- We like...Keen prices
- We don't...Unsettled ride
All-new version of French top-selling family car arrives in UK next month - but you can read about it nowBoth of the previous Scenics proved huge hits with car buyers, so this new one needed to be special.
Twelve years back, Renault brought us the original, then a car unlike any other. It was so good that it created a whole new style that had owners deserting their ‘ordinary’ cars in their thousands and queuing to buy. Rival makes, meanwhile, rushed to develop ‘me too’ models.
So this latest has a history to live up to. It is sleek and modern, classy, even. But it’s no stand-out, looks-wise. It chimes well, though, with the trend to make such vehicles more like cars and less like buses in appearance and in how you sit at the wheel.
Inside it’s roomy and very light, thanks in part to a design that makes for a big windscreen by pushing its edges way out to the side. Shorter drivers will find that the nearside drops out of sight, making it tricky to park accurately.
Light-toned fabrics used across the cabin reinforce this feeling and, indeed, leg and headroom is good in all five seats. As in earlier Scenics, every passenger seat slides and folds individually. Three abreast in the back is only comfy if you’re all skinny, even though there’s plenty of head and leg room.
There are airline-style tray tables that pop up from the rears of the front seats, storage bins let into the floor by the rear passengers’ feet a big, deep glove box, slide-out trays under each seat and yet other places to keep stuff. It’s easy to lose belongings inside the car unless you track them with care. Out back the boot is big and square-shaped, packing the tie-down loops and hooks for grocery bags that you’d expect. But there are not the handy places to hide valuables that you’ll find in some rivals.
The dash resembles closely those in latest Megane hatchbacks, so it’s clean and high quality if a little anonymous. On the move, though, the instruments are easy to read.
We drove the 1.5-litre 106bhp diesel. Although only one up from the bottom of the range it is smooth and quiet, harnessing its modest power well and making a fair fist of pushing the car along with two aboard. We think it would struggle when filled with people and baggage, though.
The Scenic is an easy drive and no trouble to manuvre in tight spaces, thanks to rear parking beepers (standard on top models, optional on cheaper ones) and, if you want, a rear parking camera. It’s smooth and quiet at a motorway cruise, although the ride soon becomes pattery on less-good road surfaces and can jolt across broken tarmac.
All are well equipped: air conditioning, six airbags and Renault’s keyless entry system come as standard on even the cheapest models. Prices are keen: those of the cheapest undercut rivals by around £2000.
So ds that make it a bargain? Sort of. It ds plenty of things well, for sure, and offers a lot for the money. Park it beside a previous-generation Scenic and you’ll see how it has leapt ahead on quality, particularly if you check out the cabins.
Make no mistake, it's good, but there's nothing that makes us go ‘wow’. As the car that did so much to change how and what we drive, it's moved on - and no longer amazes.
To read the motors.co.uk verdict on the seven-seat Renault Grand Scenic, click here
To view and buy new and used Renault Scenics, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines1.5 diesel turbo
- 0-60 mph12.4secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: