What is it? A pioneer of the compact MPV, the Renault Scénic was one of the game changers in the motoring world and redefined the family car. It was stylish, safe and offered versatility unlike any rival. But twenty years on the five seat MPV faces a torrent of rivals from crossovers to compact SUVs, even the humble estate car is making a comeback. In the face of such competition many car makers are abandoning plans for MPVs in favour of the current trend toward crossovers. Peugeot have opted to forgo their conventional people carriers and will offer the 3008 and 5008 in SUV form from next year. But Renault will not be deterred and despite the fact that sales of MPVs are falling, they are sticking loyally to the original with an all new five-seat Renault Scénic and a seven-seat Grand Scénic that will be in showrooms around the country by the end of the year
First impressions of the new Renault Grand Scenic? Based on the 2011R-Space concept the Scénic now comes with a very striking stance and its easily the best looking car in the segment. The key features are a more steeply angled roof, a two-tone colour scheme and rugged looks plus with enormous 20-inch wheels as standard its certainly got kerb appeal
According to Renault’s chief designer Laurens van den Acker “The old Scénic looked like mum and dad had grown bored with each other; the new one looks like they are in love again.”
What about the interior? Inside it has benefited from higher quality materials and behind the wheel the visibility is excellent with a really good driving position and a new 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen allows everything to be controlled via the R-Link system. Space is one of the key priorities in a family car and the new Scénic feels much more roomy than the previous version plus the Renault Scénic boasts a best-in-class 572 litres of boot space, while the Grand Scénic, which is 24cm longer than the new Scénic, has 596 litres. There is also decent space for second and third row passengers. The three back seats fold, tip, stack and lock into place with admirable ease. Storage is also in abundance including a very generous glovebox and a centre console that can be slid backwards and forwards.
Under the bonnet? Renault are offering a wide choice of engines: from a 115hp 1.2-litre petrol to a 160hp 1.6-litre diesel and running costs are generally good. Irish buyers are likely to opt for the 1.5dCi 110bhp and 130bhp. There’s a choice of a six speed manual or new seven speed EDC automatic, a Hybrid Assist version will be available from February on the Scénic by April on the Grand Scénic.
Renault Grand Scénic on road? At the launch we tested the 160bhp version in the Grand Scénic. While we are not convinced that we would like the large wheels quite as much on Irish roads the Scénic and Grand Scénic are impressively comfortable and easy to handle, the steering is light and the ride quality is supple and good for all passengers. Neither are the most sporty or engaging to drive but this is a market where frugality, flexibility and practicality matters most.
How much? The current Scénic model starts from €23,790 and the Grand from €28,190. The Irish pricing and full specification details will be released closer to launch but we would expect a small increase on current prices.
How safe? Safety is, of course, a key consideration in the Scénic line-up with a comprehensive selection of active safety measures on offer and a five star EuroNCAP rating.
3 words to describe the Renault Grand Scénic? Stylish; Spacious; Smooth
20th September, 2016