• Strong performance from fiery turbo engine; slick gearshift; sharpness through fast corners; wagon practicality
  • Ride quality too firm and lumpy; engine and road noise prominent; struggles with power down in tight bends

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review

On paper the Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon looks like an ideal blend of performance and practicality.

Up front there’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 162kW of power and 340Nm of torque. Out back there’s 524 litres of boot space, or 1600L with the rear backrest and front passenger seat folded.

Cloaked with a sports bodykit and black 18-inch alloys wheels, and equipped with dual-zone climate control, cruise control and heavily bolstered seats, the $36,990 Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon – of which only 220 are coming here – also has few rivals. Only the $39,990 Skoda Octavia RS or $40,190 Holden Commodore SV6 Sportwagon comes close.

In terms of its body, the Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon is pure Megane wagon. The plastics quality is quite good, there’s a medium-sized amount of rear legroom and the body hugging sports seats are superb.

Tick the optional ($5000) Premium pack and the pews are wrapped in leather, the fronts are heated, the roof is covered in glass and front parking sensors join with a rear camera. The downmarket-looking black-and-white central screen is replaced by colour satellite navigation, but the Renault Monitor 2.0 that displays lateral G among other functions is lost. The sat-nav also looks aftermarket.

Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review

The longer wheelbase compared with the hatch makes for impressive rear legroom. Further rearward, the low loading lip makes picking up and putting in large items a cinch.

In terms of mechanicals, Renault has essentially taken the Megane RS hot hatch then made it less hardcore – the suspension is softer, the engine has been detuned, the steering isn’t as sharp and there’s no front limited-slip differential to assist with power down out of corners.

Although we’ve already driven the Megane GT 220 in an overseas first drive, this is our first local steer of the car that has since been re-named for this market from its native ‘Estate’ to ‘Sport Wagon’.

In that overseas first drive, the Megane GT 220 presented less like a perfect balance between hot hatch heroics and wagon sensibilities and more like a slight compromise.

Despite being detuned by 33kW and 20Nm compared with the RS, there is still spirited performance from the turbo engine in the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon.

The six-speed manual is slick and tight, and the clutch and brakes feel natural. The 1499kg wagon is 125kg heavier than the RS, however, and a claimed 7.6 second 0-100km/h is fully 1.5 seconds slower. It also feels less brisk than an Octavia RS or Commodore SV6 Sportwagon.

Stop-start technology is standard, though, helping the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon score a 7.3L/100km official combined consumption figure.

Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review

Although the performance is slightly reduced, and economy enhanced, the engine remains a noisy companion; the thrashy, slightly grainy soundtrack is arguably more appropriate in a hot hatch than a family chariot.

Likewise the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon isn’t a quiet companion on coarse chip roads, with plenty of roar thrown up from the 225mm-wide tyres – much more than in the Megane GT-Line wagon driven before it, which wears 205mm-wide tyres.

Particularly for a car stretching towards $40,000 the refinement level in the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon is lower than might be expected.

Although the Megane GT220 Sport Wagon gets a ‘Sport’ chassis straight from the Megane RS265 that isn’t sold here – we only get the harder ‘Cup’ chassis tune – it remains way too hard to be considered comfortable.

The constant restlessness, banging and thudding over rough country roads is more obvious on local bitumen than it was on smoother French roads, and along with the cabin noise can make the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon a tiring companion.

Much of the noise and control-focussed ride can be forgiven in the Megane RS 265 because it offers superb steering and delivers enthralling handling. It’s here, however, that the Megane GT 220 also feels compromised.

Without the limited-slip differential that allows effortless power down out of corners in the Megane RS 265, and contributes much to its dynamic repertoire, the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon is left hamstrung.

Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review

The stability control light now works overtime trying to restrict torque to the front wheels out of bends, and the GT 220 doesn’t feel as though it has even an electronic differential – which essentially brake a spinning inside wheel – found in the Golf GTI and Focus ST to name two.

Without the clever steering system found in the Megane RS 265, which separates the hub from the front strut, the Megane GT 220 also suffers torque steer in a straight line. Yet the steering itself is also slower – 2.8 turns lock-to-lock compared with 2.6 – and far less incisive. Indeed, the steering in an Octavia RS and Commodore SV6 – not to mention Golf GTI and Focus ST – also feels superior.

When bends turn from tight and narrow to wide and flowing the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon lifts its side skirts, offering the dynamics to match the straight line speed.

Simply, it grips, points and goes, in a way that more mundane mid-sized wagons competing in that price bracket, such as the Mazda 6, cant.

Curiously, however, the lesser grip found in the Megane GT-Line wagon makes it feel more throttle adjustable and balanced on the limit than the more planted, stolid Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon.

Arguably, too, the Mazda 6 offers a broader skill set; likewise with the more expensive Octavia RS and Commodore SV6 that are also just as speedy.

Being a more practical, less hardcore version of the Megane RS, the Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon could have retained the superb steering and limited-slip differential from its hot hatch sibling, but offer softer suspension and more noise insulation to make it more liveable.

Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review

Instead, the steering has been changed and the front LSD ditched, yet the suspension remains hard and the cabin noisy. It’s still a fast and desirable performance wagon, the Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon, but it is also flawed in key areas.


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RENAULT MEGANE BREAKDOWN

Renault Megane GT 220 Sport Wagon Review
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  • Darryl

    Sounds like a fairly damning review and yet it still gets three and a half stars? It isn’t any quicker than a Mazda 6 either, depending on who you read. And just as heavy. You’d have to be nuts to buy this over the Mazda, or the Commodore Sportwagon (which is what Renault were intending this to be compared to, given the name change I guess). And un-Australian.

    • Phil

      you guess wrong – the name change would be due to Australians following the US in use of wagon, and not the UK normative of estate. To Aussies, an estate is what someone leaves in a will…

      Comparatively, you’d have to say this is positioned against the Octavia RS and to a lesser degree the Astra Sport Tourer – I doubt the Commodore is even on Renault’s radar as a competitor. The Mazda, Astra and the Commodore wagons lack a manual gearbox option, which may be significant to buyers of a sports model.

      • Darryl

        Commodore Sportwagon can be had as a manual only from SS upwards, and not SV6, whereas the sedan can be. Why, Holden? My point about Renault calling this the Sportwagon here in Oz was because this is the only market they do. Holdens reasoning for doing so has nothing to do with it. Either way it isn’t particularly original. They used to call their wagons station sedans way back when. Vauxhall in the UK and Opel here call the Astra and Insignia wagons Sports Tourer.

  • filippo

    Thank you (finally!!) CarAdvice for not listing a lack of automatic transmission as a negative point against a car that was built to be fun.

    • jay

      No automatic transmission will be a deal breaker for some. This car will be no fun as a daily driver especially when picking up kids during peak hour. Thats why it was crossed off my shopping list.

      • hwh

        Only in this country where people seem to have a phobia about manual gearboxs.. In other countries, no one has problems driving manuals or finds them unpleasant on school runs in peak hour.

      • filippo

        Jay, this car was never meant to be on your shopping list. Even despite the transmission, the ride is probably too harsh and the ground clearance too low if the primary task is “picking up kids during peak hour”. Best that you stick with one of the more base model Meganes, a Cruze, Golf, i30 or Astra wagon, or otherwise a small SUV. Really, you’re spoilt for choice, whereas manual drivers have very little choice in this segment.

        • pro346

          Ground clearance to low for picking up kids from school…to low? You can’t be serious!

          • Observer

            Read between the lines. He is taking a dig at those who think an SUV is the only form of transport to get the kids to school…
            Clever.

          • filippo

            It was a small dig at SUV owners, but also a revelation of a disturbing reality revealed to me by my BMW X3-driving sister. She told me that although the higher driving position is a big plus, one of the best things she finds about driving an SUV is being able to avoid parallel parking. You simply go into the park head-first, put the left front wheel over the gutter, and then reverse back. Since she told me, I’ve noticed (with horror!) dozens of soccer mums doing the same thing. Try that in a car with low ground clearance!

          • Observer

            And there you have it – the reasons why you’d buy an X3 over a suitably better driving 3 Series Tourer… to mount kerbs.

      • Zaccy16

        i disagree, i have owned manuals all my life and find them to make drives like the school run to be fun and you have more control, it is sad that so many people in this country can’t drive a manual!

        • jay

          Sorry, I believe you are now a minority.
          As a previous Renault Sport owner, I gave the GT220 a chance. The manual box was a turn off; EDC transmission would have been perfect. Ditching the LSD was disappointing and I personally would prefer the non-cup version if there was a choice. That would be my complete package.

          • Zaccy16

            in this country i am the big minority but Europe and specially the uk would disagree!

  • OGU

    I would say this is a very poor review of what most other journalists have written up as a great car with a more balanced view and a greater connect with reality. If I read between the lines in order to satisfy Renault Sport would need to offer more power & grip in a softer sprung more comfortable package. Clearly the finesse of Renault sport is not being considered, that being the creation of a drivers car with great feel in a practical and affordable package.
    I would suggest, having driven the car, that is very livable as a daily driver (I’m not as precious as some about the nominal effort of using a clutch) besides I find driving a manual a more engaging experience on any road and at any speed, yet the suspension is where this car shines for me, it’s so far from being a wallowing wagon…. It’s connected! All of that in an extremely livable and practical package.

  • Pom21

    No rear air vents in a wagon with a Glass roof in our climate is going to be a deal breaker for anybody with kids, unless you like them medium rare after a road trip in 35 degree heat!!!

    • tom

      agree.

  • RS265

    “Ride quality too firm and lumpy” ITS A SPORT’S WAGON!

    It will always be a firm ride if it’s supose to be a Sport’s Wagon…

  • Alasdair

    Pretty damming review, but I’ll be shallow and say I would definately try one if I wanted a family car. I do just love the look of small wagons though…

  • Dieseltorque

    I thought it was refreshing to see some constructive criticism of the car with valid points. No LSD, slow, very noisy. Great review as far as I’m concerned, but I never take motoring journalist opinion as gospel. If your in doubt and think this car is for you, test drive it! I think it’s lost too much performance for the price. Now when is that new Octavian RS coming?

  • Zaccy16

    i like this car, but it has a few flaws, i would rather IMO the more roomy and better quality current or even bette next gen octavia rs, if the new ones anything like the current one that has a great ride/handling balance!

  • Jake

    I have bought one of these and I have to say that I love driving it!! So it’s not perfect but then again I have never had a car that ticks every single box.

    Yes it can be a little bit tricky when powering out of tight corners but it just means that you need to be careful with the throttle control and you learn to drive within the limitations of the car. That said, the car sits wonderfully flat into corners and the steering is extremely direct and responsive.

    I find it interesting that a lot of journalists talk about the wonders of the Mazda 3 SP25 and while I agree it is a wonderfully equipped car for the price, I found it extremely skittish over bumps, prone to to torque steer and the steering itself was quite vague. It was also far noisier that the GT220 when on expressways and so I find it interesting that the review mentions the noise! My wife and I can actually have a conversation now on the expressway without having to use loud voices.

    While the GT220 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was a car that both my wife and I loved when we first drove it and still love it now. The kids also love the space and the fact that we can fit more of their stuff in the car when we go away.

    Just goes to show that everyone sees different things in cars, including journalists! My recommendation is to try it and then make a decision on whether it is right for you.

  • Juliano

    I currently own a rs265 and absolutely love it. Would definitely buy one of these if I was a family man.

Renault Megane Specs

2.0L MULTI POINT F/INJ - CONTINUOUS VARIABLE - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D CABRIOLET
Car Details
Make
RENAULT
Model
MEGANE
Series
E95
Year
2013
Body Type
2D CABRIOLET
Seats
4
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
195Nm @  3750rpm
Max. Power
103kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
66.5W/kg
Bore & Stroke
82.7x93mm
Compression Ratio
10.2
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
CONTINUOUS VARIABLE
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1550
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1437mm
Length
4485mm
Width
1811mm
Ground Clearance
141mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7.0x17
Rear Rim Size
7.0x17
Front Tyres
205/50 R17
Rear Tyres
205/50 R17
Wheel Base
2609
Front Track
1546
Rear Track
1547
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Sunroof
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Exterior
Electric Top, Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-K-14
Country of Origin
FRANCE