At the beginning of 2017, Renault introduced two new MPVs to Ireland: the Renault Scenic and the Grand Scenic. These are two stalwarts of the MPV world but times have changed since the Scenic made its debut back in 1996.
Large SUVs with a bit more street cred have been encroaching on the family car market in recent years, with many manufacturers deserting the MPV format altogether.
But Renault believe that there is life left in the MPV. Seven seat MPVs are still hard to beat in terms of space and value for money, and with pricing starting from €28,400, the Renault Grand Scenic makes particularly good sense.
To boost desirability, the styling of the new Renault Grand Scenic has been beefed up and given a significant injection of attitude. The inclusion of 20” wheels as standard and contrasting roof/body colour add street cred.
Inside, the interior has been overhauled with a large portrait style touchscreen being the focal point in the centre of the dash on higher trimmed models. There are hard plastics but plenty more soft touch materials too in the important places that you see and touch regularly.
There is an excellent feeling of space in the cabin and great storage too. Standard equipment (Expression+, from €28,400) includes 20” Silverstone alloy wheels, LED DRLs, manual air conditioning, analogue dashboard, electronic handbrake, 7″ touchscreen, FM/AM/DAB tuner, Bluetooth® audio streaming and handsfree calls, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high/low beam.
Dynamique Nav starts from €31,500. My test car was a Dynamique S Nav model (from €33,300) and equipment includes 20” Exception alloy wheels, colour head up display, rear parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, panoramic fixed glass sunroof with electric sunblind, contrasting roof and door mirror colour, and the R-Link 2 multimedia system with 8.7″ touchscreen and navigation.
Top of the range Signature models start from €35,100.
The Renault Grand Scenic is very spacious inside. There are three individual seats in the back that can slide forward and back. The footwells are large and there is a flat space for the middle seat passenger to put their feet. Headroom is also beyond good. Things are a bit more cramped in the third row, but children will be fine here.
In five seat mode, the boot is a huge 596 litres and it’s a large and square space that will be easy to load. In two seat mode, there is a more paltry 233 litres available, but rivals don’t do much better.
In Ireland, the Renault Grand Scenic is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine (115hp), a 1.5-litre diesel (110hp) or a 1.6-litre diesel with 130hp or a 160hp version with automatic gearbox. My test car had the 1.6-litre dCi 130hp and it’s a robust engine for this car with plenty of power. It’s reasonably refined too, but makes itself known in the cabin when revved hard.
On the road, the Grand Scenic is more about being a comfortable and spacious people carrier, than a pin sharp sporty one but it does grip well and the steering is direct, albeit with little in the way of feedback. The Grand Scenic is more or less comfortable, except for some harshness over bumps.
Renault has done a tremendous job to give the new Grand Scenic some credibility and as a family car it does tick the boxes exceptionally well for comfort, space and practicality. The MPV is an endangered species and the Renault Grand Scenic faces competition from seven seat SUVs.
But in terms of the available space and practicality in this price range, the Renault Grand Scenic is hard to beat, and when all those current owners decide it’s time for a trade in, the new Grand Scenic will be a pleasant surprise.
Model tested: Renault Grand Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 130
Price: €35,475 (Range starts at €28,400)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 11.4 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year