Renault rewrites rulebook by taking revolutionary Scenic route again
- Credit: Renault
Renault has rewritten the compact MPV rulebook again with its new Scenic – hi-tech, family-friendly and vastly versatile. Motoring editor Andy Russell is also hugely impressed.
Renault is back to its revolutionary best with the all-new Scenic – 20 years after pioneering the compact multi-purpose vehicle.
With a host of car-makers now on this family-friendly bandwagon, Renault went from leader of the pack to running with it. Now it's back in the driving seat with the new five-seat Scenic and longer seven-seat Grand Scenic.
So what's new?
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What isn't! This new Scenic range is revolution, not evolution. With MPVs and traditional people-carriers not having the sales clout they used to, Renault has reinvented the fourth-generation with crossover-inspired styling, more ground clearance, wider front and rear tracks for a more solid stance and 20in wheels.
Renault making dynamic concept car looks reality highlights the French brand's confident buzz.
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Space and practicality
Where do I start with this family holdall? It's so geared for family life with trays on the front seat backs, a class-leading 57 litres of cabin storage including four footwell compartments and, on all but entry model, a centre console – with 13 litres of storage, USB ports, 12-volt charger, jackpoint and cupholders – which slides from between the front seats to act as a partition between the outer back seats. It makes an ideal 'no man's land' for squabbling youngsters.
Rear seats split 60/40 and slide back and forth to tailor legroom and luggage space with a best-in-class 572-litre boot with a sill-level floor, which can be lowered or removed. Without the optional £90 space-saver spare wheel you pack the well too. One-touch folding rear seat backs can be dropped from the boot or the R-Link multi-media system touchscreen to create a 1,901-litre cargo bay.
The cabin also highlights Renault's new levels of quality and attention to detail.
At the wheel
If you like gadgets and gizmos, you'll love the hi-tech fascia with a wealth of personalisation options on all but lead-in Expression+.
Thin film transistor (TFT) instruments give four different styles – digital and dials - while the Multi-Sense system personalises the driving experience and cabin ambience with neutral, comfort, eco, sport and personal modes, different colours for interior lighting and instruments and alters the set-up for the throttle response, steering weight, speed of the automatic gear changes and even engine sound.
It's all controlled via tablet-style control panel which is intuitive to use once you master the menus and there are also shortcut buttons.
How it drives
With a new platform and longer wheelbase, the Scenic's driving qualities have been taken to a new level. It's nimble through corners with body roll in check – no mean feat for tall vehicle.
Those 20in wheels are shod with deep wall tyres so the ride is surprisingly composed, with very little tyre noise either, and soft, supportive seats add to the comfort factor.
Under the bonnet
The all-turbo line-up comprises 115 and 130hp 1.2-litre petrol units but 110hp 1.5-litre and 130 and 160hp 1.6-litre diesels will find favour. A hybrid assist version combining 1.5-litre diesel engine with electric motor arrives in spring.
The smallest diesel is fine around town but needs to be worked to make decent progress, especially loaded, which resulted in 45 to 50mpg. The six-speed manual gearbox isn't the smoothest but, once up to speed, the Scenic cruises happily and quietly.
Available in Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamic S Nav and Signature Nav, the Scenic is well loaded with useful standard kit and high-end technologies and safety features. All models get automatic braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam. Dynamique Nav adds fatigue alert and front and rear parking sensors and Dynamique S Nav rear parking camera and head-up display.
Renault's revolutionary new Scenic moves back to the top of the class. It looks stunning, especially in bright colours, and is in tune with families' needs, offering vast space and versatility, innovative storage solutions and a hi-tech driving experience.
Price: Renault Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 110 £25,445 (range from £21,445)
Engine: 1,461cc, 110hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 12.4 seconds; top speed 114mph
MPG: Urban 67.3; extra urban 76.3; combined 72.4
CO2 emissions: 100g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 20%
Insurance group: 11 (out of 50)
Warranty: Four years or 100,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,406mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,128mm; H 1,653mm