Motoring journalist and family-man, Tim Barnes-Clay, is perfectly placed to test the all-new Renault Scenic. Here are his thoughts on the French marque’s modernised MPV.
When you first become a parent, it’s a joyous but daunting occasion. It also means you must grow up and wave goodbye to a part of your youth. The youthful bits I had to give up were motorbikes and sporty cars. But only for a little while. I’m slowly getting all that back – and there’s even better news once your brood grows. Multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), once about as exciting to look at as a wet carrot, are more attractive these days. You could argue they’re even desirable – take the Ford S-MAX as an example. Now the all-new Renault Scenic looks seriously good – and it drives well, too. Honestly.
Inside, things are almost as funky. Digital instruments replace the conventional speedo and there’s a big touchscreen infotainment unit in the middle of the dashboard. If you can operate an iPad – you’ll be able to work this out quickly. It all looks very like the interior of a new Volvo, which goes to show how upmarket Renault is now.
But it’s not all about appearances. Behind the all-new Scenic’s stylish body and sporty 20-inch (yes, 20-inch!) alloy wheels, you have a car that offers a practical transport solution for a family of five. You never have to worry about where to put stuff as there are loads of oddment bins to keep coins, cans of drink – and even toys. Picnic tables in the rear fold-out simply – and are genuinely sturdy enough to put up with kids leaning on them and eating their lunch from.
There are a few trim levels being offered with the all-new Renault Scenic. These range from the Expression + to the Dynamique Nav, then there’s the Dynamique S Nav, and finally, there’s the flagship Signature Nav. I drove the Dynamique S Nav which comes with equipment such as cruise control, a head-up colour display, a rear parking camera, DAB radio, and a panoramic sunroof.
On the road, the all-new Scenic is obviously no sports car, but it doesn’t handle like a barge either. It’s agile; visibility is excellent, thanks to deep windows and a high-ish driving position, and it stays relatively free from body roll. That’s until you really push the Renault through a corner. It also offers a firm ride – but not an uncomfortable one. The large alloy wheels cause it to fidget a little on our scarred British roads – but the Scenic doesn’t crash and bang about. It stays planted and it certainly feels safe. And so it should, having achieved the top five-star safety rating from crash test body, Euro NCAP.
The diesel is the one to go for if you can. My test model had the 1.6-litre 110PS unit fitted to it. It gives just enough punch to make the car a properly good, efficient commuter. Zero to 62mph comes in an admittedly slow 12.4 seconds. Things soon pick up, though, and the top speed is 114mph. But in a country besieged by speed cameras, does a top speed even matter? Not really – what’s more relevant is the 72.4mpg the all-new Scenic can achieve with this engine. On top of that, you’ve got low CO2 emissions of 100g/km, meaning road tax is cheap.
The all-new Scenic is a vehicle for parents who haven’t given up on good looking cars yet. The Renault Scenic also offers a seriously good seating set-up. One-touch folding rear seats fold easily to give a flat floor. What’s more, the Scenic is the only car in its class where you can activate this function from inside the load area – or by using tech via the multimedia system in the dashboard. The all-new Scenic is also class-leading when it comes to boot space. With a load area of 572-litres, the Renault offers enough space for all the stuff two adults and a bunch of kids will need for a trip to the seaside – or the shops.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Looks √
- Space √
- Storage √
- Efficiency √
- Fidgety X
- Max speed: 114 mph
- 0-62 mph: 12.4 secs
- Combined mpg: 72.4
- Engine layout: 1,600cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 110
- CO2: 100 g/km
- Price: £25,445