This Me­gane is a Tourer de force from Re­nault..

Solihull News - - MOTORING NEWS - ENDA MULLEN enda. mullen@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

ONCE the go- to choice for fam­i­lies in search of space and prac­ti­cal­ity in a car, es­tates could per­haps now be per­ceived as some­thing of a threat­ened species.

With the rise of the SUV and the all- con­quer­ing cross­over the stan­dard fam­ily car se­lec­tion of saloons, hatches and es­tates has been turned on its head.

Okay, maybe I ex­ag­ger­ate and the es­tate car is far from be­ing dead just yet. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers haven’t given up the ghost and show no signs of do­ing so. Es­tates have come a long way from be­ing glo­ri­fied vans with win­dows and many now boast the sort of sleek de­sign lines that en­sure they ac­tu­ally look bet­ter than the saloon cars or hatch­backs on which they are based.

In fair­ness both the Re­nault Me­gane hatch and es­tate look good but given a choice I would opt for the es­tate, which is more lithe per­former than con­ven­tional load- lug­ger.

Both cars’ good looks have been en­hanced by a re­cent makeover, with the es­tate hav­ing un­der­gone more of an ex­te­rior over­haul

The in­te­rior also gets an upgrade and plenty of added ex­tras.

It boasts more of a pre­mium feel char­ac­terised by an abun­dance of soft- touch plas­tics and splen­didly well laid out in­stru­men­ta­tion.

The Me­gane es­tate, or Sport Tourer as it’s now called, mea­sures up well in the prac­ti­cal­ity stakes. The cabin is no­tice­ably roomy, with rear seat passen- gers par­tic­u­larly well catered for. Boot space might not be cav­ernous but it’s de­cent. You get 521 litres, ex­pand­ing to 1,504 litres with the seats down.

Clever stor­age so­lu­tions through­out the cabin come in handy too. Engine- wise there’s a choice of two petrol and two diesel en­gines, with five trim lev­els to choose from.

Prices start from £ 18,550, which will get you a 1.2- litre petrol- pow­ered Ex­pres­sion+ model.

Even that en­try- level model comes gen­er­ously equipped with LED day­time run­ning lamps, 16- inch al­loys, tinted win­dows, all- round elec­tric win­dows, leather steer­ing wheel, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, a DAB ra­dio and height ad­justable front seats.

The Dy­namique S Nav tested sees the ad­di­tion of au­to­matic head­lights and wipers, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion and au­to­matic high/ low beam head­lamps, elec­tri­cally ad­justable, heated and fold­ing door mir­rors, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol, 17- inch al­loys, rear park­ing cam­era, front and rear park­ing sen­sors and pri­vacy glass at the rear.

You also get Re­nault’s ‘ Mul­tiSense’ sys­tem which can make all man­ner of mod­i­fi­ca­tions via an 8.7- inch por­trait touch­screen, which also con­trols the mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem and sat nav.

The high- tech sys­tem can be used to ad­just the re­sponse of the ac­cel­er­a­tor and engine, engine sound, steer­ing weight and the in­te­rior light­ing.

One con­ve­nient tech­no­log­i­cal touch I re­ally liked was the fact it both opened and locked it­self. Sim­ple but im­mensely use­ful.

There are 1.6 and 1.5- litre diesel op­tions and this was the smaller of the two.

That said it felt su­per smooth and sprightly and of­fered the kind of re­fine­ment where you con­tin­u­ally ques­tioned whether it was ac­tu­ally a diesel.

A slick- shift­ing six speed gear­box made be­ing be­hind the wheel a real joy – one of my best Re­nault driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to date.

This Sport Tourer proved a real tour de force.

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