FIRST and foremost, the new Renault Megane Sport Tourer is, I think, one of the most stylish family estates now available.
That's a big claim but trust me - the photos don't really do it justice. You need to see and drive this car before masking a judgement.
Priced from Â£18,550 on-the-road, it's not only stylish, it's also packed with the kind of exciting features and technologies not normally seen in family cars.
And, as a family car, it's extremely practical with a wealth of space for occupants and their belongings.
With the rear seats in place, there's 521 litres of boot space - 1,504 with them down. There's also plenty of other storage space throughout the cabin.
Offered in a 26-version, six trim line-up there's also one for every family.
The standard Expression+ trim is well-equipped with LED daytime running lamps, 16-inch alloys, tinted windows, all-round electric windows, leather steering wheel Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, a two-way adjustable steering column and height adjustable, extremely comfortable, front seats.
Also standard are Renault's passive safety systems such as six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners at the front, side impact protection bars and ISOFIX child seat mounting points on the two rear outer seats.
Jump to the Dynamique S Nav here and you can add auto headlights and wipers, lane departure warning, traffic sign reconition and automatic high/low beam headlamps, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors, a handsfree keycard, auto dual zone climate control and Renault's ‘Multi-Sense' system which can be used to modify the response of the accelerator and engine, engine sound, steering weight and even the interior's ambient lighting.
It is accessed via the unique-in-class and easy-to-use 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen housing the R-Link2 multimedia system and sat nav.
There's also 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors and privacy glass at the rear.
Should you feel the need for more, the range is also available with adaptive cruise control (ACC), blind spot warning, safe distance warning, handsfree parking and 360-degree parking sensors. To save money, many are available in one of a dozen equipment packages being offered by Renault.
The Dynamique S Nav I was driving came with was fitted with four which added an extra £2,500 to the price. However, this included all the aforementioned features plus full leather upholstery and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with amplifier and subwoofer.
The cabin was a very, very nice place to be.
There's a range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from and a hybrid on its way later this year.
The 1.6-litre DCi 130 is not the fastest or the most economical but it does its job extremely well. I didn't quite match the claimed 70.6mpg - I was well short at 46.5mpg - but that was on a series of short, urban trips. My ‘eco score' was, apparently, 79/100, which surely isn't too bad.
Although it's called a ‘Sport Tourer', the driving dynamics for all but the very latest GT dCi 165, are really designed for comfort and refinement.
The ride is very hushed and the cabin is spacious and comfy - plenty of head and legroom even for adults in the rear. The soft and supple suspension also soaks up all but the harshest of bumps and lumps in the road.
It's no hot estate but the gearshift is slick and smooth, there's plenty of grip, and the 1.6 dCi powerplant is eager to please even without out and out power of the ‘space with pace' models. Given the chance, it's a pleasing, enjoyable motor to put through its paces.