- Intuitive touchscreen display
- One touch folding rear seats
- Bold, exterior design
- Entry level diesel engine lacks power on inclines
Renault launched the first generation Scenic back in 1996 and the compact MPV is now into its fourth edition thanks to its popularity - 6.5 million of them have been sold globally over the past 20 years. So what is the latest one like to drive? We got a taste of it on the UK launch in the Gloucestershire countryside.
On The Road
There are two petrol and three diesel engines available on the Renault Scenic, we drove the 1.6-litre dCi 110 and dCi 130 diesel engines at launch. The dCi 110 produces 110hp with 260Nm of torque and although it works well nipping around town, it lacks any guts when you’re tackling hills and you end up going down rather a lot of gears to find one suitable to pull you up.
The dCi 130 has a lot more oomph with 320Nm of torque, using a smooth 6-speed manual transmission it seems to work better with the Scenic and makes it more enjoyable at cruising speeds.
A hybrid assist version arrives next spring and will combine the dCi 110 engine with an electric motor to achieve class-leading emissions and high fuel economy figures.
It’s on the same platform as the other Renault models, the Kadjar and Espace and it feels very agile, the ride is comfortable despite being on 20-inch wheels which is the only size available across the range, hence the low look. This is an area engineers have worked on and have fine tuned the suspension set up to match the wheel size and with very light, responsive steering it’s actually a really surprising, fun drive.
There is Renault's Multi-Sense system which can set the car up in five different modes from Neutral, Sport, Perso, Eco and Comfort and this will alter engine response and sound, steering and interior lighting.
The all-new Scenic has a much more modern design with futuristic design cues taken from Renault’s R-Space concept - sweeping lines and a low slung roofline really make it stand out and it also has first in class 20-inch wheels which make it look low.
Although the seats are comfortable and adjustable in many ways we found they’re just a bit too short in the leg. There’s a bit of road noise from the 20-inch wheels and some engine noise at higher revs but Renault have manufactured a well insulated cabin.
With ambient lighting available in a choice of five colours it adds an element of fun to the interior, it’s even around the bottom of the gearstick and you can adjust the brightness of it too.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
What you do notice when you get in the car is the visibility, the windscreen is enormous making it really good for the driver. Add to that the optional, large panoramic roof and the Scenic cabin feels very light and airy.
The centre stack is dominated by an 8.7-inch portrait screen which is used in the same way as a smartphone with swiping movements. It displays all navigation, media, car settings and the retractable head-up display is also operated on this, with the option to adjust the height of the visible instruction depending on your seat position.
There are two USB points and an audio jack socket in the centre armrest with two USBs in the rear and a 12-volt power supply, so you will never run out of charge on your devices.
Space & Practicality
If you’re looking for a car with plenty of space then the Scenic has a lot of it. There is handy storage all around the car and the sliding centre armrest is very deep holding 13-litres so you can get large bottles in there.
Rear seats can be folded rather handily from the front seat, touch the relevant button on the centre display screen selecting which one you’d like to fold and it falls flat automatically. It is also possible to operate the system from a button in the boot.
There is 572-litres of boot space increasing to 1,901-litres with seats folded flat, also the boot cover can be stored away under the floor which is very helpful - how many times do you often wonder where to put it or eat into the space to accommodate it?
If you’re looking for even more room then the Grand Scenic holds seven with class-leading boot space of 596-litres.
The Renault Scenic is priced from £21,445 for the entry-level Expression + trim, the rival Citroen C4 Picasso is a bit less at £19,675. The Grand Scenic starts at £23,375 which isn’t much of a difference if you are looking for something a bit larger and they do come with a four year/100,000 mile warranty.
CO2 emissions are as low as 100g/km for the diesel dCi 110 manual version with a fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg so running costs will be low. With the hybrid assist version arriving next year, expect CO2 emissions to be sub 100 at 92g/km with an 80.7mpg in fuel economy.
Quality & Reliability
If you’re looking for a car that is well manufactured then the Scenic ticks that box, the materials used aren’t as premium as some rivals, the leather isn’t that nice soft material you get, but the stitching on the seats make it look good and the alumimium inlays add a touch of style.
Previous generations of the Renault Scenic seem to have had good reliability with no major problems and although the manufacturer has struggled over the years in this area it seems to be now improving, the last generation model getting into the top 20 of the Auto Express Driver Power 2016 results.
Safety & Security
The Renault Scenic has received the full five stars in the Euro NCAP tests, it’s no surprise considering it has a raft of airbags, including ones which contain sensors and will adjust the deployment dependant on the driver and passenger’s build.
There are three new safety systems to the Renault range, one of which, Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, is a segment first as it comes as standard. The other two are Lane Keeping Assist and Fatigue Alert.
Other driving aids include adaptive cruise control, a hands free parking assist, blind spot warning, a safe distance warning which shows a time interval between you and the car ahead, and a rear parking camera.