- We like...Roomy cabin
- We don't...Seats are a fiddle to fold
New small estate car from Renault begins sale during August. Should you spend your cash on it? Find out hereOnce, small estate cars looked plug-ugly. The hatchback or saloon version of the car may have looked fine. But, too often, the load-carrying variant looked as if was an afterthought: given to the design-office junior, who rushed the job before catching the bus home.
Happily that’s no more – and the latest Megane estate is the proof. Because it actually works the trick of looking better – more handsome and complete – than the hatchback. That’s due - in part - to the fact that it’s longer and that the front and rear wheels are further apart than the hatchback’s. Some of the extra room gs, as you’d expect, into making the boot bigger. But a fair bit, too, gs into giving back seat passengers extra head and knee space. That's as well, because taller passengers in the back of the Megane hatchback could find thier scalps brushing the roof lining.
So even if you don’t see your car regularly carrying big loads, it’s still worth considering. But why would you buy this when Renault also makes the Scenic, which is as roomy, more versatile and model for model, a little cheaper?
Driving position. For each of us that’s a fan of the Scenic’s sit-up, see-out driver’s seat, there’s another that prefers the lower-set, in-the-cockpit position you find in a ‘regular’ car. And it’s this more familiar set-up that the Megane offers in spades. While the body’s been extensively re-shaped in the move from hatchback to Sports Tourer, the dash is a carry-over. So, because it uses plastic mouldings that look and feel more expensive than you’d find in previous Meganes, it’s pleasant to behold. And, looking forward, the sense is that you’re in a regular car.
And the Megane’s a restful and refined place to spend time. We drove the 2.0-litre, 160bhp diesel that’s top of the line and it purrs along, serving up a wave of easy power that works well with this Megan’s easy-loping ride. It’s an amazing performer, too. Frugal enough to average up to 47mpg, yet quick enough to dash to 60mph from rest in under 9secs.
So far, so good. But the real test of an estate is how easy it is to load up. In theory, this Megane should be terrific: it’s among the biggest in its class and even the front passenger’s seat drops flat to accommodate long loads.
In practice, though, you must fiddle with the rear seats and perhaps move the front ones, too, to drop them flat. And when you do, there’s a small ‘step’ left across the load bay floor. It’s not ideal.
There’s a big choice of engines and trim levels. Our sense tells us to stick with the cheaper models because, all said, this is a workhorse and the less spent, the better. And we should mention that model for model, its prices compare well against rivals such as the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. But we’re still drawn to look across to the Scenic’s prices. For a car that ds a similar job, they’re usefully cheaper.
To view and buy new and used Renault Meganes, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines2.0 diesel
- 0-60 mph8.8secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: