Renault Scenic review 2020

Find out more about the Renault Scenic in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Very practical
  • Affordable
  • Stylish for an MPV


  • Bland interior
  • Alternatives are more economical
  • Questionable build quality
Model review

The original, first generation Renault Scenic went on sale in 1996 (1997 in the UK). The manufacturer conceived the model as a smaller and more affordable alternative to its larger Espace MPV. Initially, the car’s popularity was underestimated by the brand itself, with one of the company’s production facilities making nearly 2,500 Scenics a day to meet the demand. 


In 2003, the nameplate received a second-generation, before the slightly larger Grand Scenic was introduced to the range in 2004. The facelifted version went on sale in 2006, featuring some mild updates such as a revised grille and a larger diamond badge. 


The third generation Scenic was released in 2009, along with a new seven-seat Grand Scenic variant. In 2013, it was facelifted, getting new interior and exterior styling, as well as new driving aids. Both the standard car and the Grand Scenic could also be had with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.  

Current model

The latest, fourth generation Scenic began production in 2016, so not too long ago. It’s the most modern and arguably best-looking version of the car, and even includes some crossover design elements – although Renault still refers to it as an MPV and it definitely still is one. 


Now, an engaging driving experience isn’t exactly what comes to mind when thinking of MPVs – practicality, usability and affordability is the name of the game in this segment. However, that being said, the Scenic isn’t bad to drive – far from it – and it feels relatively agile and composed. What’s more, thanks to it having steering that is both precise and responsive, it isn’t unnerving and vague to pilot. 


Inside, the Scenic leans more toward being bland than the stylish exterior. Although, this function over form focus does result in everything (switchgear, infotainment etc.) being led out in an easy to use and clear manner – something that’s quite important in an MPV.  


One thing to note is that Renault stopped selling the standard Scenic in the UK during 2019, so buyers after a new model will have to turn to the Grand Scenic, as that’s the only one left in the range. 

Value for money

As Renault no longer sells the regular Scenic in the UK anymore – just the Grand Scenic, which starts at £23,895 – the used market is the place to turn to. Plus, as sales only stopped within the year, there are plenty of relatively new models to be had. Cheapest ones go for as little as £200 – a bargain – but do note that, at this price point, they won’t be in the best of conditions. Spring for a current-gen Scenic, on the other hand, and there are still a good amount of fantastic deals, with cars priced from just over £10,000 at the moment. 

Looks and image

Style is one thing the Scenic has over most MPVs, with its sleek design and clean lines. It also looks fairly sporty and aggressive, probably thanks to the injected crossover elements. Sure, it’s not the best-looking car in the world and most likely won’t turn any heads, but for an MPV, the styling is above par and certainly not offensive or ugly. The Scenic, overall, is an attractive car, in our opinion. 

Video review

Space and practicality

Space and practicality is the MPV party piece, although some manage it better than others. Fortunately, the Scenic fares well in this department, and the Grand Scenic even more so. But focusing on the smaller of the two for now, it gets a very roomy cabin, which is easily airy enough for five people to get comfortable and have an abundance of leg and headroom. Its 570-litre boot is extremely generous as well. The Grand Scenic has the added feature of seven seats and an even larger, 596-litre boot with the third row folded down. 



Before Renault pulled the plug on Scenic sales in the UK, the model was offered with a range of fairly potent yet economical engines. On the diesel front, buyers can get a 118bhp 1.5-litre unit, while on the petrol side there’s a 138bhp 1.2-litre powerplant. Both offer a decent amount of punch – a reasonable amount for the MPV class – but the petrol is the one to go for if you want the most powerful option, while the diesel will be cheaper to run. 

Running costs

Speaking of running costs, let’s start with the diesel. It’s said to achieve a fairly impressive 51.4mpg and emit just 126g/km of CO2. These figures are slightly behind the best on sale today, but are still good, nonetheless. It’s definitely the engine of choice for those planning to cover many miles. 


The petrol, while can’t quite match the economy of the diesel, should be still relatively cheap to run. It claims to return up to 41.5mpg and emit 125g/km of CO2, which isn’t bad at all. 

Things to look out for

Overall, the Scenic has a good reputation when it comes to reliability, scoring highly in the driver satisfaction surveys. Some owners uncovered minor faults within the first year of ownership, but most buyers seem to be satisfied with the model, praising its practicality, ride quality and engines. Build quality has been criticised over the years, however. In general, the MPV should serve buyers well. 



The Scenic does face some competition in the MPV class. Cars such as the Citroen C4 Picasso, Ford C-Max and Peugeot 3008 are all keen to outshine it. Thanks to the Renault being stylish and very spacious, it manages to make a good case for itself. It’s without a doubt a class leader contender and a very attractive people-moving package. There’s little not to like and buyers looking for within the segment should definitely take a good look at it.  



Despite the desirable crossover elements to its design, the Scenic still sits in a class which isn’t exactly booming in popularity. With most buyers turning to SUVs nowadays, the model seemingly doesn’t quite possess the appeal it used to, meaning it won’t hold its value as well as something in the SUV segment. But, thanks to its practicality and good looks, it shouldn’t break the bank when it comes to selling it. 

Trims explained

On the used market, the 2019 Scenic can be had in four trim levels – Play, Iconic, Signature and Signature Nav.


This trim can be had with kit like a start/stop button, rear parking sensors, heated door mirrors, automatic headlights, automatic dual zone climate control, as well as a 3D sound system with six speakers.

Used prices from around £13,500.


This trim level is offered with equipment such as cruise control with a speed limiter, hill start assists, LED daytime running lights, LED indicators in the door mirrors, LED taillights, seatbelt warning and electric folding mirrors.

Used prices from circa £14,500


This premium trim level is offered with things such as a leather gear knob, leather steering wheel, gear shift indicator, heated rear windscreen with wash-wipe, eco mode button and one touch front electric windows.

Used prices from circa £16,200

'Signature Nav'

Spring for this trim, and the Scenic is treated to a Bose sound system, heated front seats, leather in carbon black, Bluetooth hands free telephone connection, in addition to 20-inch alloy wheels.

Used prices from £24,866


  1. The original Renault Scenic first went on sale in the UK in 1997
  2. The larger Grand Scenic was introduced during the second-generation car’s lifespan
  3. The latest Scenic came about in 2016, but Renault no longer sell it in the UK
  4. The current Gran Scenic is still on sale new though
  5. Used examples go for as little as £200
  6. Expect to pay upwards of £10,000 for the latest version of the model
  7. It’s very practical, offering lots of cabin and cargo room
  8. The Scenic can be had with some pretty good engines, with diesel power getting the cheapest running costs
  9. The latest iteration is very stylish and good-looking, but a tad bland on the inside
  10. The interior is well led out, as well as switchgear being clear and easy to use