What are they like inside?
These two both have alloy pedals, figure-hugging sports seats and bespoke instruments and steering wheels to mark them out from more humdrum models.
What’s more, each gives the driver a huge amount of seat and steering wheel adjustment but suffers from awful over-the-shoulder vision, due to very thick rear pillars.
The Renault Sport Megane has the edge for perceived quality, thanks to the dense-soft-touch dashboard plastics it inherits from the regular Megane. However, the dash is rather poorly laid out; for example, the starter button is over by the front passenger on right-hand-drive cars. The stereo is horribly fiddly, too.
Things are only slightly more user-friendly in the Vauxhall Astra VXR, where the centre console has so many buttons that it’s hard to find the one you want at a glance.
However, the Astra is much better than its rival at carrying four people in comfort; there’s loads of head and leg room in both the front and the rear, whereas six-footers will feel cramped in the Megane’s rear seats. The only thing that lets the Astra down is the fact that you have to re-adjust the seat every time you let someone into or out of the back, as the seatback doesn’t return to the position in which you set it. By contrast, the Megane's do just that.
You get a large, well-shaped boot in whichever car you chose, although there’s a big drop down to the boot floor in both, so it’s tricky to load heavy items.
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