Renault’s seven-seat Grand Scenic is a car designed for large families. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, gives his thoughts on the latest version of the model.
The French have always done well when it comes to providing large comfortable family cars, and Renault is a brand particularly associated with this. The marque is also known for being unconventional, both in looks and technology. The most recent incarnation of the Renault Grand Scenic is no different when it comes to being innovative. It has much larger wheels than most multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), measuring 20-inches in diameter. You’d think they’d crash and bang over imperfections in the road surface, but they don’t. This is a win for Renault because they look fantastic on the new Grand Scenic, filling the wheel arches beautifully.
The modern MPV’s ride is comfortable due to its forgiving suspension, but this does mean the Grand Scenic leans in corners if you drive the car too hard. That said, the steering is accurate and well-weighted, meaning you feel confident at the wheel. True, it’s not really a vehicle that’s designed for twisty rural routes, but it is one made for the urban school run and it’ll stay planted on motorways all day. It’s a very able cruiser indeed – so it’s just as perfect for family road trips as it is for short trips to school and back.
The new Renault Grand Scenic has a range of petrol, hybrid, and diesel engines, and the car I tested was the strong and capable 1.6-litre Dynamique S Nav dCi 130, fitted with a six-speed manual transmission. The gearbox isn’t the smoothest, with a bit of a chewy action, but it’s no deal-breaker because, in every other respect, the car is a hit. The engine pulls well, resulting in a top speed of 118 mph and a 0-62mph time of 11.4 seconds. Granted, that doesn’t look fast in print, but the car feels powerful enough in the real-world. The Grand Scenic, in this guise, can also return over 60mpg on average, although with my heavy right foot, I achieved mid-50s. Still, that’s not bad at all.
The cabin is where the Renault Grand Scenic really shines. It offers lots of leg and head room – and there is a positive, light atmosphere in the car, thanks to large windows. It’s also a very comfortable and pleasing car to drive, with lots of adjustment available on the steering wheel and seat to achieve a good driving position. The materials throughout the interior feel well-made, and are likely to stand years of abuse from family use. The Grand Scenic is 23cm longer than the standard five-seater Scenic, meaning it gives you more space to stretch out and a larger boot to fit more family paraphernalia and shopping in. The extra seats in the third row are good for kids as they’re a bit small for adults. When not in use, they fold away into the boot floor. You don’t even have to strain yourself when collapsing the third and second row of seats. The car I had on test allowed me to do this electronically, using a button or via the infotainment system.
Kit & Tech
Kit and technology are abundant within the Grand Scenic. Higher spec models, such as the Dynamique S Nav, on test here, get a large sliding centre console with four USB ports. Having a sliding centre console is an innovative touch. For the driver and passenger up front, it provides a big, illuminated, storage area with a sliding cover and armrest. When slid to the back, it becomes a handy partition between the rear seats. My test car also came with R-Link 2, the French car-maker’s 8.7-inch portrait-angled touchscreen. Functions, for instance sat-nav, DAB radio, and smartphone connectivity, are all seen and controlled from here. In addition, there are three easy-to-read screens inside the driver’s binnacle; these screens display important information, like speed, engine temperature and fuel range.
With 6.5 million Scenics sold since the model was introduced in 1996, this fourth generation of the Renault Grand Scenic simply moves the car to where it should be for 2017 – and beyond. As always, the Grand Scenic makes real sense for parents, or for people who need to transport up to six passengers. In other words, this car is not only an ideal parent taxi – it’s a top choice for working cabbies, too. With a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and a four year/100,000-mile warranty, why wouldn’t you consider this as your next MPV?
Why not contact Perrys Aylesbury Renault to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Space √
- Comfort √
- Tech √
- Safety √
- Gear-action X
Fast Facts (Dynamique S Nav dCi 130)
- Max speed: 118 mph
- 0-62 mph: 11.4 secs
- Combined mpg: 61.4
- Engine layout: 1,600 cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 130
- CO2: 119 g/km
- Price: £28,445