Review and road test of the Renault Megane Sport Tourer (2016 - 2022)
By Jonathan Crouch
MPVs tend to dominate the limelight with their versatile interiors and clever storage solutions, but the estate car will still be a better solution for many families. This Renault Megane Sport Tourer, an estate based on the Megane hatch, is a great example of a compact station wagon, especially in this post-2016-era MK4 form, where it gained sleek looks, solid driving dynamics and lots of space in its well-designed boot area. Later versions got extra sophistication inside - and under the bonnet, where E-TECH plug-in hybrid tech was on later models offered at the top of the range.
1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.8 [petrol] / 1.5, 1.6 [diesel] [Play, Iconic, Dynamique Nav, GT, R.S. Line]
Have you got a young family? Then you need an SUV. At least, that's what the advertisements tell us. On TV and in the press, the SUV is set up as the ultimate route to wholesome family life. Beaming children spill from its wide door openings, bikes, kites and kitchen sinks are lifted from its huge boot and the seats magically flip, fold and twirl so the most can be made of its cavernous interior. It's all very convincing but where does it leave the good old fashioned estate car? It's certainly been eclipsed in recent years by the SUV, but does it still have a role to play? Renault thinks it does and between 2016 and 2022, found space in its fourth generation Megane line-up for this Sport Tourer estate variant, a car with the longest load capacity in its segment.
Renault has probably done as much as any other manufacturer to promote the idea that families need an SUV, rather than a car like this Megane. From the pioneering Captur to the big selling Kadjar, the growth in the popularity of compact crossovers owes a lot to this French brand. But nailing all your colours to one mast is never a great idea, so in this period, Renault didn't give up on the good old traditional estate car. All right, it called it a 'Sport Tourer', but the basic 'hatch with a long tin roof' deal is as old as the hills. The Sport Tourer sold until Spring 2022 and wasn't replaced.
What You Get
The Megane Sport Tourer isn't merely a Megane Hatch with a conservatory on the back. It's properly practical in thisMK4 form, with a 580-litre boot and potentially, the longest load area in the segment from its period, at almost 2.8m (assuming you take advantage of the fold-flat front passenger seat you can only have with base 'Iconic' spec petrol engine models). The modular boot is extremely straightforward to use and its floor has two positions. Selecting the high position creates a flat floor when the rear seat is folded to facilitate the loading of bulky items. In this configuration, further storage space is available beneath the cargo bay. Alternatively, setting the floor in its lower position creates maximum load volume in a single area.
Nice touches include lateral storage bins on each side of the boot, next to the wheel arches. In addition, there's a hook on both sides from which bags can be hung. As an option, a luggage safety net that can be used vertically was available. It is also possible to separate the boot into two compartments, front and rear, to prevent items from sliding around. Thanks to handles located within the boot area, Renault's Easy Folding system enables simple unlocking and automatic folding of the 60/40-split rear seat. Visual changes to the post-'20-era improved model were centred around the headlights, no longer of the old fashioned halogen variety but of the Renault 'LED Pure Vision' type.
What to Look For
Most of the owners we surveyed seemed very happy with this MK4 Megane. There were a few of the usual issues with DPF diesel particulate filters getting clogged up; this might happen if the car you're looking at has only mainly been used for urban journeys. We did come across a few other issues. In one case, there was a fuel line leak. Otherwise, it's just the usual things; check the inside for signs of child damage, inspect the alloy rims for scratches and insist on a full service history.
(approx based on a 2020 Megane 1.5 dCi 95 - Ex Vat) An oil filter is in the £6-£13 bracket. Front brake pads cost in the £16 to £30 bracket; rears in the £11-£40 bracket. Front brake discs cost in the £51 to £107 bracket . A front halogen headlamp is around £209-£249. A rear lamp costs around £133. A pair of wiper blades is around £25. And a pollen filter is in the £20 to £27 bracket. A water pump is around £50-£92. A thermostat is around £70-£78.
On the Road
A big attraction of the estate over an SUV is the way it performs on the road. The Megane Sport Tourer runs on the same platform as the Megane hatchback and the Kadjar SUV, but has far more in common with the hatch in terms of its low centre of gravity and hunkered-down driving position. The suspension is lifted wholesale from the Megane and a power steering system that was redeveloped for the 2020 update responds more swiftly to driver input. As part of the same update, the rear suspension meanwhile, was tuned to produce a more supple ride, as well as offering improved cornering.
As with the vast majority of cars such as this, a big part of the driving experience will depend on the engine you've plumped for. By 2020, the options in the volume part of range had become very simple, both four cylinder units: there was either a 1.3-litre TCe petrol powerplant with 140hp. Or a 1.5-litre Blue dCi diesel with 115hp. Both could be had with either 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch auto transmission. Prior to 2020, buyers of this MK4 model had also been offered a 1.2-litre petrol unit and a top 1.6-litre dCi diesel. As part of the 2020 update, Renault also introduced an E-TECH plug-in hybrid variant which saw a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to two electric motors and a multi-mode clutch-less transmission. The system puts out 160hp (around 20hp more than the equivalent plug-in package that Kia offers) and features a 9.8kWh, 400V battery that allows a range of about 30 miles; plus the ability to travel at up to 84mph, on electric power alone.
In this MK4 form ,the Megane Sport Tourer looks the part with its sleek, elongated lines and beneath the handsome exterior is more rear passenger space and a very big boot.
It might not have the flexibility of a leading SUV or MPV product, but the Sport Tourer blends style and practicality in a manner that should appeal to those who aren't convinced by the crossover's trendiness or the people carrier's trickery. The estate remains a refreshingly straightforward style of family car and there's still a lot to be said for that.
Renault Megane Sport Tourer (2016 - 2022) review by Jonathan Crouch