Carzone spends a week with the new Renault Scenic on Irish roads
Pros: Low running costs, spacious and practical, striking looks
Cons: Touchscreen system takes getting used to, hard ride quality
Family car buyers have been flocking to SUVs lately and as a result, the popularity of MPV cars such as the Renault Scenic has declined somewhat. The Scenic is the very car that created the MPV segment when it was first launched in the mid-nineties and in an effort to re-establish its position as a great family car purchase, Renault has overhauled it extensively for 2017, with striking new looks and an updated interior. But does the new Scenic make a good choice over SUV alternatives such as its own stablemate, the Renault Kadjar? We spent time with it on Irish roads to find out.
What is it like?
From the outside, the Renault Scenic is very futuristic-looking with a swooping roofline, curvaceous windows and a similar front end to cars like the Renault Captur and Kadjar. Interestingly, all models get large 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, which is a real selling point over other cars in the segment, while our high specification test car has contrasting roof and mirror colours. The Scenic is a five seater model and is undoubtedly better looking than the larger seven seat Renault Grand Scenic. While the Citroen C4 Picasso has been one of the best looking cars in the MPV segment in recent years, it has a lot to contend with in the new Scenic.
The new Renault Scenic is wider and longer than its predecessor so it is noticeably roomier as you step inside, and it also sits higher off the ground than before. The dashboard is clearly laid out with a large 8.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console which looks vibrant but takes getting used to. The front seats are quite comfortable with a wide range of adjustment on offer ,but the driver needs to sit quite high to see out when driving, while the rear seats slide forward and back with handy drop down picninc tables and supportive head rests. Boot space is 506 litres, which is on par with most mid-sized SUVs and the rear seats drop down electrically with the touch of a button for carrying larger loads.
In Ireland, the Renault Scenic is available with either a 1.2-litre petrol engine or 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre DCI diesel engines. We’re driving the 1.6 DCI diesel and it’s the most powerful engine in the range, making 130hp and 320Nm of torque. Performance is reasonable with 0-100km/h taking 11.4 seconds and it accelerates strongly at motorway speeds. Although ithe 1.6 DCI is far from exciting to drive, fuel economy is definitely a strong point, as we managed 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres of driving (50MPG), while annual road tax comes in at €200. Our test car has a six-speed manual gearbox which shifts well but is a little notchy at times, and Renault also offers an automatic EDC dual clutch transmission which would be our preference.
Out on the road, the Scenic drives more confidently than before thanks to its wider stance and steering feel has been noticeably improved. Due to the large alloy wheels ride quality can be hard on bumpier roads however. The Scenic is quite a large car and it isn’t very agile at higher speed, but this is to be expected and MPV buyers will prefer its practicality and comfort. The Scenic feels at home around town where its light steering makes parking easy. Mid-range models are fitted with front and rear parking sensors which we found useful in tight turning situations but only the highest specification Dynamique S Nav model include a reversing camera.
Prices for the new Renault Scenic start from €26,000 in Ireland for the base Expression+ model, which is lower than a lot of comparable cars in its class. Standard specification is generous, with Hill Start Assist, Cruise Control, Active Emergency braking and 20-inch Silverstone alloy wheels all featured as standard kit. Our test car is the highest specification Dynamique S Nav model and enjoys lots of additional features including a colour Head up display, panoramic fixed glass sunroof and Renault’s R-Link 2 multimedia system, but starting prices for this specification start from well over €31,000.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
Renault is certain to win back fans with the new Scenic, as it’s one of the best looking MPV cars on sale with a neatly-designed interior to match. The Scenic certainly gives its main rival, the Citroen C4 Picasso, a good run for its money thanks to its sharper exterior styling and higher quality materials inside too. That said, it’s let down slightly by a firmer ride quality and some of its rivals offer more practical features. For the aspiring family buyer, the Scenic makes a practical buy and perfect sense. Running costs will be low with either of the diesel engines in the range and those seeking added practicality and seven seats should consider its larger sibling, the Renault Grand Scenic, which we will be testing ion Irish roads very soon.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Renault Scenic Dynamique S Nav
Prices from: €26,000
Price as tested: €33,075
Annual Road Tax: €200
Engine: 1600cc four-cylinder diesel
Power/Torque: 130bhp / 320Nm
Top Speed: 195km/h
0-100km/h: 11.4 seconds
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Body style: Coupe
Boot Space: 445 litres