Renault Megane Sport Tourer Dynamique 1.5 dCi 106
Laguna style clues are evident
- Spacious boot and low loading lip
- Comfortable driving position and wide range o f seat adjustment
- Frugal petrol and diesel engine range
- Low cost sat-nav option a welcome alternative to conventional offerings
- Cabin contains a high proportion of hard-to-the-touch plastics
- Ride can feel overly firm on poorly surfaced city streets
- Although affordable sat-nav screen is on the small side
- Exterior styling still has potential to divide opinion
For all the glamour projected by the Megane hatch and coupe models, there is also a practical side to the car in the shape of the Sport Tourer. Maintaining much of the hatchback's bold looks, this Megane boasts a good-size load area.
One thing you can't accuse Renault of and that's offering plenty of choice. Throughout its product line-up there is an abundance of bodystyles and engines to choose from. The French firm's Megane is the perfect example: three and five door hatchbacks plus an estate car a slew of engines are available.
The hatchback and coupe pairing might steal all the limelight but it's the estate - or Sport Tourer - that is the heavy lifter of the family. For all its utilitarian virtues, the Sport Tourer is no less striking on the outside than the other models.
It's inside, though, where the car shines. At the front, this Megane offers plenty of space for a quartet of adults or a growing family, putting to rest the notion that a compact MPV is the only option if your cargo is mainly people. Oddment storage is also good, making it almost as family friendly as a Scenic.
At the back the Megane's flat load bay, accessed via a wide opening tailgate, offers owners the ability to slide in awkward or heavy items with ease. Folding the rear seats forward further extends the car's carrying potential. All the while, performance from the petrol and diesel engines is strong and the car never feels out of its depth performance-wise.
Our verdict on the Renault Megane Sport Tourer Dynamique 1.5 dCi 106
With Renault's Megane Sport Tourer, rakish looks combine with no-nonsense levels of practicality. This added layer of design flair is most welcome in a sector of largely conservative tin boxes. Thankfully the focus on style doesn't come at the expense of versatility. Nor do you have to sacrifice performance - Renault's engine line-up boasts low CO2 units with more than enough power to make light work of most tasks.
While not a bargain basement car to rival the liked of Kia or Hyundai, the Megane Sport Tourer combines good levels of equipment, space and on-road competence. With a number of low CO2 -rated engines offered, it's not hard to save money. Likewise, servicing is likely to be modest and routine.
Space and practicality
As an estate, this Megane is that bit more practical than its hatchback cousin. The car's tailgate opens wide to reveal and flat load bay and only a small load lip. The rear seats fold forward easily to expand on the space available. Up front there's enough oddment space to keep a small family happy, reinforcing the car's status as a compact MPV alternative.
Controls and display
In a departure from previous cars, this Megane boasts a combined analogue and digital main display. The result is a clear and easy to read display, which conveniently compliments the optional TomTom sat-nav unit. The cost option is a welcome departure from regular built-in systems as the asking price is much less. Elsewhere, Renault's trademark intuitive column stalks and remote audio controls pose no problems.
Supportive seats up front and a reasonable amount of space in the rear help make the Megane's cabin a pleasant place to be in. Leg and elbow room at the front is very good, with rear seat occupants facing little in the way of a compromise - unusual for a car in this class. Another plus is the lack of outside noise that finds its way in to the cabin.
Famous for its unusual keycard substitute for a conventional key, depending on the model selected you can take this a step further with complete 'keyless go' by keeping the card in your pocket at all times. Anyone returning to the car in dark, unfamiliar surroundings will appreciate this feature. Combined with the predictable immobiliser package, this is all you will ever need. And being an estate car, the luggage cover is a sturdy one that should have no difficulty keeping out prying eyes.
Renault has worked hard to cultivate its impressive safety reputation, and this Megane is another fine example of what can be done in this sector. With no shortage of airbags front and rear, the standard fit electronic stability aids help keep things in check when conditions are less than ideal.
While this Megane isn't aimed at the keen driver, even with a moderately powerful engine it can be fun to drive. Light but accurate controls, a good driving position and a composed ride all conspire to make even long journeys enjoyable. Refinement levels are good, with little wind, road and engine noise detectable at sensible speeds. The only trade off is the firm ride on poorly surfaced roads - a consequence of the Megane's lack of body roll through corners.
Family car appeal
With the Scenic range the preferred choice for many loyal Renault families, it would be wrong to forget about the Megane Sport Tourer. For some the lower stance makes for a more enjoyable car to drive, while the Megane's boot is more versatile when it comes to combining shopping and pushchairs. The cabin might not boast flip down tables or secret underfloor compartments, but there should be enough oddment space for most people.
First car appeal
There's no reason why this Megane can't be a first car for a novice driver. Renault has engineered it to be easy to driver and park, and these attributes should benefit every driver and not only the novice. Low running costs and the option of low power models are other compelling reasons.
Quality and image
Renault has taken a few knocks in recent years on the quality front thanks to a few reliability issues. The firm has fought back with an enhanced development programme for its cars, and it's easy to see the progress made with the likes of the Clio, Laguna and Megane. Keen to stand out from the crowd, rakish styling is now the norm, and it's done much to enhance the brand's appeal.
Essentially a conventional four-door car, access to the cabin is straightforward. As you would expect, front seat occupants fare better thanks to the wider opening doors. At the rear, access and egress is reasonable - children and agile adults should have no problems.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
As with all modern Renaults, the Megane comes with a high quality audio unit as standard. The inclusion of remote audio controls for the basic functions is welcome. The unit's display is high up in the facia, making it safe to view when on the move. The addition of a TomTom branded sat-nav unit as a low cost option is also welcome, and proves easy to use even if the display is small.
Colours and trim
Bold exterior choices work well with the car's extrovert looks. The Megane's interior is a little more conventional, and the largely dark plastics are more appropriate and durable-looking given the car's predictable role in life.
In estate form the Megane is not a hard car to park. Good rearward visibility ensures that reverse parking into space is a straightforward activity. Light but accurate steering and an easy to modulate throttle help matters.
Space saver fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4 TCe (130bhp); 1.6-litre (100bhp, 110bhp); 2.0-litre TCe (180bhp); 2.0-litre (140bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.5-litre (86bhp, 106bhp); 1.9-litre (130bhp, 150bhp, 160bhp). Transmission options: five and six-speed manual gearbox depending on model, plus CVT auto gearbox (2.0-litre 140bhp petrol only). Trim levels: Expression, Dynamique, TomTom Edition, Privilege.
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