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Still like big butts? Image by Mark Nichol.

Still like big butts?
Renault dropped the Mégane's jutting, opinion-dividing rump for this generation. Well, the Sport Tourer brings the big butt back.

 



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| First Drive | Paris, France | Renault Mégane Sport Tourer |

Since the big-bottomed, last-generation Mégane hit the shelves in 2002 Renault has taken a Russian doll approach to it, using the nomenclature to identify an entire family of cars ranging from medium-sized to massive. With the release of this Sport Tourer (ST), the current generation of the family is complete, ordered thus: three-door coupé, a five-door hatch, Sport Tourer Estate, Scenic and Grand Scenic.

Renault has kept the grandiloquent 'Sport Tourer' name, but for those who can't see right through this sort of flowery marketing guff, it's the estate. Remember them?

In the Metal

Imagine, if you can, a Mégane hatch (that's the five-door one, not the coupé, which is the three-door one - they used to be called hatchbacks too, remember?) but with a box on the back. Viola, as the French say: the Mégane Sport Tourer.

Technically, despite our appellation-based disparagement, the Sport Tourer is quite sporty in that you can fit more ping pong bats and swingball sets in the boot than you can in, say, the coupé. The boot is impressively large: 524 litres, or 1,600 litres with the seats folded - making it noticeably bigger than the Ford Focus Estate's. The hatch's floorpan has been stretched slightly to make the ST more commodious for both rear leg room and boot space, but in the flesh it still has a compact, nose down and - dare we say it - sporty stance.

Otherwise it's Mégane as usual, which means it's fashioned from soft-touch surfaces and laid out neatly and it's comfortable because there's lots of seat and wheel adjustment.

What you get for your Money

There's a massive range of engines and models, totalling 21 available versions priced from £15,485 to £22,785. The trim levels - Expression, Dynamique, TomTom Edition and Privilege - all have air conditioning, ESP, keyless ignition and roof bars as standard and Renault of course claims that their car is slightly cheaper than rivals when spec is taken into account. In reality, it's as similar as peers from Peugeot et al as makes no difference.

There are nine engines at launch - four petrol and five diesel - with power outputs ranging from 85bhp to 178bhp and of the 21 variations of specification and engine, five come with CO2 of 120g/km or below (those powered by the 1.5 dCi 106 engine), which equals only £35 in VED tax.

Driving it

All the cars at the ST's launch were top-whack Privilege editions powered by the 2.0-litre dCi 160 engine and while that's certainly a lovely engine and spec combo, at £22k it's probably not the one most will go for. However, the dCi unit is an impressively gutsy thing and if we were choosing our very own Mégane Sports Tourer and using it for the business of shifting loads of gear from one place to another, it's very possibly the one we'd choose above any other, because it's torquey enough to feel genuinely quick and, thanks to a pleasant six-speed 'box with decent ratios, it's a refined motorway cruiser.

Worth Noting

Renault wants the ST to be considered a genuinely sporty way of carrying stuff about, so it had on display during the launch a fully body-kitted version, resplendent with body coloured side skirts, a front splitter and a set of deliciously incongruous big polished alloys. You'll be able to get it retrofitted at your local dealer for an eye-watering £1,150 (not including the wheels or labour) if you really need that sort of street cred from your family estate.

Summary

Renault's new Mégane Sport Tourer is good, but it suffers from the same 'so slick it's dull' syndrome as the hatch; there's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but equally there's nothing to excite. It's comfortable, spacious and it feels well made; it also rides and handles with a comfortable predictability and that's about it. It's an odd thing to say - and perhaps testament to how much Renault has changed of late - but this is a slick yet pedestrian choice.

Further Reading

Road test: Renault Mégane 1.9 dCi five-door
First drive: Renault Mégane Coupé
First drive: Renault Mégane five-door
Predecessor road test: Renault Mégane Sport Tourer
Rival first drive: Kia cee'd SW
Rival road test: Peugeot 308 SW

Mark Nichol - 18 Jun 2009









  www.renault.co.uk    - Renault road tests
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2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Renault.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 

2009 Renault Mégane Sport Tourer. Image by Mark Nichol.
 






 

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