Renault is pushing hard to win buyers and a five-year unlimited distance warranty, five-year roadside assist and low-cost service program ($897 for three years) are convincing arguments. Features are more comprehensive than the rival Golf, adding a sunroof, leather, heated seats and lane-departure warning. Resale is an Achilles’ heel at 48 per cent.
Nicely styled but lacks the crispness of the Golf. The boat-tail rear end is pretty but brings cargo volume to 524L. Cabin styling is clean and simple, the pale grey palette lightening the
interior. Some control placement is not intuitive.
The 1.2-litre turbo (97kW/205Nm) looks too small for the 4.6m wagon but performs well thanks to a slick CVT. Even with its shorter, lighter body, it uses slightly more petrol than the Golf, claiming 5.6L/100km. Wheelbase is longer than the Golf’s, meaning more space for rear occupants.
A five-star car with six airbags and electronic brake aids matching the Golf. There are parking sensors, camera and daytime running lights, helpful lane departure monitor, auto-dip high beam and full-size spare wheel. The 1.2-litre suggests wimpy performance but the wagon is actually a fun drive. Light steering and soft suspension take a bit of getting used to but the cornering is poised and predictable. The seats are softer than the VW’s, making it more suited to short trips. Switches are less easy to use than in the Golf.