2012 Renault Megane Sport Tourer review
* 2012 Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.2 TCe * Stop-start and 119g/km CO2 * On sale now, from 19,125...
The new engine replaces the previous 1.6-litre petrol; it develops 113bhp, which is an improvement of 5bhp, and boosts torque by 30lb to 140lb ft. Engine stop-start technology comes as standard. Average fuel economy is 25% better at 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 44g/km lower, at 119g/km.
Renault has also added fuel-saving regenerative braking technology, which stores the energy generated under braking and uses it to power the car's electrical systems.
There are also mild cosmetic tweaks, including new gloss black bumper inserts, chrome headlight surrounds, LED daytime running lights and a new range of alloy wheels.
What's the 2012 Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.2 TCe like to drive?
The TCe engine is impressively smooth and refined. A 0-62mph time of 12.9 seconds is adequate, and the power delivery is gradual rather than coming in a large turbocharged chunk. The decent gearbox and clutch make progress through the gears a stress-free experience. Importantly, the TCe's 140lb ft of torque feels as though it can handle the extra weight of passengers and luggage that the Sport Tourer designed is to carry.
New turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine is more efficient than the 1.6 it replaces
Unfortunately, once up to motorway speed, the engine starts to feel out of its depth and outside-lane overtaking takes some planning. That said, with its sixth gear, the engine remains quiet at the legal limit. Wind noise isn't too intrusive, but road noise (our car had no-cost optional 17-inch alloy wheels rather than standard 16-inch versions) is an issue at higher speeds.
The Megane Sport Tourer falls short on ride quality, too. The suspension feels stiff, which helps to keep things well controlled through bends, but the car struggles to deal with potholes and uneven surfaces.
Whats the 2012 Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.2 TCe like inside?
Inside is where it really counts for an estate car, and in terms of sheer practicality it's good news. For starters, the Megane's boot capacity is 524 litres with the rear seats up, which is larger than the equivalent Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Golf Estate.
The space continues up front, where there's decent headroom for the front passengers and enough seat and wheel adjustment to help the driver get comfortable.
Rear passengers are treated to decent headroom, too, but legroom is tight, despite a 61mm increase in wheelbase compared with the hatchback version. With the rear seats folded down flat, the Megane continues to beat most rivals for space; 1600 litres is more than a Ford Focus Estate can muster.
Beyond impressive space, though, the Megane struggles to keep up. The interior feels cheap and the plastics used aren't of the quality you'd find in the Focus or Golf.
Worse still are the infotainment controls. Our test car came in Dynamique TomTom trim, so had the built-in TomTom sat-nav system. It's complicated to use and the screen graphics are less sophisticated than the latest units in many rivals.
All the controls for the sat-nav are located in front of the centre console, too, away from the radio, telephone and music switchgear, so it can be a confusing task to switch between the two.
Should I buy one?
If you're after a classy cabin and the latest and greatest of infotainments systems, then this Megane is not for you.
On the other hand, the Megane is more than 1000 cheaper than the equivalent Golf estate and its low CO2 emissions means road tax of just 30 a year. Showroom discounts of at least 2200 are easily achievable, too, and there's the reassurance of Renault's four-year warranty and servicing package.
Consequently, if you're more concerned about interior space and decent running costs, then the Megane Sport Tourer makes a much stronger case for itself.
What Car? says