Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) E-Tech version
  • Manual and EDC automatic available
  • Top-spec petrol R.S Line majors on economy

There are three different engines available in the Sport Tourer – a turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel, and a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid. Power outputs are modest in all three, as Renault has slimmed down its model range and dropped the sportier models – if you want the sporting GT with 205hp, you're going to have to buy secondhand.

E-Tech plug-in hybrid tailored for economy

The Renault Megane E-Tech is a plug-in hybrid powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack and twin electric motor set-up to deliver 160hp and 205Nm. Unlike many rival PHEVs, which pack more than 200hp, this one's low-stressed petrol engine and electric power promise a relaxed drive.

Claimed performance figures aren't that impressive – the 9.8-second 0-62mph time matches the TCe 140, but of course it has the potential for much more impressive fuel consumption (up to 217.3mpg for the WLTP Combined test) assume you keep the battery charged up.

It offers up to 30 miles in ‘Pure’ (battery-only) mode, and charging the battery takes around three hours using a home wallbox. The Megane’s on-board charger is limited to 3.6kW. There are several drive modes, including E-Save, which claims to hang on to the battery’s charge for longer, while the transmission's B mode gives the six-speed automatic more regenerative braking. There's also Sport mode for those in more of a hurry.

It drives well, too. At speed, it's refined and hushed apart from a distinctive, almost supercharger-esque (or perhaps, failing alternator bearing) whine that hovers on the edge of audible if the radio's off. In town, it can sound like the engine is working frantically, but above 50mph tyre noise is the dominant distraction.

The plug-in E-Tech system is effective. Drive hard and the car will display 'Boost' on the dash, which is useful as you wouldn't know otherwise. The electric motor's torque delivers smoother, more impressive off-the-line performance than you'd expect.

TCe petrol engine in one form only

The Megane's 1.3-litre petrol engine is badged as the TCe 140 – denoting its power in horsepower – and is tuned for economy as opposed to outright performance. There's plenty of torque – 240Nm developed at just 1,600rpm – which means you get plenty of low down pulling power. It's available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed EDC dual-clutch transmission.

Performance figures are up to par for the price, with a claimed 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds (and 9.3 seconds for the automatic version) and a maximum speed of 127mph for both. We spent a week testing the TCe 140 in six-speed manual form, and found that it feels brisk on the road and impressed for its motorway refinement and overall economy.

It's a quiet and refined power unit that belies its modest engine capacity, offering plenty of pulling power from low revs. It pulls away from the lights and feels acceptably nippy around town and once on the motorway, slot it into sixth and it copes with hills without too much trouble, even when loaded. It's not exciting, not all that quick, but it's competent and doesn't really put a foot wrong.

Efficient dCi diesel engine

Diesel fans are offered a single option – the dCi 115, which like all recent Renault units, is strong and efficient. The DCi with a six-speed manual gearbox kicks off the line-up and is capable of completing the 0-62mph dash in 11.4 seconds and a maximum speed of 120mph. Performance figures for the EDC auto diesel aren't yet published by Renault, but expect them to be very similar.

We've yet to drive this one, but expect a quiet and refined experience that – like the petrol – is biased towards delivering the best possible fuel consumption.

Megane Sport Tourer transmissions

Both the TCe 140 and dCi 115 are available with a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed EDC auto gearboxes, while the E-Tech plug-in hybrid comes with a self-shifter only. The manual gearbox is pleasurable to use, being accurate and easy to slot into gear. The only issue is the long throw, which takes away slightly from the involving driving experience. The gearlever itself can feel a little flimsy and cheap, too.

We tried the EDC gearbox pre-facelift model and found it to be slightly indecisive, at least when we pushed on in Sport mode. It held onto gears a bit too long at times and then changed up too quickly at others. Flicking to manual mode using the cheap-feeling paddles is the better option if you want to use it as a sports car.

Handling

  • Agile handling
  • Good body control
  • Multi-Sense driving modes

For a practical estate car, the Megane Sport Tourer demonstrates very tidy handling, just like the Megane hatch it’s based on. The steering is lacking in outright feel, but it’s well-weighted and accurate, which inspires confidence on faster, twisting roads.

Bodyroll is kept under control very well, which is impressive when you consider the car’s comfort-oriented suspension set-up in regular models. The Sport Tourer feels light on its feet despite its size, meaning there’s fun to be had on country roads. Granted, it’s not as involving as a Ford Focus Estate or as comfortable as a Skoda Octavia Estate, but it’s not far off, and strikes a great balance between fun and comfort.

To tweak the driving experience to your preference, Renault’s Multi-Sense driving modes are available to choose from – including Neutral, Sport, Comfort, Eco and Perso (which allows you to personalise your own mode).

By selecting these different modes, alterations are made to the engine response, steering weight, air-con, engine sound, ambient lighting and digital instrument display, as well as EDC calibration where this gearbox is fitted. For most people in everyday driving, leaving it in Neutral or Comfort will be the best choice.