According to vehicle experts CAP, The Renault Scenic is the mainstay of the small MPV sector, and one of the best examples of downsizing over past ten years.
CAP experts compared the 2003 Renault Scenic with a more modern 2011 model and found the latter had a smaller engine which delivered lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption with only a slight drop in power.
The 2003 Scenic delivered 140bhp from its 2.0-litre engine, with CO2 emissions of 190g/km and 35.3mpg of fuel consumption.
However, the more efficient 2011 Renault Scenic uses a 1.4-litre turbo charged engine delivering 130bhp but vastly improved CO2 emissions of 168g/km and fuel economy of 38.7mpg.
CAP also calculated the 2011 Renault Scenic would be nearly £150 cheaper to fuel over the course of a year than its predecessor.
This is achieved by using a supercharger, turbocharger or both to boost power but improve efficiency.
According to CAP, since 2003 the average engine size of a small family car has decreased by four per cent. However, in the same period power has risen by 12 per cent.
A rise in power should mean an increase in fuel consumption, but advances in technology means average fuel consumption has risen by 16 per cent while CO2 emissions have fallen by nearly a fifth.
David Saville, who runs CAP’s New Vehicle Data department, said: “The automotive industry has made massive strides in improving the efficiency of engines and this is paying dividends for hard-pressed motorists who need more than ever to keep spiralling fuel costs in check.
“Our illustrations, using models that have spanned the last 8 years, prove how successful car manufacturers are at making this concept a reality.”