Used test – hot hatches: Renault Sport Megane vs Vauxhall Astra VXR

Red alert! These two scorching hot hatches are now fantastic value used buys. But which one is more worthy of your hard-earned?

Words By What Car? team

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Renault Megane Renault Sport vs Vauxhall Astra VXR

Our Verdict

The Vauxhall Astra VXR is immensely appealing in many ways. It’s undeniably a handsome thing, especially when garnished with the optional Aero Pack, as are our test car and many of the examples you’ll find out there on the market. What’s more, despite being brutally fast and pleasingly dramatic in the noise it produces, it’s also remarkably comfortable and quietens down nicely when you’re just cruising along.

But power is nothing without control, as the old Pirelli adverts used to say. And in the Astra, control is rather too lacking. The steering doesn’t provide you with the same sort of confidence as the Megane's, and combined with the way it squirms and writhes under power, that makes driving it a bit of a wrestling match.

The Renault Megane RS 265 Cup, on the other hand, isn’t quite as quiet or as comfortable as the Astra, so long trips can be a touch more wearing. But if you’re buying a hot hatch, the chances are that you’ll be prepared to put up with those minor shortcomings, and you’ll probably live with the restricted rear visibility and lack of space in the rear, too.

Indeed, for the driving experience the Megane offers, you can forgive almost anything. Not only is it faster than the Astra, but it’s also considerably more fun to drive. Its steering is a delight, the way the chassis responds is a joy, and the performance on offer is an absolute blast. In fact, it’s one of the most entertaining cars on the road – and that alone is enough to win it this test.

Read our review of the latest Renault Megane

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Also consider:

1st – Renault Megane RS 265 Cup

For Precise handling; awesome performance; sensibly priced

Against Poor rear visibility; a bit tight in the back; high maintenance costs

Verdict One of the best hot hatches ever, and a clear winner here

Rated 5 out of 5

Find a used Renault Megane for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

2nd – Vauxhall Astra VXR

For Quiet and comfortable; more spacious than the Megane

Against Vague steering; unruly handling

Verdict Scores well in many areas, but steering just isn’t good enough

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Vauxhall Astra review

Find a used Vauxhall Astra for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

Specifications: Renault Megane RS 265 Cup

List price when new Β£24,840

Price today Β£13,000

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

Power 261bhp

Torque 266lb ft

0-60mph 6.5sec

Top speed 144mph

Fuel economy 34.4mpg (official average)

CO2 emissions 190g/km

Specifications: Vauxhall Astra VXR

List price when new Β£26,995

Price today Β£13,000

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

Power 276bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 6.4sec

Top speed 151mph

Fuel economy 34.9mpg (official average)

CO2 emissions 189g/km

Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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