Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
There are three engine choices for the Megané Sport Tourer: a 1.3-litre TCe petrol, a 1.5-litre dCi diesel and an E-Tech plug-in hybrid. The latter is our pick of the bunch. It combines a 1.6-litre non-turbo petrol engine with two electric motors and a 9.8kWh battery pack for a combined output of 158bhp. How does that fare among the PHEV competition? Well, it’s more powerful than a Kia Ceed Sportswagon but much less than a Peugeot 508 SW or Skoda Superb iV.
0-62mph takes a reasonable 9.8sec, but when you push for maximum acceleration there’s something of a pause while the engine builds revs and this can make joining a busy road more fraught than it needs to be. Once on song the performance is fine, but the E-Tech never feels as immediately muscular as the Superb iV.
At low speeds, such as when trundling around town, you’ll find the electric motor provides surprisingly urgent acceleration on its own. The transition from electric to petrol power is smoother and less hesitant than it is in the 508 SW PHEV, and the automatic gearbox changes cogs smoothly. According to official figures it’ll manage 30 miles on electricity alone, but you should expect to get more like 20-25 in the real world, eking out the longest range if you predominantly drive in urban areas.
For diesel devotees, the four-cylinder 1.5 Blue dCi 115 is less rowdy and emits fewer vibrations than the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer’s three-cylinder diesel engine, but can’t match the Octavia 2.0 TDI 115 for smoothness or low-down shove. Sure, it's adequate if it’s just you and a passenger in the car, but if you carry a full load you might find yourself shuffling gears through the slick six-speed manual gearbox to keep the momentum up. We’re yet to try the 1.3 TCe turbocharged petrol, but its 138bhp should make it feel a fair bit perkier than the diesel. Even so, rivals such as the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, Ford Focus Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate offer more powerful engines.
On the road the Megané is soft and forgiving, but larger potholes will cause sharp and sudden vibrations to shimmer up to your posterior, and undulating country roads can cause it to float somewhat. This float is a bit more noticeable in the plug-in hybrid, if nowhere near as pronounced as the 508 SW. The Focus or Ceed Sportswagon both recover their composure far more quickly after a challenging crest or compression.
Road and wind noise is well suppressed, with only the gentle whipping of air around the wing mirrors audible from the front seats. There is more road noise in the RS Line, though, due to the wider, sportier tyres fitted to its bigger alloy wheels.
The steering is light and direct, but those expecting much in the way of feedback will be left wanting. Driving the Megané ST is not what you’d call engaging, and the handling misses out on the fun factor that the Ford Focus Estate has in abundance. It’s safe and secure, but doesn’t reward for being pushed hard.
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