Friday16 September 2016
Car manufacturers often dub their upcoming vehicles ‘all-new’, without this being the case. However, with the new Renault Scenic, the term certainly applies. This fourth-generation Scenic really is completely new, and looks to build on the reputation established by the previous generation.
Described by the French manufacturer as an “apres SUV”, the Scenic is designed for those who fancy the space and practicality offered by an SUV, but without all of the associated design characteristics.
With plenty of ground clearance and sturdy-looking body cladding, you can certainly see where Renault is coming from when it mentions the Scenic’s SUV inspiration. Large 20-inch alloys sit at the corners, and not just on higher-specification cars, either – these are fitted to all vehicles in the range. They manage to fill the arches well, giving the Scenic a muscular stance on the road.
Inside, a large central touchscreen gives the Scenic a fresh and up-to-date look, while soft touch plastics make it a premium-feeling place to sit.
With family cars, very few things are as important as practicality. Thankfully, the Scenic is excellent in this area. The car’s 572-litre boot is impressive, and larger than those offered by rivals such as the Ford C-Max and the Citroen C4 Picasso.
Not only is luggage space decent, but so is storage throughout the cabin. There’s all manner of cubbies and spaces, such as a drawer-like glovebox and underfloor bins. The rear seats can be specified with aeroplane-style tray tables too, meaning that longer journeys should breeze past. One thing to consider with the tables is their interference with leg room though, so if you’re planning on taking taller passengers on frequent trips you may want to leave them out.
Like most MPVs, you’d expect the Scenic to be wallowy and softly-sprung, leaning while going around bends and wobbly on the straights. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The car’s steering has a decent amount of weight to it, and manages to display a good amount of body control, even through higher-speed corners. Though you’d expect those large 20-inch alloys to ruin the ride, they actually work just fine on the Scenic. Somehow it manages to waft effortlessly over bumps and potholes, working in conjunction with suspension that seems perfect for UK roads.
However, not everything is quite the ticket. With the smallest 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine fitted, there’s a decent amount of punch, but the unit’s small capacity, when linked to the car’s higher bodyweight, does mean that economy is affected. That said, the larger 1.5- and 1.6-litre engines strike the balance between fuel economy and decent performance well.
Large winged headrests for the rear seats – although comfortable for passengers – do hamper backwards visibility, and increase the blindspot area for the driver. It’s a small thing, but one which will become annoying during daily driving.
Although pricing has yet to be confirmed, Renault has said that the starting price for the Scenic will be just under £20,000.
What do you get for that? Well, for starters the base car will come with the previously mentioned 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as well as the seven-inch touchscreen and two-zone climate control. You’ll also find automatic lights and wipers fitted, along with all manner of safety systems. Autonomous braking technology is standard across the range, with ISOFIX child-seat mounting points also included.
We’d recommend moving up to the Dyanmique Nav trim, as this brings with it the R-Link infotainment system and satellite navigation, as well as keyless entry and a sliding central storage bin.
Top-of-the-range Signature Nav cars bring the most equipment to the table, with leather upholstery and a panoramic roof just two of a whole host of standard features.
The Scenic offers all of the positives associated with an SUV, but very few of the drawbacks. It comes with the high driving position and muscular looks that people attribute to an off-roader, but with the practicality and on-road characteristics of an MPV. In short, is an impressive compromise, and one that will no doubt be exceptionally popular with families across the country.
Model: Renault Scenic Signature Nav TCe 130
Engine: 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Performance: 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds, 129mph top speed
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