We try Renault’s smart-looking new Scenic MPV with the high-volume diesel engine
Crossovers and SUVs are all the rage these days, but Renault reckons the humble MPV still has a place. It invented the sector 20 years ago with the original Scenic. Now, with this all-new one, it’s trying to reinvent it.
Renault Scenic 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S Nav
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 114mph
Fuel economy: 72.4mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 100g/km
The plan is to stop MPV owners from being tempted by a cool-looking new SUV with much more stylish looks, combined with all the practicality that puts the ‘multi-purpose’ into MPV. And on looks alone, this new Scenic certainly stands a chance.
It’s more concept car than typical MPV, and in a different class to the dreary model it replaces. Yet it’s also roomier inside than the old model.
The standout is its amazing 20-inch wheels, a size you normally find on performance cars. Renault says they are a bit of an innovation for the Scenic: with high-profile tyres, the ride isn’t compromised, and low rolling resistance tyres offset the extra drag.
Time to find out by hitting UK roads in the high-volume choice of the four-engine range, Renault’s familiar 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel. First impressions? Renault’s right. The wheels are able to suppress the uniquely bad surfaces of British roads. Body control is OK too, and the steering is precise. It’s a very agreeable car to drive.
But it’s not a fast one. The diesel engine lacks low-down flexibility, so you have to work the six-speed manual gearbox hard. And this is unladen: it would struggle even more with people on board. The engine does stay quiet when driven hard, but we do think you’d be better off with the bigger 1.6-litre dCi.
Clever Renault design engineers have been hard at work inside. There are lots of clever features, such as a sliding centre console (which packs USB sockets for the kids’ devices), multi-fold rear seats and a portrait-style 8.7-inch touchscreen. Families will love it.
The well-built interior is simple to use as well. It’s not over-dependent on the touchscreen, which is refreshing. It’s just a pity there’s a big gripe with the rear seats: they’re mounted too low, so occupants’ knees are higher than their hips. Not good for long-distance comfort.
Even so, this doesn’t stop the new Renault Scenic from becoming a more appealing choice than rivals such as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, Ford C-Max and Volkswagen Golf SV. Renault has rethought the compact MPV and, in doing so, delivered something with fresh appeal.
Just be sure to consider taking the 1.6 dCi over this 1.5 dCi, won’t you?