Renault's fun estate

Renault Megane Sport Tourer, front
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, front
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, side
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, rear
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, rear
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, interior
Renault Megane Sport Tourer, boot

EVERsince the latest Renault Megane came out, I have been more impressed with every model I've driven.

They are all close to the top of the class in almost every way and that goes just as much for the excellent Sport Tourer estate I drove recently in a week of gales and heavy rain.

Some cars don't instil the driver with confidence in such weather, with roads covered in water, but this one most certainly did.

In GT Line spec near the top of the range, my car was powered by the Renault 1.4Tce turbo petrol engine, which brings very good performance in all six gears.

It's smooth and refined, pulling around most slow corners in town in thirdgear and accelerating away without a murmur of protest. Not many cars will do that even in these days of excellent engine balance and refinement.

It has a marvellous willingness in all six gears giving very good performance at a drop of the right foot, with a delicious soundtrack as the revs rise.

It will even pull well in fifthand sixthgears, after a slight wait for the turbo to kick in under 2,000 revs, but thirdand fourthare the overtaking gears when real urge is required.

This great performance extends to the way it takes the corners and to the quality of the ride - in fact, the whole car has a brilliant feel out on the road.

Take it through a series of bends and it shows a fantastic balance and chassis feel with high levels of grip even on very wet roads.

The steering is reasonably informative, but I would have liked more feel if I'm being picky.

Comfort is good over most surfaces and the suspension takes potholed roads and speedhumps in town very easily.

On a fast and poorly surfaced B road, followed by a series of narrower unclassified roads, it was comfortable and refined, with little wind noise and only a small amount from the tyres.

The front seats are hip and back hugging, and there's enough rear legroom for one six footer to sit behind another.

This is a car that's easy to drive and to live with. The clutch is light, the gearchange is slick and easy in every situation and the brakes are superb.

There is one anomaly though. I would have liked to sit higher but could not raise the seat further because the steering column got in the way of my knee on its highest setting.

Also, the gearchange is too far forward, so I couldn't have the seat back as far as I would have liked because I would not be able to reach it properly.

The car I drove was in a lovely colour and GT Line spec comes with a multi-function steering wheel including remote stereo and cruise controls plus voice activation, and TomTom sat nav with very clear maps that include speed cameras and traffic ahead - both well worth having.

There are personalized drive modes, where the driver can change the digital binnacle to suit themselves and the ambient lighting around the interior. I checked them out, but I find ambient lighting a distraction and always turn it off for safety.

Bluetooth, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and rear parking sensors are all included, together with keyless entry and starting, climate and puddle lights in the underside of the mirrors.

FAST FACTS

Price:£22,050

Mechanical: 140bhp, 1,322cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:127mph

0-62mph:9.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group:19

C02 emissions: 131g/km

Bik rating:30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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