Can the latest handsome estate from Renault challenge the SUV sector?
It’s not an estate car, it’s a Sport Tourer. Compared to the previous Mégane, you can tell this isn’t just an estate car as it sits closer to the road and has more width to it for that sportier look. Which, in turn, means the boot has less carrying capacity, thereby reducing further its similarity to an estate car. Is this a good direction to go in?
We elected to try the car with the lesser-powered diesel, the 1.5-litre dCi with 108bhp. It’s a good engine that is both refined and economical, even if it’s fairly low on energy. Business users are going to notice the carbon emissions figure of only 96g/km, under the magic 100g/km.
2017 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer Dynamique S dCi 110
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Torque: 192lb ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1387kg
Top speed: 116mph
CO2/tax band: 96g/km, 21
Perhaps that’s a bit of a sensible choice for a sporty estate, but then you press on and find the handling is at odds with the image as well. It’s actually quite soft, which on a decent road means you can waft away the miles quite well. If you can find a long stretch of such a road in the UK, please do let us know.
On the more usual broken, potholed and ridged British roads the suspension gives up. It can’t cope with the rapid changes of input and soon you can hear the noise of the suspension struggling and then you can feel it thumping up into the cabin. On a long journey, as many business journeys are, that would be tiring and tiresome.
The steering tells you absolutely nothing about what it’s doing, and understeer is very much the order of the day, with the stability control being really quite heavy-handed.
All that diminishes some of the pleasure to be had sitting in the cabin. The front seats are big and comfy but the rear seats are slightly compromised by that sloping roof line. However, the boot, although diminished, is still a decent and practical space, and we liked the adjustable load floor and the way the folded seats create no lip into the main boot area.
If someone is buying company cars, they may like the look of this on paper, with a decent load space, fine looks and low emissions. But the end user won’t enjoy driving it on the road so much. It’s not up to, say, a Skoda Octavia, which is about the same price and will hold its value better. Worth looking around.