with the Sport bit of its name. The springs feel soft, and on smooth but undulating surfaces, this means a relaxed feel that makes the pronounced body roll acceptable. Of course, the UK isn’t known for its high-quality road network – once on a roughly surfaced road, things quickly fall apart. Even on relatively small 17in wheels, the suspension just can’t cope with sudden shocks. At best, you hear the suspension thumping over the obstacle but most of the time you’ll feel it as well, shattering any calm there may have been.

It’s no fun either; the steering is too light in Comfort and Neutral modes, although, to be fair, the weighting isn’t bad in Sport mode. The trouble is that even with the nose ploughing on, that weighting doesn’t change. There is literally no feedback at all.

You’d best get used to understeer, too. Non-switchable stability control is quick to get involved and as subtle as a kick in the trousers. If there is fun to be had, we didn’t find it. As for the engine, it’s no ball of fire but it isn’t hard to achieve more than 50mpg if you drive very carefully. It’s also impressively refined for a small four-pot diesel.

Should I buy one?

If style sells to you, then you might be tempted by the Mégane Sport Tourer. It looks distinctive and as a 1.5 dCi has the benefit of a refined diesel engine that is capable of excellent economy and has carbon emissions of under 100g/km. That’s very tempting for a business user.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend you buy one before its more rounded estate rivals. An Octavia is available for similar money, will depreciate less, is better to drive and far more spacious. Yes, the new nose is stylistically challenged but it’s a far better car.

2017 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer Dynamique S dCi 110

Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £22,350; Engine 4cyl, 1461cc, diesel; Power 108bhp at 4000rpm Torque 192lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox Six-speed manual; Kerb weight 1387kg; 0-62mph 11.3secs; Top speed 116mph Economy 76.4mpg CO2/tax band 96g/km, 21%; Rivals Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6CDTi 110, Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI

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Comments
3

3 March 2017
Another biased review... I would really like to see someone who wants something to go fast round the corner and is looking at underpowered family estate. I don't understand reviewers that think people will se difference day between 2 cars in day to day driving.

4 March 2017
As a company car driver - show me a new Octavia estate in these post VAG emission-gate times with CO2 of less than 100g and I'll show you some unicorn droppings.

4 March 2017
A Vauxhall Astra on the other hand can easily match the Megane's Co2 and has a lower list price /P11D value as well.

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